Thompson, Harry 1960–2005

views updated

Thompson, Harry 1960–2005

(Harry William Thompson)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 6, 1960, in London, England; died of lung cancer, November 7, 2005, in London, England. Television producer and author. Credited with bringing groundbreaking satirical shows to British television from the 1990s through the early twenty-first century, Thompson was responsible for such shows as Have I Got News for You and The 11 o'Clock Show. His eye for humor and the scandalous began at a young age; when he was only ten, his school's headmaster banned a publication he created called Ratz. He later came up with Ripping Fun, a show that had sketches he believed were then taken by Monty Python alums Michael Palin and Terry Jones for their program Ripping Yarns. Graduating from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1981 with a master's degree, he got his start at the British Broadcasting Corporation as a news trainee. His first break came in radio, for which he produced the show The News Quiz. This later evolved into Have I Got News for You, which he produced on British television during the early 1990s. This was followed, in 1994, with Harry Enfield & Chums, and, more successfully, with The 11 o'Clock Show. One of the main characters on the latter, Ali G, was a popular comedic street interviewer conceived by Thompson. Thompson, who also founded his own production company, Silver River, gained a reputation through these shows and others as a brilliant satirist who helped make stars out of such British comedians as Paul Whitehouse, Ian Hislop, Mark Lamarr, and Harry Enfield. He was, furthermore, considered a visionary producer who could spot future trends in comedy and had no qualms about creating edgy shows, such as the animated satire Monkey Dust. In addition to his television work, Thompson was also an author. He cowrote a series of humorous illustrated books with Marcus Berkmann—Baldies, Beardies, Fatties, and Shorties (all 1986)—as well as biographies and a novel, The Thing of Darkness (2005), which was placed on the Booker Prize long list.



Independent (London, England), November 9, 2005, p. 63.

Times (London, England), November 9, 2005, p. 66.

About this article

Thompson, Harry 1960–2005

Updated About content Print Article