Apr. 14th, 1949
London, England, UK
Chris Langham's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
The son of theatre director Michael Langham and actress Helen Burns, Langham read English and Drama at Bristol University before dropping out.
Langham began performing comedy, and writing for Spike Milligan.
One of his earliest breaks was as the sole British writer for The Muppet Show. He also appeared as the "special guest star" in the thirteenth episode of the final season, when the scheduled guest, Richard Pryor, was unable to make it to the recording; a script was hastily written in which "Chris the Delivery Boy" stood in for an absent celebrity. He received two awards from the Writers Guild of America for his work on The Muppet Show.
Langham was part of the original cast for Not the Nine O'Clock News pilot in 1979, written by Richard Curtis. Positioned as a comedy series which was neither Monty Pythons Flying Circus or The Two Ronnies, even after the original pilot was pulled from the schedules he was retained for the first full series, billed equally with the then unknown Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson and Rowan Atkinson. The first series did not rate as well as hoped, however, and it was felt that Langham was "too independent a spirit." Langham took a part in Monty Python's Life of Brian as a centurion, against the reaction of which Curtis had written a skit of the debate between John Cleese and Malcolm Muggeridge. Langham was upset at the inclusion of the sketch, which gave the team and producer John Lloyd the excuse for his replacement by support player Griff Rhys Jones. Langham did not learn of the switch until the last day of filming when he heard the crew discussing the second series. The show only achieved cult status during its later series and, in subsequent compilation repeats, most of Langham's contributions have been cut, giving the impression that he was never a main cast member.
Langham went on to appear on Smith and Jones' own programme, Alas Smith and Jones, playing an ineffectual panel show host; this character apparently inspired John Morton to create the character of Roy Mallard, later to feature in his show People Like Us played (offscreen) by Langham. Langham also played a fly-on-the-wall documentary interviewer very similar to Roy Mallard in Happy Families in 1985.
Also in 1979, Langham played Arthur Dent in the first professional stage version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, directed by Ken Campbell. He later returned to Hitchhiker's, appearing as Prak in Above The Title Production's Tertiary Phase radio series in 2004.
Langham narrated the 1984 radio series The History of Rock with Chris Langham, in which Langham gave a comedic, and somewhat fictitious, account of the history of rock music. On 14 November 1985 Langham appeared as the narrator/reporter in "Roxanne", episode five of the BBC situation comedy Happy Families, written by Ben Elton. In 1992 he appeared in the film Carry On Columbus.
In addition to several one-man shows, Langham counts among his stage credits Les Misérables, in which he played Thénardier in 1996, Crazy for You, for which he received an Olivier nomination, The Way of the World, The Nerd, Blondel and The Pirates of Penzance.
Langham wrote the BBC One sitcom Kiss Me Kate, in which he also appeared along with Caroline Quentin and Amanda Holden. In 2002 he wrote and starred in Bradford in My Dreams, an adaptation of a short story by Lawrence Block for the BBC. On Radio 4 he narrated the series The Rapid Eye Movement, which starred Martin Freeman as Chester Bennington, in whose head the entire series took place. In 2003 he directed the comedy series Posh Nosh.
In 2003 and 2005, respectively, he portrayed the authors George Orwell and John Wyndham in the BBC docudrama George Orwell - A Life In Pictures and the BBC Four documentary John Wyndham: the Invisible Man of Science Fiction. He also appeared in the radio magazine satire The Sunday Format.
He starred alongside co-writer Paul Whitehouse in Help on BBC Two in 2005, where he also appeared in the Armando Iannucci comedy The Thick of It in the same year. Langham was named Best Comedy Actor in the 2005 British Comedy Awards and won the 2006 BAFTA Best Comedy Performance award for his role in The Thick Of It. In November 2005 Langham wrote and starred in ITV pilot Seven Second Delay.
He was a frequent guest on The Heaven and Earth Show and part of Bremner, Bird and Fortune writing team. In this series he has occasionally appeared as a civil servant discussing things with Bremner's Tony Blair. On radio, Langham has appeared as a panellist on the Radio 4 show Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive.
Langham's first marriage, to actress/singer Sue Jones-Davies, produced three children, but broke up on his own admission due to his alcoholism. Langham lives in a farmhouse in Cranbrook, Kent, with his second wife musical director Christine Cartwright, and their two children.
- Studied English and Drama at Bristol University.
- [September 14, 2007] Sentenced to 10 months in prison after police found child pornography on his computer. Freed on 14th November after his 10-month prison sentence was reduced by the Court of Appeal.
- He was a very successful voice-over artist on British television.
- Three sons by his first wife, two children by his second, Christine Cartwright. His daughter Emily had a part in "Help" as a child prodigy.
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