Monday, 21 September 2009
Christopher Biggins is an actor, pantomime dame (highest paid panto actor in Britain) and TV personality. He is best known for winning I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
He is in town to talk about the work he does with the Hope Foundation. Christopher Biggins will be in Cork on Friday 25th attending the annual fundraising lunch for The HOPE Foundation as a guest speaker.
Christopher Biggins - Actor & TV Personality.
He was born in December in Odlum, Lancashire but moved to Salisbury three weeks later.
He left school at 16 without a single 0-Level. His carefully modulated theatrical accent is a result of childhood elocution lessons paid for by his aunt.
After school he joined the Salisbury Playhouse and was given a minor role in 'She Stoops to Conquer'.
At 17 he got his Equity card and in 1967 he tried for Bristol's Old Vic Theatre School and was accepted.
Jeremy Irons was one of his fellow students! He was even best man at Jeremy's wedding to fellow student Julie Hallam. He even joined them on their honeymoon - not realizing what the word gooseberry meant.
He did a spell with the Derby Rep and then was offered a role with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a play called London Assurance.
Sinead Cusack joined the cast of London Assurance and Biggins says that he introduced Jeremy Irons to Sinead.
In 1974 he played the character Lukewarm in Porridge. More than 16m viewers watched porridge every week. Back then he got £90 an episode but now if they repeat it he gets about £1,000.
He also starred in 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?' (1973) and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973 & 1978), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and played Nero in 'I Claudius' in 1976.
In the mid 80's he was asked to co-host with Cilla Black on Surprise Surprise. They had 15m Saturday night viewers.
I'm a Celebrity..Get Me Out of Here
The Producers of I'm a Celebrity .. Get Me Out of Here approached Biggins every series but he turned them down as he was committed to panto. He agreed in 2007 and that was the first time in 38 years that he didn't appear in panto. In the jungle he was forced to chomp down on a kangaroo testicle, a crocodile foot, three cockroaches and a witchetty grub. He was crowned King of the Jungle. When he left the jungle his friend Lisa Tarbuck told him that Daniel Craig (James Bond) had voted for him to win.
He wrote an auto biography: Just Biggins (2008)
Biggins won his Celebrity Come Dine with Me in 2009. His dinner guests were ex-MP Edwina Currie, TV presenter Julia Bradbury and Hollyoaks heart-throb Phillip Olivier.
The Hope Foundation
The Hope Foundation is a registered Irish charity set up in 1999 to help restore basic human rights to the street children of Kolkata (Calcutta). Founded by Maureen Forrest
They work to help children born on the streets, who are denied such needs as food, shelter, healthcare, education, love, safety and support. The streets offer little protection and dangerous predators regularly abuse these vulnerable children emotionally, physically, mentally and sexually.
The Hope Foundation was set up initially to fund one girls home. Today, HOPE funds 60 projects in health care, education, vocational training, drug rehabilitation and child protection.
They work with 16 Indian partner organizations on projects in healthcare, education, child protection, drug rehabilitation, sanitation and vocational training. They also fund eight residential homes where children receive 24-hour care and all the support they need to stay in mainstream school.