He is acknowledged as one of Britain’s most popular entertainers with a a long list of theatre, film and television credits to his name. Les started as a comedey impressionist working the clubs and getting his break on TV ‘New Faces’ talent show in the seventies. As a comedian in the 1980s Les Dennis appeared on numerous light-entertainment TV / Theatre shows, working originally as a member of the comedy team on Russ Abbott’s Madhouse (ITV 1981-85) and later The Russ Abott show (BBC 1986 -91) forming a successful comedy partnership with fellow impressionist, the late Dustin Gee. Following Gee’s death in 1986, Les went on to star in his own BBC series ‘The Les Dennis Laughter show’ (BBC 1987-89). He is probably best known as the host of ITV Family Fortunes, a fifteen year run from 1987 to 2002. He has also acted in soap operas Brookside, Casualty and the short-lived revival of Crossroads. Dennis also appeared in the second series of the UK Celebrity Big Brother.
In 2005 Les appeared as a guest star in the BBC-series Extras starring Ricky Gervais, playing himself and making several jokes about his career, or the lack thereof. He received praise from reviewers for being so honest and open (and being willing to be the punchline of jokes about his apparent lack of success). He was even rumoured to have rejected the original script, claiming that it was too tame. In September and October 2005 he appeared in Ant & Dec’s Gameshow Marathon, in which he visited the winners at home to present the prizes they had won. In 2006, Dennis presented and performed in the BBC’s ‘The Sound of Musicals’.
As an Actor in the theatre he has toured in numerous theatre productions ranging from Shakespeare to musicals including Amos Hart’ in the hit musical Chicago and the leading role of ‘Bill Snibson’ in the award-winning Me And My Girl, both in the West End. He starred in the comedy Don’t Dress For Dinner on tour, appeared in Skylight at the Water Mill Theatre, Newbury and James Robson’s play Mr. Wonderful at the Chester Gateway Theatre. He played ‘Paul Sheldon’ in the stage adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre, toured with the Alan Ayckbourn play Just Between Ourselves and appeared with Janet Suzman in the Finnish Cherished Disappointments In Love, which was staged for a season at London’s Soho Theatre and also toured in ‘Art’ ‘Hairspray’ and ‘Legally Blonde’.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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