52 Things You Never Knew About Bedford - Comedians

Our new regular feature begins

Anyone who tunes into The Daily Show - one of the popular comedy programmes on television in the United States - will be familiar with the sardonic tones of the British comedian John Oliver.

But while the first thing you'll notice about his accent is that, well, he's a Brit, you might just pick up on a hint of Bedford.

The Emmy Award-winning humorist was born in Birmingham but grew up in Bedford, and went to school at Mark Rutherford when his father started working there.

Speaking to the Times & Citizen two years ago, he said: "I started off when I was a teenager doing Bedfordshire Youth Theatre while going to Mark Rutherford Upper School. It proved very helpful as I got involved in making productions and seemed to often get cast in the funny parts and found I enjoyed it.

"I followed comedy through, went to the University of Cambridge, studied English and was vice president of Footlights Dramatic Club. I started doing comedy nights, and then when I left I wanted to do stand-up and have been doing it ever since."

But it's not just John Oliver that Bedford's comedy production line has produced.

John Le Mesurier appeared in over 100 films, although he is probably best known for his ten-year stint as Sergeant Arthur Wilson in Dad's Army.

And 17 years his junior was Ronnie Barker, who was brought up in Garfield Street long before he was made famous by shows such as Open All Hours, Porridge and The Two Ronnies.

A more recent comedy product is Matt Berry, who was born plain old Matthew Berry in Bromham 36 years ago. He has since played Dixon Bainbridge in The Mighty Boosh, "Todd Rivers" playing Dr Lucien Sanchez in the cult 2004 comedy series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, and has even travelled to Los Angeles to star in The Sarah Silverman Show.

And the pub landlord himself Al Murray hails from Stewkley and is a former Bedford School pupil.

Who do you think is the funniest person from Bedford - or have we missed someone out?

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