Robert Popper

Last updated

Robert Popper
Robert Popper.jpg
Popper at the 22 July 2010 Look Around You panel at the San Diego Comic-Con
Born
Robert Darren Popper

(1967-11-23) 23 November 1967 (age 53)
St. Marylebone, London, England
Other namesRobin Cooper
Occupation
  • Writer
  • producer
  • actor
Years active1995–present

Robert Darren Popper [1] (born 23 November 1967) is a British comedy producer, writer, actor, and author, best known as co-creator of the mock BBC documentary Look Around You , and creator of Channel 4's sitcom Friday Night Dinner . He also wrote the books The Timewaster Letters, Return of The Timewaster Letters and The Timewaster Diaries under the pseudonym Robin Cooper.

Contents

Personal life

Popper was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School [2] and is Jewish. [3]

Television and film

Popper began his career in British television working for The Comic Strip under Peter Richardson. He then worked on the Channel 4 show, The Big Breakfast , writing for comedy puppets, Zig and Zag. He also made his first appearance as a comedian on The Eleven O'Clock Show as character Simon Michael Simon. Later, he was employed as a Commissioning Editor for Entertainment and Comedy at Channel 4.

His commissioning credits include the series Bo' Selecta! , Black Books , Spaced and Bremner, Bird and Fortune . He also commissioned three series of the Comedy Lab whilst at the channel. He left the role to work on the first series of Look Around You (2002) with Peter Serafinowicz. Look Around You was a spoof educational science comedy which ran on BBC2. It was written and produced by Popper (who featured onscreen in one episode as "Jack Morgan" also performing the rock song "Little Mouse") and Serafinowicz (who appeared more frequently). The pair also wrote and played all the music in the series. Look Around You was nominated for a BAFTA and a British Comedy Award. In 2003, Popper co-wrote the short film Hello Friend with Graham Linehan.

In 2005, Popper returned to the screen with a second series of Look Around You , again co-written by himself and Peter Serafinowicz. Made up of six half-hour shows, Look Around You 2 resembled an early-80s Tomorrow's World . Popper appeared in all six episodes as Jack Morgan. Besides Popper and Serafinowicz, the series featured Josie D'Arby and Olivia Colman as presenters. Look Around You 2 won the Rose D'Or TV Award in 2006 for Best Comedy Series. Popper was a programme consultant and co-writer for the TV sketch comedy The Peter Serafinowicz Show (2007), in which he also made several brief on-screen appearances.

Popper was the producer for the third and fourth series of Channel 4's Peep Show . [4]

Both series won the British Comedy Award for Best Comedy, and Popper won a BAFTA for series 4. Popper was the script editor on all three series of The Inbetweeners. [5] He was also script editor on Graham Linehan's The IT Crowd and the BBC3 comedy Him & Her .

In 2009 Popper and Serafinowicz wrote, produced and performed in a 30-minute podcast entitled The Other Side . The comedy purported to be a radio show coming from the only radio station ("Radio Spiritworld") to broadcast from the afterlife. Robert and Peter also created the online world religion, "Tarvuism", making a variety of shorts. The pair created a number of web videos on YouTube showcasing their surreal humour, including "Birds of Britain", "Markets of Britain" and "Intermission".[ citation needed ]

Popper also wrote on the fourteenth series of South Park ; he was signed up by creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker following a week long brainstorming session, and worked on the final four episodes of first half-season. [6]

Popper created, wrote and produced six series of the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner . Series 1 aired from February to April in 2011 and won the Rose D'or Award for Best Sitcom. It also received two BAFTA nominations and four British Comedy Award nominations. It is unknown whether the sitcom is still in production.

Popper also co-wrote the first 3 episodes of Stath Lets Flats with Jamie Demetriou in 2018.

Popper had a small, uncredited role in Edgar Wright's 2004 film Shaun of the Dead , in which he played a news reporter, and also appeared in the Wright's next film, Hot Fuzz (2007), credited as "Not Janine". [7] He reprised his Look Around You character, Jack Morgan, for an appearance in the music video for Frankie & The Heartstrings' 2011 single "Hunger".[ citation needed ]

Books

Robert Popper wrote the books The Timewaster Letters and Return of the Timewaster Letters under the pseudonym Robin Cooper. The books were a set of madcap letters he wrote to weird associations and hobby groups. The books became bestsellers and have so far sold over 300,000 copies. The third "Robin Cooper" book, The Timewaster Diaries, was published in 2007, was serialised on Radio 4's Book of the Week programme 16–20 July 2007, read by Paul Whitehouse. [8] The Timewaster Letters was released in the US in the summer of 2008 and there are a number of Robin Cooper Timewaster Phone Calls released on the web and Popper's website.

