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David Walliams

Ashleigh and David Walliams (the voice of Pudsey in the movie) (cropped).JPG
Walliams at the premiere for Pudsey the Dog: The Movie in 2014
David Edward Williams

(1971-08-20) 20 August 1971 (age 52)
Alma mater University of Bristol
  • Comedian
  • actor
  • writer
  • television personality
Years active 1995–present
Notable work
  • Filmography
  • Bibliography
(m. 2010; div. 2015)
Children 1
David Walliams signature.svg

David Edward Williams OBE (born 20 August 1971), known professionally as David Walliams (/ˈwæljəmz/), is an English comedian, actor, writer, and television personality. He is best known for his work with Matt Lucas on the BBC sketch comedy series Little Britain (2003–2006) and Come Fly With Me (2010–2011). From 2012 to 2022, Walliams was a judge on the television talent show competition Britain's Got Talent on ITV. He is also a writer of children's books, having sold more than 37 million copies worldwide.

Walliams played the role of Greville White in the 2007 television drama film Capturing Mary. From 2013 to 2014, he wrote and starred in the BBC One sitcom Big School. In 2015, he starred as Tommy Beresford in the BBC drama series Partners in Crime, and wrote and starred in the sketch comedy series Walliams & Friend. Walliams has won the award for Best TV Judge for his work on Britain's Got Talent at the 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2020 National Television Awards. In 2022, he was a judge on the tenth season of Australia's Got Talent.

Walliams began writing children's novels in 2008 after securing a contract with the publisher HarperCollins. His books have been translated into 53 languages, and he has been described as "the fastest-growing children's author in the UK", with a literary style compared to that of Roald Dahl. Some of his books have been adapted into television films, which he has also appeared in, including Mr Stink (2012), Gangsta Granny (2013) and Billionaire Boy (2016).

Walliams was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to charity and the arts. His charity work includes swimming the English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar and River Thames, raising millions of pounds for the BBC charity Sport Relief.

Early life and education

Walliams was born at St Teresa's Maternity Hospital in Wimbledon, in the London Borough of Merton, in 1971. He is the son of Peter Williams (1936–2007), a London Transport engineer, and Kathleen Williams (née Ellis), a laboratory technician who worked at Sutton Grammar School. Walliams grew up in Banstead, Surrey, specifically in the residential area of Nork, with his mother, father and sister Julie. He was educated at Collingwood Boys' School in Wallington, and Reigate Grammar School in Surrey, where he was a contemporary of writer Robert Shearman. From 1989 to 1992, he studied at the University of Bristol, where he resided at Manor Hall and graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Drama). During university holidays in 1990, Walliams performed with the National Youth Theatre, where he met future comedy partner and friend Matt Lucas. He changed his stage name to David Walliams when he joined college Equity, as there was already a member named David Williams.

Television career

Walliams performed in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio play Phantasmagoria, written by Mark Gatiss in 1999. In 2005, Walliams, Simon Pegg, Lucy Davis and Lauren Laverne starred in the video for Charlotte Hatherley's single "Bastardo". Later in the year, Walliams presented a documentary on James Bond, entitled David Walliams: My Life with James Bond. In 2007, he returned to non-comedy television, garnering positive reviews for his portrayal of a suave and dangerous manipulator in Stephen Poliakoff's Capturing Mary.

He portrayed comedian Frankie Howerd in the BBC Four television film Rather You Than Me. In 2010, Walliams appeared with Paul Rudd and Steve Carell in the comedy Dinner for Schmucks. Walliams played the strange mole-like alien Gibbis in the sixth series of Doctor Who, in the episode "The God Complex", broadcast on BBC One in 2011. In April 2012 Walliams appeared in an episode of ITV's Perspectives programme entitled "David Walliams: The Genius of Dahl". Also in 2012, he narrated Are You Having a Laugh? TV and Disability on BBC Two, and the ITV2 series Top Dog Model.

