Alexander Armstrong Profile

Descended from William the Conqueror and a whole host of land-owning types, Armstrong isn't your typical pie 'n' gravy working man's club sort of comic.

Alexander Armstrong

You may think some TV types are a bit posh, but most of them aren't fit to lick the caviar off Alexander Armstrong's favourite man-servant.

Descended from William the Conqueror and a whole host of land-owning types, Armstrong isn't your typical pie 'n' gravy working man's club sort of comic. As well as coming from a family so socially elevated his chromosomes probably wear top hats, Alexander also happened to attend Trinity College in Cambridge, as well as singing in the college choir. Final evidence of being posher than a swan omelette: he was in a series of adverts for Pimm's. Now if that's not posh we don't know what is. (We really don't – Rich Tea Biscuits seem quite well-to-do to us.)

It was only when he joined the comedy institution that is Cambridge Footlights, Alexander met his future partner in funny, Ben Miller, and formed a duo which was so promising it made Alexander abandon his plans to become a full-time singer. Much as we're sure he'd belt out a moving cover of Papa Don't Preach, it's fair to say he made the right call. That said, even a man of Armstrong's standing had to follow in comedian tradition and work in a variety of rubbish menial jobs while waiting for the fat finger of fate to single him out for the big time. It very swiftly did, his extremely high levels of funniness winning him a way out from waiting tables.

Alexander's managed to combine serious acting with comedy in a way rarely achieved since the cancellation of Crossroads. To some audiences, Alexander's famous as a regular fixture on grown up dramas like Life Begins, Mutual Friends and the seminal Hotel Babylon – a show which makes Footballers' Wives seem like Tolstoy. He was even offered the chance to present every pensioner and idle-student's favourite TV staple, Countdown. While he turned it down, he later made up to the gods of daytime telly by presenting the BBC Two show Pointless, his plummy tones offering a soothing balm of comfort to the losing contestants. Probably.

Of course, to those of a more chuckle-based persuasion, Alexander is most famous as one-half of that most gentlemanly of double acts, Armstrong and Miller. Saying that, we here at Dave have – like the fellows at the Beeb – ruthlessly exploited his talents as a quiz master by creating a sort of game show. Alexander Armstrongs's Big Ask sees the jolly fellow interrogate a variety of his fellow chortlesmiths on all sorts of random and frankly unnecessary subjects.

And speaking of random, unnecessary trivia, did you know that at his stag do, Alexander went go-karting and clubbing? Hardly the sort of behaviour we'd expect from our most aristocratic comic. Surely tea at the Ritz, a slap-up meal at Claridge's and running a paparazzo over in his Bentley would be far more in keeping? He also clearly has a taste for subversive rock, and his ideal dinner party would involve Tom Waits and Keith Richards.

Armstrong is also very good at hosting Have I Got News For You, which he has appeared on eighteen times, more times than any other person. Perhaps it's his Angus-like suaveness. Or perhaps he owns the land the show is made on. Not quite sure, really. But, whether proving fighter pilots are actually just N-Dubz in goggles or letting us into the secret history of how this crazy world of ours began in Neanderthal times, Alexander's withering wit and velvet voice give us mirth, consolation and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. Not bad for a bloke who was once told he was too posh to have his own show.

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