Alistair McGowan is probably best known to British audiences for The Big Impression which was, for four years, one of BBC1’s top-rating comedy programmes – winning numerous awards, including a BAFTA - and for his recent much-admired ITV1 sports-comedy 'You Cannot Be Serious' ('An excellent one-man show!' Clive James, Daily Telegrpah).
After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1989, Alistair began working as a stand-up comic and was soon a regular at London’s Comedy Store and appeared at The Edinburgh Festival and on the 1996 Royal Variety Show. 2009 saw him return to stand-up and embark on his first solo National tour – ‘The One and Many…’ and his ‘comeback’ was complete when he appeared on Live At the Appollo. In 2011, he also appeared on Jason Manford's Comedy Rocks, twice on A Question of Sport and on The Comedy Annual on ITV1. In 2012, he has been a guest on Room 101.
From 1992-1996, he provided the voices for many of the characters on Spitting Image.
He was a regular feature on Radio 4 comedy shows including: Weekending, The Harpoon and he co-wrote and starred in four series of The Game’s Up (a satirical sports show) on Radio Five. He returned to Radio 4 in 2009 to play the Lord of Darkness in Elven Quest .
In 2010, he has appeared on radio in ‘Goldfinger’ (with Ian Mckellen), ‘Final Demands’ (with Tom Conti), Look Away Now, Continuity, The Craig Brown Diaries.
In 2011, his radio work included two more series of Elvenquest and he read the Lionel Bart biography Fings Aint What They Used Ter Be to huge acclaim over Christmas.
In 2012, he appeared as seven different chracters in a new adaptation of Kind Hearts and Coronets.
His interest in sport saw him release two football comedy videos which became cult-viewing in the nineties : Football Backchat and The Second Leg. And in 2010, he revived his interest in voicing-over sports footage - alongside Dave Lamb of Come Dine With Me fame - in ITV4’s cult hit Sports Mash. In 2011, he acheived a life-long ambition when he was part of Five Live's commentary team at Wimbledon
His theatre work includes : Kafka in Kafka’s Dick and Clov in Endgame (Nottingham Playhouse), Art (Wyndham’s) Khlestakov in The Government Inspector (Chichester), Ford in Merry Wives : The Musical (RSC) – with Simon Callow and Judi Dench - and The Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors (Duke of York’s – for which he received an Olivier nomination), the title role in The Mikado (Carl Rosa), the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, Vernon Gersh in They’re Playing Our Song (Menier Chocolate Factory) – alongside Connie Fisher - The Duke in Thelma Holt’s touring Measure For Measure, John in David Mamet's Oleanna (Nottingham, Lakeside) the Emcee in Rufus Norris’ Cabaret (Lyric) and he took over from Rupert Everett as Prof Henry Higgins in Pygmalion alongside Kara Tointon and Dame Diana Riggg (Garrick, 2011)
As an actor, on television, he played Spock in Tim Firth’s Preston Front, Mr Kenge in Bleak House and the title role in the quirky detective show Mayo (co-writing several later episodes). He featured in Skins as a South African rugby teacher and as the evil Piero de Medici in 13-part CBBC drama Leonardo. in 2012, he appeared alongside Dougreay Scott in The Words of Captain Scott and also narrated The Falklands Most Daring Raid for Channel 4
He has hosted Have I Got News For You? appeared as one of the grumpy old men in Grumpy Guides , has presented features on The One Show, sat in Dictionary Corner on Countdown and has been featured on the hugely popular Who Do You Think You Are?
He appeared in the film Driving Aphrodite opposite Nia Vardalos and Richard Dreyfuss and plays Norris McWhirter in David Baddiel’s film The Norris McWhirter Chronicles for Sky 1.
He has written A Matter of Life and Death ; How To Wean A Man Off Football with Ronni Ancona – an autobiographical comedy self-help book about football as an addiction.
His first play, Timing, premiered in London in October 2009 and received a nomination for ‘Best New Comedy’ in the whatsonstage.com awards 2010.
He has also directed Semi-Monde by Noel Coward at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2008, The Mikado (2010) and The Pirates of Penzance (2011) for Raymond Gubbay.
He devised the show Cocktails With Coward which he performed with Charlotte Page for a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival 2009 and at the Riverside Studios in 2010. The show toured - under the name Sincerely Noel from Nov 2011-Feb 2012.
A keen environmentalist, Alistair has never yet owned a car and is an ambassador for WWF-UK. He also played a key part in the saving and restoration of the art-deco cinema, The Regal, in his home-town of Evesham which is now open and thriving.