In 2013, Walliams appeared in two episodes of the comedy series Blandings as Rupert Baxter, an efficiency expert hired to serve as Lord Emsworth's secretary. Also that year, and in 2014, Walliams starred as chemistry teacher Keith Church in the BBC One sitcom Big School, which he created and co-wrote. The series also starred Catherine Tate, Frances de la Tour and Philip Glenister. In March 2014 Walliams narrated a short video for the charity, Electrical Safety First, featuring the character Charley from the Charley Says educational films of the 1970s.

For Comic Relief 2015, Walliams appeared as Lou Todd and Stephen Hawking in the Andy Pipkin role along with Catherine Tate as a nun. In 2015, coinciding with the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth, Walliams played the role of Tommy Beresford in Partners in Crime, a six-part BBC series. In September 2015, Walliams began filming for his BBC sketch show Walliams & Friend, which also starred Joanna Lumley and Morgana Robinson and premiered on Christmas Eve in 2015. The show returned for a full series in November 2016.

Walliams hosted the final comedy show Thrills and Spills in December 2016. The final was held in Louisville, Kentucky. In December 2016, Walliams presented the Royal Variety Performance and a Christmas special episode of Blankety Blank, both shows for ITV. In 2017, Walliams guest presented five episodes of The Nightly Show for ITV.

In 2017, Walliams, along with Rochelle Humes, were both confirmed as Voice Trumpets, joining the existing cast of Daniel Rigby, Antonia Thomas, Jim Broadbent, Fearne Cotton and Jane Horrocks In series 2 of the reboot of classic British children's television series Teletubbies.

In October 2019, Walliams became the new National Television Awards (NTAs) host for 2020, taking over after Dermot O'Leary's ten year presenting stint.

Matt Lucas

Walliams and Matt Lucas first met at the National Youth Theatre. At their first meeting, Lucas did an impression of Jimmy Savile and Walliams an impression of Frankie Howerd. They would not meet again for another year. In the late 1990s, playing minor roles in sketches such as The Club, Walliams and Lucas played grotesque caricatures of various rock musicians in the series Rock Profile and in the spoof documentary series Sir Bernard's Stately Homes. They were also stars of the Paramount Comedy Channel show Mash and Peas, and it was in this guise that they appeared in the Fat Les video. Walliams and Lucas also had small roles in Plunkett and Maclaine as prisoners.

The duo appeared together in a music video for the Pet Shop Boys single "I'm with Stupid", in which the two are apparently auditioning their version of the song's video for Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, who are tied up and appear to be hostages.

The pair are best known for Little Britain, which ran from 2003 to 2009 on the BBC in the UK and from 2008 onwards on HBO in the USA. The programme first aired on BBC Three before moving to the more mainstream BBC One. Among the characters Walliams played were Emily Howard, a deluded "transvestite"; Ray McCooney, an insane Scottish hotel owner; and Sebastian Love, an aide de camp to the Prime Minister (portrayed by Anthony Head) on whom Love has a huge crush. A successful live stage show of the series, Little Britain Live, was produced in 2006. A number of seasonal and charity specials followed, up to 2009. A spin-off series produced in the United States by HBO, Little Britain USA, aired in 2008. The characters from Little Britain played by Walliams and Lucas appeared in a 2010 UK television advertising campaign for the Nationwide Building Society. In January 2005 Walliams and Lucas were named the most powerful people in TV comedy by Radio Times.

Their later series was Come Fly with Me, a six-part series airing on BBC One. The first episode was the third most-watched programme of Christmas Day 2010, and the most watched comedy of the year. The duo have not worked or made any public appearances together since early 2011 (although they each make separate cameo appearances in Michael Winterbottom's 2013 film The Look of Love).

Little Britain returned to BBC Radio 4 on 31 October 2019, for a one-off special entitled Little Brexit.

Got Talent franchise

From 2012 to 2022, Walliams was a judge on the ITV1 talent show Britain's Got Talent with Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell. In 2015, 2018 and 2019, he was recognised at the National Television Awards as Best Judge for his involvement in the series.

