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Sean Hughes (comedian)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sean Hughes
Birth nameJohn Hughes
Born(1965-11-10)10 November 1965
Archway, London, England
Died16 October 2017(2017-10-16) (aged 51)
Archway, London, England
EducationColáiste Éanna, Dublin
Years active1987–2016
Notable works and roles

Sean Hughes (10 November 1965 – 16 October 2017) was an English-born Irish comedian, writer and actor. He starred in his own Channel 4 television show Sean's Show and was one of the regular team captains on the BBC Two musical panel game Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Early life

Hughes was born in Archway, London, but spent most of his youth in Firhouse, Dublin. His mother, who was from Cork met his father, who was from Dublin, on a London bus. His father worked in a telephone exchange and was also a driving instructor. At the age of six, Hughes moved to Dublin and lived with his paternal grandmother.[1] He attended Coláiste Éanna in Ballyroan.

Writing in The Guardian, Bruce Dessau noted of Hughes's early years that:

[He] used to talk about how sounding like a Cockney in an Irish school was not easy. He later quipped that he spent "most of my childhood in a headlock". Not surprisingly his Mary Poppins accent soon developed a lilting local burr. Making schoolfriends laugh was a classic defence mechanism and he even set up comedy gigs at his school. What started out as a hobby quickly became a career.[2]


In 1987 he began appearing at the Comedy Store. In 1990, aged 24, he became the youngest winner of the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award for his show, A One-Night Stand with Sean Hughes.[3]

He marked his 30th birthday with the Sean Hughes Is Thirty Somehow tour, which was broadcast on Channel 4, in 1995. Hughes returned to stand-up, touring the UK and Australia in 2007 with his show, The Right Side of Wrong.[4]

As well as comedy, he wrote collections of prose and poetry and worked on a number of films. He also presented weekend radio shows on the BBC's London radio station BBC GLR, and in 2002 joined BBC 6 Music, presenting the Sunday morning programme. He left the station a year after its launch, proclaiming it had turned into everything he had wanted it to be. He also wrote two novels, The Detainees (1998) and It's What He Would Have Wanted (2000).[5]

It was reported that Hughes was a close friend of the late American comedian Bill Hicks, but Hughes stated this was not true. In a 2014 interview, he explained, "It says on my Wikipedia page that I was good friends with him. I wasn't! We were in Australia together, so we hung out. I did get to know him a little bit, which was a real pleasure. When I saw him I just went, 'That's the best comic I'm going to see in my lifetime.'"[6]

Nevertheless, Hughes wrote the foreword to Cynthia True's biography of Hicks, American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story. He concluded his foreword by writing "being a genius is a heavy burden and he's the only one I'm ever likely to meet. I still miss you Bill."[7]

Film and television drama

Hughes had a small role in the film The Commitments (1991), playing a record producer.[8][9]

In 1992, he had his own TV show, Sean's Show, ostensibly set in his own home. It received a nomination for the 1992 British Comedy Award for Best Channel 4 Sitcom.[10][11] Series one of Sean's Show has been released on DVD. Later, he recorded a series of brief programmes called Sean's Shorts, in which he toured England, visiting many of the country's towns and cities, visiting local places of interest and meeting local people.[12] He appeared in the film Snakes and Ladders shot in Dublin, and released in 1996.[13]

From 1996 to 2002, he was a team captain on the BBC 2 comedy quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, alongside Phill Jupitus and Mark Lamarr.[14] He can be seen during Terrorvision's music video for their single "Tequila" from 1999[15] and in the video for The Cure's 1996 single, "The 13th".[16] He appeared in the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe.[17]

In ITV's series The Last Detective, featuring "Dangerous" Davies, Hughes played his friend, the perpetually unemployed and well-read "Mod Lewis" (he spends all his time at the library to save on heating).[18] He played Eileen Grimshaw's love interest Pat in the British soap Coronation Street.[19]

In 2003, Hughes voiced the part of Finbar the clockwork Shark, one of seven plastic bath toys which come to life whenever no-one is watching in the children's television series Rubbadubbers, shown on CBeebies in the United Kingdom for pre-school children.[20]

He played Sergeant Lake in the ITV Agatha Christie's Marple production of They Do It with Mirrors, which was broadcast on 1 January 2010.[21]

Hughes played Brendan in the film version of Tony Hawks' book, Round Ireland with a Fridge (2010).[22] He also played the lead in the film adaptation of Spike Milligan's comic novel, Puckoon.[23] Hughes also voiced Tapir in the three Robbie the Reindeer films.[24]

He appeared in Casualty in 2015.[25]

Stage and online

In early 2014 Hughes started a podcast called Under the Radar, which ran for approximately 57 episodes (excluding repeats and split episodes) until December 2016.[26]

Hughes took over the role of stationmaster Mr Perks in the musical The Railway Children at King's Cross Theatre in March 2015.[27]

Personal life

Hughes was a vegetarian and proponent of animal rights.[28] Hughes was a heavy drinker most of his career. In 2012, it was reported that he had become a teetotaller.[29]


Hughes died at the age of 51 on 16 October 2017 from the effects of cirrhosis,[30] at Whittington Hospital in North London (the same hospital in which he was born in 1965).[31][32]

