Back in the 1980s, Ben established himself as one of the leading figures of the emerging alternative comedy scene. At the age of 23 he co-wrote the ground-breaking smash hit BBC situation comedy The Young Ones which became a worldwide cult hit and brought alternative comedy kicking and cursing to mainstream audiences. But, rather than rest on his laurels, Ben went on to write for nearly every principle comedian of his generation with hit shows such as Happy Families (1985) Filthy Rich & Catflap (1986) and The Thin Blue Line (1995/6), which won the 1995 British Comedy Award and both the public and professional Jury Awards at Reims.
Amazingly these highly successful comedies aren't his most celebrated creation. In 1985, Ben began his phenomenally successful writing partnership with Richard Curtis and together they wrote Blackadder 2, Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth. Is that all? Well, actually no.
Ben has also been a hugely successful and influential stand-up comedian, and has been one of Britain’s biggest selling live acts. His television shows Saturday Live, The Man From Auntie and The Ben Elton Show have all been hugely successful.
Is there anything this man can't do? Well, we know one thing for sure - he wouldn't be able to catch the four headed, man-eating haddock fish beast of Aberdeen, but that's probably because such a thing doesn't exist (congrats to all of the die-hard Blackadder fans now appreciatively giggling into their brandy glasses).
Heck, he's made a few enemies along the way – Ben is actually one of the few "items" (we prefer the term "national treasure", but we'll go along with 'item' until the rest of the world catches up with our level of Ben Elton appreciativeness) to have been put into Room 101, not just once, but twice. But, when you consider the first time was by Anne Robinson it doesn't really amount to much. Anne's probably just upset that she didn't get cast in any of his musicals (not that anyone needs to see her in anything even remotely sparkly) and the second was Mark Steel – and frankly we're a little upset that he did it, so we're pretending it never happened and blaming it all on Anne instead.
Elton's certainly not one to take such criticism to heart though. Back in the day, he lampooned his own much-maligned stage persona in Harry Enfield's sketch show, in which he played a kind of raving, right-on, PC-crazed leftie version of Benny Hill (aka Benny Elton) and went around waving books of "dull feminist theory" at buxom models and making blokes snog each other, while lambasting the Conservative Party. What a hero – what other tabloid hated celeb would overcome such continuous criticism with a sketch show including Page Three models? We should buy that man a pint.
It doesn't take much effort to seek out the most recent of Ben's successes – take a wander around the West End and the fruits of Ben's labour shine down on you. We Will Rock You and the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera are just a couple of the weapons in Ben's enviable arsenal and his success shows no signs of slowing. In fact, we had a little think about it and we might just buy ourselves some Ben Elton shares. Now all we need is a Blackadder stage show and we'll be as happy as Baldrick with an oversized turnip.