In 2022, it was announced that Walliams would be joining Seven Network's Australia's Got Talent as a judge for the show's tenth season alongside fellow Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, and Australian actors Kate Ritchie and Shane Jacobson.

In November 2022, after controversy erupted regarding leaked disparaging comments made by Walliams to contestants, it was reported that Walliams had decided "to bow out after a ten-year run", and that he wished to leave the show "on a high after a wonderful time". He was replaced by Dancing with the Stars judge Bruno Tonioli.

Writing career

Children's novels

David Walliams Reading
Walliams at the WORD Christchurch Festival 2015, NZ

In early 2008 Walliams signed a contract with HarperCollins to publish two children's books. The debut novel, The Boy in the Dress, illustrated by Quentin Blake, was released worldwide on 1 November 2008. It explores several of the themes of Little Britain from Walliams' own life on an emotional level, such as the camp humour of cross-dressing and effeminacy. The story recounts a neglected 12-year-old boy called Dennis' search for a female role model, his friendship with the popular girl in school, and the ways in which relationships develop along gender lines. The story has a strong resonance with Anne Fine's 1989 book Bill's New Frock. This book was adapted into a film for Christmas 2014.

In November 2009 came Mr Stink, again illustrated by Quentin Blake, about a 12-year-old girl who meets a tramp and helps look after him. She keeps him hidden from her family. The book consists of 26 illustrated chapters full of jokes. It is aimed at teenagers and children over 9. It was the last of Walliams books to be illustrated by Quentin Blake. The book was awarded the Children's Award in the inaugural People's Book Prize in 2010, and was made into a 60-minute film, which premiered on BBC One on 23 December 2012.

On 28 October 2010 Walliams published his third book Billionaire Boy, illustrated by Tony Ross, telling the story of Joe Spud, the richest 12-year-old in the country. Joe's father is a famous inventor, and his wealth means that Joe has everything he could ever want: his own bowling alley, cinema and a trained orangutan who serves as his butler, but there is just one thing he really needs: a friend. The book included a 'billion pound note' that was used to enter a competition to win a day as a billionaire in London. This was the first of his books to be illustrated by Tony Ross.

Walliams' fourth book, Gangsta Granny was released in October 2011 and again illustrated by Tony Ross. It tells the story of Ben who is bored every time he is made to stay at his grandma's house as all she wants to do is to play board games and eat cabbage soup. Ben learns that she was once an international jewel thief and all her life she has wanted to steal the crown jewels. Ben is determined that they do it together. It won a Red House Children's Book Award and was adapted to be a 70-minute film for BBC One and shown on 26 December 2013.

In September 2012 Walliams released his fifth children's book, Ratburger, telling the story of a young girl named Zoe whose life is a misery as she has an evil stepmother. It was made into a one-off drama for Sky One.

Ratburger was followed in September 2013 by Walliams' sixth book, Demon Dentist, relating the tale of a young boy named Alfie with no family except his dad whose world goes upside-down when a new dentist arrives in town. The book won the top prize in the Younger Readers category at the 2015 Red House Children's Book Awards.

Walliams' seventh children's book, Awful Auntie, was released on 25 September 2014. This was the story of a girl named Stella whose Auntie has moved into her house with her owl, Wagner. It is the first (and currently only) of Walliams' books to not include Raj the newsagent, due to the book being set in the 1930s before Raj was born.

In September 2015 he released Grandpa's Great Escape. The story follows a boy called Jack trying to rescue his Grandpa who suffers from Alzheimer's disease from a care home run by an evil matron. The book was adapted for BBC One, with the script written by Walliams and Kevin Cecil, and starring Tom Courtenay as Grandpa. This book, although set in the 1980s like Awful Auntie is, sees the return of Raj the newsagent. The same year that Grandpa's Great Escape was published, Walliams backed children's fairytales app GivingTales in aid of UNICEF, together with Roger Moore, Stephen Fry, Ewan McGregor, Joan Collins, Joanna Lumley, Michael Caine, Charlotte Rampling and Paul McKenna.

