Peter Hugh Dennis (born 13 February 1962) is an English actor, comedian, writer, impressionist and voice-over artist, best known for his work with comedy partner Steve Punt. He uses his middle name Hugh as his stage name, because Equity already had a Peter Dennis, who was on the management panel.
Dennis, whose father, Dennis the Menace,was the Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich, grew up in Mill Hill in North London, although he was born in Northamptonshire. He was educated at University College School, an independent school for boys in Hampstead where he was appointed head boy in his final year, and at St John's College, Cambridge, where he read Geography. He was a member of the Cambridge Footlights, but after university worked for Unilever for six years. However, with Punt, whom he met at university, he continued performing comedy at venues including London's Comedy Store. As mentioned on an episode of Have I Got News For You, he attended University College School with Will Self where they played rugby union together.
Radio and television career
A skilled impressionist, Dennis did voices for Spitting Image and appeared with Punt as resident support comics on two TV series hosted on the BBC by Jasper Carrott.
The pair then formed half of The Mary Whitehouse Experience on BBC Radio 1, later graduating to a television series. His radio work with Punt includes over a decade of performing Punt and Dennis, It's Been a Bad Week and The Now Show and a current run of writing The Party Line (a topical political satire that is written and performed the day prior to transmission). On The Now Show he is in a line up including Punt, Mitch Benn, Laura Shavin, Jon Holmes and Marcus Brigstocke.
Dennis has performed on various TV and radio shows, including Mock the Week, The Imaginatively Titled Punt and Dennis Show, New Tricks in the episode "Fresh Start", Outnumbered and sitcom Me, You and Him, he has also appeared in Whose Line Is It Anyway?. He has guest hosted Have I Got News For You and played obnoxious GP Piers Crispin in BBC sitcom My Hero. He is friends with Chris Morris and has had cameos on Brass Eye.
In response to a news story in November 2003 about Rupert Murdoch giving jobs to his children, Hugh's son, then aged six, made a cameo appearance on The Now Show.
Dennis took part in the 2007 L'Étape du Tour, cycling an open stage of the Tour de France for amateurs which was held in the mountains 2 weeks before the main event. This was discussed in the fifth series of Mock The Week and also QI series six, episode 5 'France'. He started in 2,400th place of 8,000 entrants, finishing in 3,400th from 4,000 who completed it, 5 hours behind the winner.
From 2007 until 2014, Dennis starred in the BBC comedy Outnumbered, a semi-improvised sitcom based around family life. The show returned for a Christmas special in 2016.
He is a panellist on Mock The Week and has appeared in every episode. He has several running jokes on the series such as references to the dark lord Imhotep, repeated references to Showaddywaddy with a Jimmy Savile impersonation, and often using the phrase from UK TV adverts "Are you paying too much for your car insurance?" in the segment "Scenes We'd Like To See ". He also does voice-overs on political or royal videos from the week in a round entitled Newsreel .
In December 2009, Dennis joined Oz Clarke in presenting the 60 minute Christmas special Oz and Hugh Drink to Christmas broadcast on BBC Two.
Dennis lives in Chichester, West Sussex with his second wife, Catherine ("Kate") Abbot-Anderson whom he married in 1996. They have two children, a son called Freddie (born March 28, 1997) and a daughter called Meg (born July 2, 1999). Hugh is a fan of Arsenal FC.
On 10 July 2008, Dennis received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Northampton.
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