Date of Birth : Dec 3rd 1952
English comedian, actor, film director, writer and producer. While at Oxford University he produced The Tempest, and this led to his joining the Royal Court Theatre production team in London, and then Bristol Old Vic. He was also associate director of Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre for two years. Later, he directed a theatre production of “Not in Front of the Audience”.
Also at Oxford, he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe with the Oxford University Dramatic Society. One year they shared a venue with the Cambridge Footlights, directed by John Lloyd. Lloyd later got the opportunity to develop the idea that became the satirical BBC television series Not the Nine O’clock News. Lloyd rang Smith to ask if he wanted to do it, and Smith agreed for £100 an episode. This was followed briefly by Smith and Goody (with Bob Goody) and then the comedy sketch series Alas Smith and Jones, co-starring Griff Rhys Jones, its title being a pun on the name of the American TV series Alias Smith and Jones. He also starred as property dealer Tom Craig in ITV drama Muck and Brass, and guest starred on The Goodies episode “Animals”.
In 1981, Smith and Griff Rhys Jones founded TalkBack Productions, a company that has produced many of the most significant British comedy shows of the past two decades, including Smack the Pony, Da Ali G Show, I’m Alan Partridge and Big Train. In 2000, the company was sold to Pearson for £62 million.