The Midnight Gang was published in November 2016. Bad Dad was published in November 2017. Walliams sold £16.57 million worth of books in 2017. The Ice Monster was published in November 2018. Walliams' next children's novel, Spaceboy, was published in September 2022. On 5 April 2023, his latest children's novel Robodog was published. The story is about Robodog, the newest recruit at the police dog school, as he sets out to save his city from some evil criminals trying to destroy it.

Picture books

No. Title Release date Illustrator Pages
1 The Slightly Annoying Elephant 7 November 2013 Tony Ross 32
2 The First Hippo on the Moon 20 October 2014
3 The Queen's Orang-utan 26 February 2015
4 The Bear Who Went Boo! 5 November 2015
5 There's a Snake in My School! 19 September 2016
6 Boogie Bear 26 July 2018 40
7 Geronimo 15 November 2018 32
8 The Creature Choir 12 December 2019
9 Little Monsters 15 October 2020 Adam Stower
10 Marmalade: The Orange Panda 17 February 2022

Short story collections

Illustrated in colour by Tony Ross, Walliams' three The World's Worst Children short story collections, centered around 'five beastly boys and five gruesome girls', were published in May 2016, May 2017 and May 2018, respectively.

The World's Worst Teachers was published on 27 June.

In July 2020, tweets by author and activist Jack Monroe described Walliams' books as "like Little Britain for kids", with "horrific racism and classism and bodyshaming in a veneer of privileged deniability". HarperCollins issued a response, stating "David Walliams's books have a diverse readership which is reflected in their content". Also in July 2020, Williams' next book, The World's Worst Parents was published, and the book followed the same structure as all of the previous short story collection books.

In September 2021 it was announced that one of the stories in The World's Worst Children would be removed after podcaster Georgie Ma made a complaint, saying Walliams' book was "normalising jokes on minorities from a young age." The story criticised by Ma earlier in the year is "about a Chinese boy called Brian Wong" who is "never, ever wrong". Ma, who also called out the story for its "casual racism", talked in May with representatives of HarperCollins, who agreed to remove the story in future editions of the book.

On 28 April 2022, Walliams' next book in the short story collections, this time titled The World's Worst Pets was published. However, this book was illustrated by Adam Stower, Walliams' new illustrator, whereas all the other books in the series were illustrated by Tony Ross. The next and latest book of the series, The World's Worst Monsters was published on 6 July 2023.

Other work


On 26 August 2008 Walliams made his stage debut at the Gate Theatre in Dublin opposite Michael Gambon in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, in front of an audience that included Pinter himself. The production transferred to London later in the year.

In 2013, he played the part of Bottom in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Noël Coward Theatre opposite Sheridan Smith as Titania.

In July 2014, Walliams appeared on stage with Monty Python during their live show Monty Python Live (Mostly) held at the O2 Arena, London. He was the special guest in their "Blackmail" sketch.


In addition to his writing credits for his sketch shows and adaptions of his novels, he was set to co-write an animated film titled Shadows with filmmaker Edgar Wright for DreamWorks Animation. It was never made however, due to the staff changes at DreamWorks animation which left the film in limbo.

In 2018, Walliams also starred in the British Airways Safety video, which was conducted in conjunction with Comic Relief for the airlines in house charity. Walliams most notable occasion in the video is the lifejacket instruction. Since then the video has been reworked with a mixture of the previous version; however, Walliams still appears in the new version.


Walliams hosted a classical music podcast for children called David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast. The show was produced by Classic FM and won a gold prize at the 2020 British Podcast Awards.

Charity work

Telethon hosting

Walliams co-hosted a segment of the Sport Relief telethon in 2012, co-hosting the 22:00–22:40 slot with Miranda Hart when the show moved over to BBC Two while the BBC News at Ten was aired.

Walliams also co-hosted the 2014 Sport Relief telethon. This time, he hosted the earlier slot between 19:00–22:00 with Gary Lineker and later Davina McCall.