A funeral service was held at St Pancras and Islington Cemetery on 23 October 2017, where, after the mourning party heard eulogies to his memory, there were recited extracts of some of Hughes' poetry and recorded music from The Smiths and Lily Allen, his body was cremated. A wake was held afterwards in a nearby pub.[33]



  • Mumbo Jumbo[34]
  • Penguins[35]
  • Life Becomes Noises[11]
  • Ducks and Other Mistakes I've Made[36]
  • What I Meant to Say Was...[37]
  • The Right Side of Wrong[38]
  • Live... And Seriously Funny[39]
  • A One Night Stand with Sean Hughes[40]


  • Sean's Book (1993) ISBN 978-1857931457
  • The Grey Area (1995) ISBN 978-1857934656
  • The Detainees (1998) ISBN 978-0684820811
  • It's What He Would Have Wanted (2000) ISBN 978-0743201599
  • My Struggle to Be Decent and Poems of Sadness and Light ISBN 978-1908067098[41]


  1. ^ Spencer, Nikki (24 April 2015). "Sean Hughes: My family values". The Guardian. London. ISSN 1756-3224. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  2. ^ Dessau, Bruce (16 October 2017). "Sean Hughes obituary". The Guardian. London. ISSN 1756-3224. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  3. ^ "sean hughes – a one night stand". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Mick Perrin for Just for Laughs Live in Association with PBJ Management and Gilded Balloon Productions presents Sean Hughes: The Right Side of Wrong" (PDF). Gilded Balloon Teviot. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  5. ^ Aldous, Sarah (27 September 1999). "Sean's novel take on life". BBC News. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  6. ^ Williams, Ben (25 March 2014). "Stand-up countdown Sean Hughes". Time Out. London. ISSN 1479-7054. It says on my Wikipedia page that I was good friends with him. I wasn't! We were in Australia together, so we hung out. I did get to know him a little bit, which was a real pleasure. When I saw him I just went, "That's the best comic I'm going to see in my lifetime."
  7. ^ "American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story" Archived 3 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  8. ^ "THE COMMITMENTS | British Board of Film Classification". 17 March 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  9. ^ "The Commitments Cast and Crew". TV Guide. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Sean's Show". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  11. ^ a b Mullally, Una (25 January 2013). "Sean Hughes: 'Once I embraced my gene pool I found life much more bearable' | Pop Life". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Comedian Sean Hughes comes to The Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead with his brand new show, Penguins". Watford Observer. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  13. ^ Levy, Emanuel (21 October 1996). "Snakes and Ladders". Variety. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Sean Hughes quits Buzzcocks". BBC News. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Never Mind the Buzzcocks episode showing Sean in Terrorvision video". Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Making Wild Mood Swings pay off". Music Fan Club. 22 April 1996. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Fringe's funniest joke prize awarded to Tim Vine". 23 August 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  18. ^ "DVD reviews: 'George Gently' and 'The Last Detective', British mysteries never broadcast in the U.S." LA Times Blogs – Show Tracker. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Sean Hughes joins Corrie cast", Digital Spy, 16 May 2007.
  20. ^ "RUBBADUBBERS – SCARY FINBAR". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Agatha Christie Marple They Do It With Mirrors". Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  22. ^ "Round Ireland with a Fridge – BBC Four". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Spike Milligan's Puckoon: Cast". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Robbie The Reindeer in Legend of the Lost Tribe Press Pack" (PDF). BBC Press Office. BBC. Christmas 2002. p. 3. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Home for Christmas, Series 30, Casualty – BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  26. ^ "Under the Radar Podcast". Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  27. ^ Mitford, Oliver (23 February 2015). "Comedian Sean Hughes joins The Railway Children". London Box Office. London, UK.
  28. ^ "Sean Hughes". Culture Northern Ireland. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  29. ^ Rees, Caroline. (2012). "'I matured very late in life': Sean Hughes on the death of his father". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  30. ^ Staunton, Denis (14 October 2017). "Sean Hughes funeral reflects man who never lost capacity for friendship". The Irish Times. Dublin. ISSN 1393-3515.
  31. ^ "Comedian Sean Hughes dies aged 51". BBC News. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  32. ^ Grierson, Jamie; Wiegand, Chris (16 October 2017). "Sean Hughes: comedian dies aged 51". The Guardian. London. ISSN 1756-3224. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Sean Hughes' funeral moving and complex, says David Baddiel". The Irish News. Belfast. 24 October 2017. ISSN 2042-7441. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  34. ^ Enfield, Laura. "How to annoy Sean Hughes". Watford Observer. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  35. ^ "Sean Hughes – Penguins". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  36. ^ Solon, Laura (8 August 2010). "Laura Solon: My Edinburgh". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  37. ^ Laing, Jemima (16 December 2009). "City is having a laugh". BBC Devon. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  38. ^ "Archive for Sean Hughes – The Right Side of Wrong at Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth. 2007. [COMEDY]". UK Theatre Web. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  39. ^ "Sean Hughes » Riverside Parramatta". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  40. ^ "Sean Hughes joins Railway Children". Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  41. ^ "Sean Hughes Poetry and Stand-up". Retrieved 16 October 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 January 2021, at 13:01
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