Ricky Gervais (born 25.6.1961)
Ricky Gervais is an English comedian, actor and scriptwriter.
Ricky Gervais: Childhood
Ricky Gervais was born in Reading, Berkshire, to Jerry and Eva Gervais. He has two brothers, Larry and Bob and a sister, Marsha.
In the past, Gervais has compared his family upbringing to The Waltons and has said that the family members made fun of each other regularly.
After leaving Ashmead School, Gervais attended University College London, studying Biology and then Philosophy. It was at UCL that he met his future wife, Jane Fallon, the TV producer and screenwriter.
Ricky Gervais: Musical Career
In 1983, Ricky Gervais and Bill Macrae formed the pop band Seona Dancing. They signed to London Records and released two singles. 'More To Lose' and 'Bitter Heart' both failed to set the world alight and the band's career ended promptly.
Ricky Gervais: Radio Career
Gervais landed a job at Xfm London as 'head of speech'. When he looked for an assistant, the first CV that was given to him was that of Stephen Merchant, who he hired after conducting a job interview in the local pub. When Xfm was bought by Capital Radio, Gervais was made redundant.
Gervais and Merchant went on to contribute sketches for Radio 1's The Breezeblock show from 1999-2000.
In 2001, the pair returned to Xfm to present a Saturday morning show, along with Karl Pilkington. In 2005, The Guardian offered 12 free weekly podcasts, hosted by Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington. The unexpected success of the podcasts saw them fast become the most popular podcast in the world and achieved a spot in the Guinness World Record list as the world's most downloaded podcast.
Ricky Gervais: Television Career
Ricky Gervais' mainstream television debut came when his show Golden Years was broadcast as part of Channel 4's 'Comedy Lab' series in 1998. He then landed a regular slot on The 11 O'clock Show, replacing the section filled by Ali G.
Gervais went on to present a comedy chat show entitled Meet Ricky Gervais but the series flopped and even Gervais himself laughs about its poor quality.
Ricky has written for a number of TV sitcoms, including Simon Pegg's Spaced and The Jim Tavare Show. In 2006, he became the only British comedian to have written and starred in an episode of The Simpsons.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant worked together on the highly successful spoof docu-soap The Office. Screened by the BBC, the series also starred Martin Freeman, Lucy Davis and Mackenzie Crook. The popularity of the series was noted by American comedy writers who bought the rights to the script and created their own version, with Steve Carrell playing the David Brent character.
Gervais continued the success of The Office and went on to make Extras, a sitcom based on the experience of actors working as background extras. The series featured a number of high profile star guests, including Kate Winslet, Vinnie Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Orlando Bloom, Sir Ian McKellan and Stephen Fry. A 2007 Christmas Special starred Clive Owen, George Michael, Jonathan Ross and Gordon Ramsey. The show won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy in 2008.
Ricky Gervais: Stand-up Comedy
Gervais has performed a number of highly successful stand-up tours, focusing on a different subject on each tour. His first tour was with the show Animals, in 2003, followed the next year by Politics. In 2007, he toured the show Fame, which sold out within 45 minutes of the tickets going on sale.
Ricky Gervais: Author
In 2004, Ricky Gervais published a children's book entitled Flanimals, in which he created a number of fictional animal characters. The book was hugely successful and he followed it up with More Flanimals, Flanimals of the Deep and Day of the Bletching.
In 2006, a book entitled The World of Karl Pilkington was released, featuring extracts of conversation between Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
Ricky Gervais: Film Career
Gervais has appeared in a number of roles, in films such as The Night at the Museum, starring Ben Stiller and the cartoon Valiant, which also featured the voice of Ewan McGregor.
In 2008, Gervais took on his first major starring role in Ghost Town, which was released, to a mixed reception, in 2008.