Swimming the English Channel

On 4 July 2006 Walliams swam the English Channel for Sport Relief. It took him 10 hours and 34 minutes to swim the 22-mile (35 km) stretch of sea, equivalent to 700 lengths of an Olympic-size swimming pool. This was wrongly reported as one of the top 50 recorded times for an unaided Channel crossing; in reality Walliams placed 167th at the time of crossing in only the CSA listings, excluding the CSPF listings. He raised over £1 million in donations. Under the supervision of his trainer, he trained for nine months to prepare for the swim. The training had to coincide with Walliams and Lucas's Little Britain Live tour, so he daily had to train for several hours before performing on stage in the evening.

Walliams first swam from Lee-on-the-Solent near Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight in around two hours and also completed an eight-hour swim off the coast of Croatia before embarking on the cross-Channel attempt. Walliams has insisted that prior to his challenge he had never seriously taken part in any sport. The Bluetones' lead singer Mark Morriss wrote a song, "Fade In/Fade Out", in honour of Walliams' achievement; it can be found on their self-titled album, released on 9 October 2006.

Swimming the Strait of Gibraltar

On 7 March 2008 Walliams, along with James Cracknell, swam the 12-mile (19 km) Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco, again for Sport Relief. He successfully completed the swim in just over 4½ hours.


In March 2010 Walliams and a group of celebrities cycled an end-to-end journey through the UK, raising over £1 million for Sport Relief. Walliams suffered a serious fall when tackling the Kirkstone Pass, a thousand-foot climb in the Lake District but was able to complete the ride.

24 Hour Panel People

In March 2011 Walliams undertook 24 Hour Panel People, in which he took part in back-to-back recordings of various panel show formats over the course of 24 hours to raise money for Comic Relief. The recordings were streamed live on the BBC website. He took part in 19 episodes of "classic" TV panel shows.

Swimming the Thames

Walliams after swim (6142294516)
Walliams in 2011 after swimming the Thames for Sports Relief

From 5 to 12 September 2011 Walliams swam the length of the River Thames (140 miles [230 km]) and raised more than £2 million for Sport Relief. Once he had got out of the river Walliams said "I think a bath is the only water I will be seeing for a while." The swim resulted in him getting giardiasis and injuring an intervertebral disc. In late 2013, Walliams had emergency back surgery to alleviate issues caused by the swim.

Personal life

In 2007, Walliams' father, Peter, died of an aggressive form of liver cancer.

In 2009, Walliams dated eighteen-year-old model Lauren Budd. Budd claimed Walliams had approached her agent, Premier Model Management for a date with Budd.

In 2009, Walliams began dating Dutch model Lara Stone. On 20 January 2010, they got engaged after her parents had given their blessing to the relationship. On 16 May 2010, the couple were married at central London's Claridge's Hotel. On 6 May 2013, Stone gave birth to the couple's child, Alfred.

Walliams and Stone lived in a house with a recording studio, formerly owned by Noel Gallagher, known as Supernova Heights in Belsize Park, North London. It was reported on 4 March 2015 that, following five years of marriage, the pair had decided to try a trial separation after "drifting apart". On 9 September 2015, Walliams filed for divorce from Stone, citing "unreasonable behaviour". The couple were granted a decree nisi the next day; the marriage was formally dissolved six weeks after the date of filing.

Walliams hinted at being pansexual in the book Inside Little Britain, but said he did not like to be labelled by that word. .....

Walliams has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and he described his 2006 swim of the English Channel as "some sort of redemption".



