Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ben Elton

Ben Elton was born in London in 1959. He comes from a distinguished academic family. He studied at Godalming Grammar School in Surrey before joining amateur dramatic societies. At 15 he wrote his first play. He entered Manchester University in 1977 to study drama. It was there that he met Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson. He graduated in 1980 and soon started on his career as a stand-up comedian and shortly after as a comedy writer. Ben Elton’s wife, Sophie Gare, is an Australian saxophonist with whom he has three children. He has recently received dual citizenship with Australia.

Ben Elton is a very polyvalent artist. He is well-known in many different fields but he especially achieved popularity thanks to his television shows. In 1980 he wrote the sketch show Alfresco in which he occasionally appeared. Alfresco was followed by many other shows, such as The Young Ones (1984), Happy Families (1985), The Thin Blue Line (1996) starring Rowan Atkinson, The Ben Elton Show (1998) and more recently Get a Grip in 2007.

Simultaneously he began writing novels and plays, including among others Stark (1989), Gridlock (1991), This Other Eden (1993), Popcorn (1996), Blast from the Past (1998) and Inconceivable (1999). In 2000 the latter was made into a film called Maybe Baby, which was directed by Elton himself.

He also performed two of his plays on stage, namely Popcorn and Blast from the Past. He confirmed his success with the creation of two musicals: The beautiful game and We will rock you. Elton has won several awards. His novel Popcorn received the Great Britain Gold Dagger Award from the Crime Writers' Association, and its theatre adaptation won the TMA Barclays Theatre Award for best new play and the Olivier Award for best comedy. Ben Elton was also made a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2007.

To conclude we can say that Ben Elton has been a central figure in the comedy scene in Britain since the 1980s. He achieved success in television as well as in theatre, novel writing, and musicals. He is a worldwide known comedy writer and performer. Several of his works have been translated in many languages. Besides, his earlier novels contain political messages and more recently, social critiques.
Marie Marchand & Hélène Vancompernolle.

No comments: