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Alastair James Hay Murray was born in Stewkley, Buckinghamshire, in 1968. His father was a Lieutenant Colonel with the Royal Engineers and his mother is a direct descendent of the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray (Murray is Thackeray's great-great-great-grandson). Popularly known as 'Al' he attended Bedford Public School and later studied history at Oxford University. He has two sisters. The actor Stephen Murray was his great-uncle.
I first met Al Murray when he did a book signing at Waterstones in Nottingham in 2007.
I saw him again in February 2009 after his show at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. He had a large merchandising stall set up in the foyer and I was able to get this photograph with The Pub Landlord!
Al signed two 10" x 8" photographs for me.
Murray started out with an act consisting of sound-effect impressions (which he still uses occasionally today), and later toured with comedians Harry Hill and Frank Skinner. It was whilst on tour with Harry Hill's show Pub Internatio
International in 1994 (playing drums with Hill's band 'The Pub Band') that Al Murray's 'Pub Landlord' act originated. His act later featured in a short film Pub Fiction (1995).
Al Murray on stage as the 'Pub Landlord'
His character is a loud, working class 'British Nationalist' (much akin to
Al Murray 'out of character'
'Alf Garnett') with an intense and bigoted hatred for anything 'foreign'. He particularly dislikes the French, the Americans and the Australians. He has a very domineering rapport with his audience, making instant fun of their names and their jobs. His catchphrases include "....beautiful British name!" (after he has asked an audience member their name), "time-waster", "you DISGUST me", "all hail to the ale" and many more!
So good is his xenophobic character that it is hard to imagine Al Murray's true personality, although during the quieter, more reflective parts of his act, his intelligence and sensitivity can occasionally be glimpsed. Murray's 'Pub Landlord' act act has won him much critical acclaim, with The Times calling him "the most consistently exciting live comedian in the land for years." In 2003 The Observer listed him as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.
Al Murray signed this photograph to me
"Pint for the fella... glass of white wine for the lady!"
Al Murray has also enjoyed commercial success with his Pub Landlord character (which earned him an Olivier Award nomination in 2002) including An Audience With Al Murray (2005) and 27 episodes of his ITV1 show Happy Hour (2007-08).
Meeting Al Murray at Waterstones in 2007.
In 2006 a completely different side to Murray was seen by viewers on the TV's Discovery Channel when he presented Al Murray's Road to Berlin. This was a series about the final months of WWII, with Murra
Murray travelling in a restored Jeep from the beaches of Normandy, through Arnhem and along the Rhine to Berlin. During the series he interviewed British and German survivorss
Al Murray's Road to Berlin
Al Murray did a parachute jump with war
veterans to mark Operation Market Garden
survivors of the war. In one episode he parachuted, together with war veterans, from a plane, to commemorate 'Operation Market Garden'.
In 2007, Al Murray's book The Pub Landlord's Book of British Common Sense was published. It consists of his opinions and views on a number of topics like James Bond actors, religion, television, films and Churchill quotes. He also gives 12 examples of 'Bad Thinking' ranging from the belief that "no one should win in running races ats
He signed my copy of The Pub Landlord's Book
of British Common Sense
running races at school in case anyone gets upset” to the idea that "you need to drive your kids to school so that they won’t be run over by the people driving their
kids to school”!
The Pub Landlord
In 2009, Murray departed from his 'Pub Landlord' persona for his sketch show Multiple Personality Disorder. He plays a range of comedy characters
Al Murray's characters from
The Mobile Phone Salesman
characters including Horst Shwull (the gay special agent in Hitler's Secret Service), Flight Officer Roger Dennis, randy Peter Taylor, Essex boy Gary Parsley (clearly based on Elton John) and Barrington Blowtorch. Murray's make up is so good that he is hardly recognisable!
Murray has been married twice. His first to Katherine Perry ended in divorce in 2002, the year he married his second wife, an Australi
Australian, Amber Hargreaves with whom he had a daughter Scarlett in 1999. Murray, who lives in London, has since separated from Amber.
Murray is the Patron of CamKids, which is a charity for children in Cambodia.
Al Murray and wife Amber
Al Murray signed this photograph to me
Al Murray presenting