Angus Deayton

From Academic Kids

Gordon Angus Deayton (born January 6, 1956) is a British comic actor and television presenter. He is best-known as the presenter of the satirical panel game Have I Got News For You, a job from which he was sacked in October 2002 after a second round of tabloid revelations about his personal life.

Brought up in Surrey, Deayton showed early promise as a footballer, and had a trial with Crystal Palace. A sporting career was not to be, and he read languages at New College, Oxford, where he was recruited into a satirical revue for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This led to the creation of the parody band the Hee Bee Gee Bees in 1980. Their best selling single "Meaningless Songs" (plus the B-side "Posing in the Moonlight") was a parody of the falsetto style of countless disco hits from Australian pop group the Bee Gees. The parody songs were written by Richard Curtis and Philip Pope.

The foundation of Deayton's career was the parody of commercial/local British radio stations Radio Active transmitted on BBC Radio 4 between 1981 and 1987, which he both wrote and performed in. It transferred to television as KYTV between 1989 and 1993. During this period, Deayton was also frequently seen appearing as a straight man alongside Rowan Atkinson; and starred with Atkinson in two separate roles (a pool attendant and a man on a park bench) in one of the earliest episodes of Mr Bean.

In 1990 Deayton was cast as the Meldrews' neighbour Patrick Trench in the British suburban sitcom One Foot in the Grave and was selected as the host of the show that would make him a household name, Have I Got News For You. He also appeared in the award-winning Alexei Sayle's Stuff.

Deayton's suave manner as host of Have I Got News For You and a tabloid kiss-and-tell story by an ex-girlfriend led to him being nicknamed "TV's Mr Sex" in 1993. He formerly lived with the Seventies singer/songwriter Stephanie de Sykes. He was much in demand as a presenter of television specials including the BBC's New Year's Eve show and the BAFTA Awards. He also featured in a series of advertisements for credit cards and the films Savage Hearts and Elizabeth.

In May 2002 he was embarrassed by tabloid revelations of a relationship with a prostitute and cocaine use, and his salary was reduced by the BBC. In October there were further reports of a long-standing affair, and he was asked to step down as the quizmaster of Have I Got News For You on October 29.

The BBC said his position as a satirical commentator on the week's news had become untenable, though some observers suggested that - as his position was essentially that of an actor reading a script - he should have been allowed to continue. Many took the view that the two regular panelists on Have I Got News For You, Paul Merton and Ian Hislop, contributed to his downfall - even if only by failing to offer Deayton support. When Merton was asked by Michael Parkinson whether he had stabbed Deayton in the back he replied "no, I stabbed him in the front."

He continues to work on other projects including a new episode of Radio Active which was broadcast in December 2002. He recently starred in BBC comedy Nighty Night which was shown from January 2004. A few months later, he made a return to presenting with ITV's cookery reality show Hell's Kitchen and then the light-hearted quiz Bognor or Bust.


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