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Mash and Peas Gareth Peas 9 episodes
1998 Sir Bernard's Stately Homes Anthony Rodgers 6 episodes
1998 Barking Various roles 6 episodes
1999 Bang, Bang, It's Reeves and Mortimer Various roles 5 episodes
1999–2009 Rock Profile Various roles 30 episodes
2000 The Strangerers Rats 5 episodes
2000–02 Attachments Jake Plaskow 1 episode
2001 Fun at the Funeral Parlour Cobra 1 episode
2002 The Bill Ben Fletcher 1 episode
2003 EastEnders Ray Collins 2 episodes
2003–08 Little Britain Various roles, writer 23 episodes
2004 Hustle Shop Assistant – Series 1/Ep 4 1 episode
2004 Agatha Christie's Marple George Bartlett 1 episode "The Body in the Library"
2005–16 Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Himself, 8 episodes 8 episodes
2010–11 Come Fly With Me Various Characters, writer 6 episodes
2011 Doctor Who Gibbis, episode "The God Complex" 1 episode
2012–16 A League of Their Own Guest, 8 episodes 11 episodes
2012–22 Britain's Got Talent Judge 145 episodes
2013–14 Big School Mr. Church 12 episodes
2013 Blandings Rupert Baxter, 2 episodes 2 episodes
Gangsta Granny Mike Television film
2015 Partners in Crime Thomas "Tommy" Beresford 6 episodes
2015–16 Walliams and Friend Various characters, creator, writer 7 episodes
2016 Blankety Blank Presenter 1 episode
2017 The Nightly Show Guest presenter, 5 episodes 5 episodes
2017– Teletubbies Voice Trumpet Voiceover
2018– It'll be Alright on the Night Narrator 9 episodes
2019 Britain's Got Talent: The Champions Judge 6 episodes
Cinderella: After Ever After Prince Charming Christmas special
2020 The National Television Awards Presenter
Sandylands Derek Swallows 3 episodes
The Jonathan Ross Show Guest 1 episode
Jack and the Beanstalk: After Ever After The Giant Christmas special
The Gruffalo and Me: The Remarkable Julia Donaldson Interviewed Guest One-off special
Chitty Flies Again with David Walliams Presenter One-off special
2021 Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Himself Ant & Dec Present Saturday Knight Takeaway
The Masked Dancer Guest Judge Series 1 – episode 5
The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan Guest Series 2 – episode 4
Hansel and Gretel: After Ever After Troll Television film
The Wheel Participant Christmas special
2022 Comic Relief: Rock Profile Various music stars One-off comedy special with Matt Lucas
Australia's Got Talent Judge
Red Riding Hood: After Ever After Big Bad Wolf & narrator Television film
Gangsta Granny Strikes Again! Mike Television film


Year Title Role
1999 Plunkett & Macleane Viscount Bilston
2002 Cruise of the Gods Jeff 'Lurky' Monks
2004 Shaun of the Dead Voice on TV
2007 Run Fatboy Run Customer in Libby's shop
Stardust Sextus
2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Bulgy Bear (voice)
Virgin Territory Cart pusher
2010 Dinner for Schmucks Müeller
Marmaduke Anton Harrison
2012 Great Expectations Mr. Pumblechook
2013 Justin and the Knights of Valour Melquiades and Karolius (voice)
2014 Pudsey: The Movie Pudsey (voice)
2019 Missing Link Mr. Lemuel Lint (voice)
Murder Mystery Tobias Quince
2021 Twist Losberne

Awards and honours

Walliams was given a special award in recognition of his sporting efforts for charity. Matt Lucas produced a documentary on the subject, entitled Little Britain's Big Swim. On 6 November 2006, Walliams won the Pride of Britain Award for "The Most Influential Public Figure" as he raised more than £1.5 million swimming the channel for the Sport Relief charity. Although initially tipped as a contender for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year poll for 2006, Walliams failed to make the final shortlist of 10 contenders. Walliams was given a special award during the ceremony for his achievement. In July 2006, he became Patron of 'Cardiac Risk in the Young'.

At the 2012 National Television Awards, Walliams won the 'Landmark Achievement Award', for his television career and achievements for Sport Relief. In December 2012 he won the Specsavers National Book Awards "Children's Book of the Year" for Ratburger. In December 2013 he won the Specsavers National Book Awards "Children's Book of the Year" for Demon Dentist. In December 2014 he won the Specsavers National Book Awards "Children's Book of the Year" for Awful Auntie. Awful Auntie also won the 2014 Specsavers National Book Awards "Audiobook of the Year".

Walliams has won the award for Best TV Judge at the 2015, 2018 and 2019 National Television Awards.

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to charity and the arts. He was invested with the honour by Princess Anne.

See also

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