Noel Fielding profile

It’s kind of fitting that the wonderfully surreal, cult comedian Noel Fielding would finally achieve household name status in something as random as a televised baking competition. It sounds like the sort of improbable event that would happen in one of his deliciously absurd routines.

Noel Fielding profile

Your mum knows him as the delightfully daft host of The Great British Bake Off alongside Sandi Toksvig. But you, as a comedy connoisseur, have known about Noel Fielding for years of course, long before Bake Off and his infamous appearance as Kate Bush in Let's Dance for Comic Relief. As one half of comedy troupe, The Mighty Boosh, Noel's work has been critically acclaimed, and incredibly hip for the best part of two decades, but definitely not what you would describe as mainstream.

Where have you seen Noel before?

Taskmaster

Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled

Never Mind the Buzzcocks

Born and raised in London, Fielding attended Croydon School of Art and started performing as a stand-up in the late 1990s, already sporting the big hair and flamboyant outfits of a glam rock star. He ran into his future comedy partner, Leeds-born Julian Barratt, when they both appeared on the same comedy bill at a pub in north London.

Julian reportedly asked Noel if he had his hair on backwards when they first met, but any reservations about quirky coiffures were put aside as the pair quickly realised they were on the same comedy wavelength. And what a freaky wavelength that proved to be.

In 1998, the pair created a fantastical world of joyous nonsense with their first stage show, The Mighty Boosh, and became the darlings of Edinburgh Fringe Festival with that and their two follow up shows, Arctic Boosh and Autoboosh. A radio incarnation of The Mighty Boosh followed and then a TV series and further stage shows, by which time the Boosh's psychedelic silliness had gained a fanatical following.

Noel's exotic sandwich

Outside of the Boosh, Noel has made suitably eccentric appearances in offbeat comedies like Nathan Barley, The IT Crowd and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and he's popped up on numerous comedy panel shows, eventually replacing Bill Bailey in 2008 as a team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. In 2012, he created another Boosh-like universe for Ch4 with the sketch show-meets-sitcom, Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy and, of course, he won Series 4 of Dave's very own Taskmaster.

And now he's the host of The Great British Bake Off and even your granny knows who he is. But don't worry, it's still cool to like Noel Fielding. If anyone can present a primetime cooking competition and still remain achingly hip, it's Mr Noel Fielding.

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