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Hugh Dennis

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Birth name  Peter Hugh Dennis
Role  Comedian
Name  Hugh Dennis

Years active  1980s – present
Nationality  English
Parents  John Dennis
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Born  13 February 1962 (age 53)Kettering, Northamptonshire, England (1962-02-13)
Medium  Stand-up, Television, Radio
Alma mater  University College SchoolSt John's College, Cambridge
Genres  Political satire, Improvisational comedy, Insult comedy
Influenced by  Steve Punt, Rowan Atkinson, Eddie Izzard
Notable works and roles  The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Mock the Week, Outnumbered, The Now Show, Not Going Out
Spouse  Catherine Louise Abbot-Anderson (m. 1996), Miranda Carroll (m. 1987–1993)
TV shows  Mock the Week, Outnumbered, Fast and Loose, The Mary Whitehouse Experience, My Hero
Similar People  Andy Parsons, Steve Punt, Dara O Briain, Claire Skinner, Daniel Roche

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Peter Hugh Dennis (born 13 February 1962), known professionally as Hugh Dennis, is an English comedian, actor, writer, impressionist and voice-over artist, best known for being one half of Punt and Dennis with comedy partner Steve Punt, and playing Pete Brockman, the father in the BBC One sitcom Outnumbered. Since 2005, Dennis has been a regular panellist on the BBC Two satirical comedy show Mock the Week. Since October 2014, Dennis has appeared in the sitcom Not Going Out as Toby.


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Early life

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Dennis, the younger of two boys, was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, the son of schoolteacher Dorothy M. (Hinnels) and John D. Dennis. His brother, also named John, is currently the British Ambassador to Angola. He grew up in Mill Hill in North London as his father was appointed as parish priest of Mill Hill soon after his birth. His father later became the Bishop of Knaresborough and then of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich. Dennis was educated at University College School in London. During his time at UCS, he played rugby with Will Self and was head boy in his final year.

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Subsequently, Dennis went on to read the Geography Tripos as an exhibitioner at St John's College, Cambridge. His dissertation was titled "The Spatial Distribution of Elementary Education in 19th-century Wakefield". He also joined the Footlights, where he first met Punt and club president Nick Hancock and the trio collaborated on a number of projects besides the annual revue. In a 2016 interview with ITV's This Morning Programme, Dennis revealed that he was approached by Britain's domestic intelligence service, MI-5, whilst at Cambridge University and attended a preliminary interview.

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After graduating with a first, Dennis worked for Unilever for six years in the marketing department while performing comedy with Punt at venues including The Comedy Store on the weekends. The duo then formed half of the team of The Mary Whitehouse Experience on BBC Radio 1. Dennis uses his middle name Hugh as his stage name because Equity already had a Peter Dennis when he first started.

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When the BBC commissioned the series for BBC Two, Dennis took a sabbatical as the rehearsal days changed to weekdays and eventually went into comedy full-time. While in his final year of university, he was approached by a member of the intelligence services and was invited to London for interview at which time he decided he did not want to take the matter further.

Radio and television career

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While an impressionist, Dennis did voices for Spitting Image and appeared with Punt as resident support comics on two TV series hosted on the BBC by Jasper Carrott. Dennis also appeared twice as a contestant on the topical panel show Have I Got News for You, including one opposite former schoolmate Self.

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Punt and Dennis' radio career includes over a decade of performing Punt and Dennis, It's Been a Bad Week, The Party Line and the satirical radio comedy show, The Now Show. On The Now Show , Dennis is in a line-up including Punt, Mitch Benn, Laura Shavin, Jon Holmes and Marcus Brigstocke. He is friends with Chris Morris and has had cameos on Brass Eye as well as doing the narration for the CBBC show Sam and Mark's Guide To Dodging Disasters.

In December 2009, Dennis joined Oz Clarke in presenting the sixty minute Christmas special Oz and Hugh Drink to Christmas broadcast on BBC Two. In December 2010 the pair returned for a four-part series called Oz and Hugh Raise the Bar, which puts them in a competition to create a bar featuring only local British food and drinks.

Dennis has starred in a number of sitcoms, including My Hero, in which he played obnoxious GP Piers Crispin. From 2007 to 2014, he starred in Outnumbered, a semi-improvised sitcom based around family life and won a BAFTA nomination in the comedy category for the 2009 Christmas special. On Radio 4 he also featured in the sitcom Revolting People which, like Outnumbered, was co-written by Andy Hamilton.

Besides his regular television work, Dennis is a panellist on Mock the Week and has appeared in every episode since its inception. He is a regular guest on various BBC-broadcast comedy panel game shows such as They Think It's All Over, Would I Lie To You?, QI and has guest hosted Have I Got News for You. In 2011, Dennis hosted the short-lived improvisational comedy series Fast and Loose.

Beginning on 16 February 2012, Dennis and Julia Bradbury hosted a four-part BBC One documentary series The Great British Countryside'. From October 2014, Dennis has started appearing in the sitcom Not Going Out as Toby.

Personal life

Dennis lives in London. In 2015 he separated from his second wife, Catherine ("Kate") Abbot-Anderson, whom he had married in 1996. They have a son, Freddie (born 1997) and a daughter Meg (born 1999). His first marriage to Miranda Carroll ended in divorce in 1993, the pair having married in 1987.

In July 2008, Dennis received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Northampton.

Dennis took part in the 2007 L'Étape du Tour, cycling an open stage of the Tour de France for amateurs which was held in the mountains 2 weeks before the main event. This was discussed in the fifth series of Mock the Week and also QI series six, episode 5 'France'. He started in 2,400th place of 8,000 entrants, finishing in 3,400th from 4,000 who completed it, five hours behind the winner. In October 2011, Dennis completed the Great South Run in Portsmouth for the Alzheimers Society.

Dennis was the subject of the BBC One programme Who Do You Think You Are? (broadcast on 12 September 2012) in which he tries to find out more about his two grandfathers and their backgrounds. His paternal great-grandfather was a miner at Kiveton Park Colliery near Sheffield whose younger son, Dennis' grandfather, served as an officer during World War I, and was coincidentally trained at Dennis' alma mater St John's College.

His maternal grandfather also served in France during the Great War and was in the Suffolk Regiment. Dennis has one brother, John David Dennis, who is a career diplomat, currently serving as the British Ambassador to Angola. Hugh Dennis is a supporter of Arsenal F.C..

Dennis is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


Hugh Dennis Wikipedia