Click on a name below to take you to that page
Alistair Charles McGowan was born in Evesham, Worcestershire, in1964. He has a sister, Kay, and their father (who was born in Calcutta, India) is of Anglo-Indian descent. Alistair went to the Simon de Montfort Middle school and Evesham High School where he excelled atd
After graduating from Leeds University with a BA degree in 1986, he spent three years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where fellow students included Ewan McGregor and Daniel Craig. After
Spitting Image puppets of the Royal family
After graduating from there in 1989, he began working as a stand-up comic at London's Comedy Store and the Edinburgh Festival.
From 1991 until 1996, he provided the voices for some of the characters on Spitting Image.
Alistair McGowan as the Emcee with
Alistair McGowan as The Duke in Measure for Measure
Alistair McGowan has had a thriving career as a stage actor, whose theatre work includes Kafka
Kafka's Dick (1998) and Endgame (1999), both at the Nottingham Playhouse; Art at the Wyndham's Theatre; The Government Inspector (2005) at the Chichester Festival Theatre and They're Playing Our Song (2008) at the Menier Ch
Alistair McGowan & Connie Fisher in
McGowan in The Government Inspector
They're Playing Our Song
Amy Nuttall as Sally Bowles in Cabaret
Alistair McGowan in Little Shop of Horrors
Chocolate factory. He played Ford in the RSC production of Merry Wives: The Musical (2006) with Simon Callow & Judi Dench; the sadistic Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors (2007) at thed
the Duke of York's Theatre, for which he received an Olivier nomination; Emcee in the musical Cabaret (2008) at the Lyric Theatre and the Duke in the touring version of Shakespeare's Measure For Measure (2009).
Recently he appeared in the title role of The Mikado in the Carl Rosa production of Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta. He directed & performed in a concert version of The Mikado for Raymond Gubbay, which toured in 2010 & 2011.
As a TV actor, McGowan played Spock in Tim Firth's thirteen-episode series Preston Front (1995-97); Redwald in Dark Ages (1999); Mr Kenge in Dickens' Bleak House (2005) and the title role in the quirky detective show Mayo (2006), for which he also wrote several of the episodes.
As Spock in
Alistair McGowan in the title role of The Mikado
Alistair McGowan as Mr Kenge in Bleak House
Alistair McGowan is, however, probably best known to British audiences for The Big Impression (originally Alistair McGowan's Big Impression) which was, from 2000 until 2004, one of BBC1's topppop--
Alistair McGowan & Ronni Ancona as
'Posh & Becks' in The Big Impression
Alistair McGowan as 'Jonathan Creek'
Alistair McGowan as 'Harold Steptoe'
Ancona, McGowan used most of his repertoire of more than a hundred impressions, especially of David Beckham, Tony Blair and Prince Charles. He frequently wore a prosthetic nose to get abe
McGowan as Dot Cotton from Eastenders
McGowan with Ronni Ancona & Jan Ravens
as 'The Royal Family'
Alistair McGowan in Grumpy Guides
McGowan has also appeared as a guest on numerous other television shows including: Des O'Connor; Par
Parkinson; The Stand-up Show and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. He has hosted Have I Got news for You; appeared as one of the grumpy old men in Grumpy Guides; has
has presented features on The One Show, and sat in Dictionary Corner on Countdown.
In 2007 he was featured on the popular genealogy programme Who Do You Think You Are? Starting in Calcutta, he traced his paternal line in India back to the mid-1700s, discovering, to his great surprise, that his roots were not Scottish but Irish!
(above & right) Alistair McGowan traces his
roots on Who Do You Think You Are?
On the big screen he has appeared in Driving Aphrodite (2009) opposite Richard Dreyfuss. He also played Norris McWhirter in David Baddiel's film The Norris McWhirter Chronicles.
McGowan's first play, Timing, was premiered in London in October 2009. It received 'Best New Comedy' nomination in the Whatsonstage.com awards 2010.
His directing credits include Semi-Monde by Noel Coward at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Bernice Stegers & Alistair McGowan in Driving Aphrodite
McGowan chairs Have I Got News for You
Cocktails with Coward
He devised the show Cocktails With Coward in which he performed many of Noel Coward's well known songs with Charlotte Page. The Edinburgh Festival run in 2009 was a sell-out, and further performances at the Riverside Studios in 2010 also proved a success with the public.
McGowan is obsessed with football, and since his university days, he has been a keen supporter of Leeds United FC. He has released two football comedy videos Football Backchat and The Second Leg. These became cult viewing in the 1990s. He has written A Matter of Life and Death; Or How to Wean a Man Off Football with Ronni Ancona - an autobiographical self-help book about football as an addiction. In a Guardian interview, McGowan tells how his obsession with football led to the break-up of his relationship with Ronni Ancona.
(above) Alistair McGowan in Live at the Apollo
(left) Alistair McGowan as a stand-up comedian
Ronni Ancona & Alistair McGowan
A keen environmentalist, Alistair McGowan has never yet owned a car, and is an ambassador for WWF-UK. In 2009, along with actress Emma Thompson and actor Zac Goldsmith, he bought a field outside Heathrow in a bid to thwar
McGowan the environmentalist
thwart airport expansion plans, by selling off tiny plots of the land to thousands of different people!
Alistair McGowan remains single, and lives in Barnes, the riverside suburb in southwest London.
Alistair has signed my Mikado programme "Let the punishment fit the crime!"
There are many other Alistair McGowan clips on YouTube
a better visual likeness for some of his characters like Dot Cotton.
top comedy programmes, winning many awards, including a BAFTA in 2003. With co-stars Jan Ravens and Ronni Anco
I met Alistair McGowan after I had seen him perform in the title role of Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta The Mikado (which he also directed) at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham in January 2011. I told him how very much I had enjoyed the performance.
He signed my programme with the quote 'Let the punishment fit the crime!' which is taken from one of the songs that the Mikado sings.