Tangerinegate

Popper was responsible for a minor hoax regarding Gordon Brown in February 2010 known as "Tangerinegate". [9] Popper, who often makes prank phone calls, rang up London radio station LBC claiming he had seen Brown throw a tangerine into a laminating machine during a fit of rage, breaking the machine. [10] This hoax was reported as a true event in The Daily Telegraph [11] as well as being referenced (as 'alleged') on comedy news show The Bubble . The Financial Times (FT) website published a blog post, stating its belief that the story was a hoax. [12] The FT also reported on the emergence of a computer animated version of the events from Hong Kong. [13] Similar stories regarding Gordon Brown having temper tantrums were widely published in the British media during February 2010, following publicity about Andrew Rawnsley's book The End of the Party . [14]

The Financial Times later issued a follow-up post acknowledging the hoax. [15]

Awards

Friday Night Dinner (Series 1)
Writer/Producer
Winner: Best Sitcom, Rose d'Or Awards 2012
Winner: Best Format, MIPCOM, 2012
Winner: Best Sitcom, Montreux Comedy Festival, 2011
Winner: RTS Craft Award, Best Editing, Sitcom 2011
Nominated: BAFTA, Best Sitcom
Nominated British Comedy Awards, Best Sitcom 2011
Nominated British Comedy Awards, Best New Comedy 2011
Nominated Best Writer, Comedy, RTS Awards 2011
Nominated Best Comedy, Broadcast Awards 2012
Nominated, Best Comedy, Televisual Awards, 2011
Nominated Best New Programme, Broadcast Awards 2012

Praise Tarvu
Short Film co/written/produced with Peter Serafinowicz
Winner: Best Comedy, Campfire Film Festival, Australia, 2009

Peep Show (Series 4)
Producer
Winner: BAFTA, Best Sitcom, 2008
Winner British Comedy Award, Best Comedy Series, 2007
Winner of the Monte Carlo International TV Festival, Best Comedy
Winner, Best Comedy Performance, RTS Awards, 2008
Nominated RTS Awards, Best Sit Com, 2008

Peep Show (Series 3)
Producer
Winner: British Comedy Awards, Best Comedy Series, 2006
Nominated: BAFTA, Situation Comedy 2006
Winner: South Bank Awards for Best Comedy, 2006
Nominated for a Broadcast Award, Best Comedy, 2006

Look Around You (Series 2)
Co-Writer, Co-Star, Co-Producer, Co-Composer (with Peter Serafinowicz)
Winner: Best Comedy, Rose D’Or Awards, 2006
Winner: Arena Magazine Awards for Best Comedy Show 2005
DVD: Nominated for a DVDA award, Best Comedy DVD, 2006

Look Around You (Series 1)
Co-Writer, Co-Star, Co-Producer, Co-Composer (with Peter Serafinowicz)
Nominated: BAFTA, Best Comedy Series, 2003
Nominated: British Comedy Award, Best New Comedy, 2003
Winner: Amazon.co.uk’s UK Comedy DVD of the year, 2003

Look Around You: Calcium
Co-Writer, Co-Producer, Co-Composer with Peter Serafinowicz, 20-minute comedy short film, 2001
Winner: London Portobello Film Festival (Springfest)
Special Mentions: Milan, Leeds, and Bradford Film Festivals
Finalist: London Greenwich Film Festival

Related Research Articles

Jennifer Saunders English comedienne, screenwriter, actress and teacher

Jennifer Jane Saunders is an English comedian, screenwriter, singer and actress. Saunders originally found attention in the 1980s when she became a member of The Comic Strip after graduating from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with her best friend and comedy partner, Dawn French. With French, she co-wrote and starred in their eponymous sketch show, French and Saunders, for which they jointly received a BAFTA Fellowship in 2009. Saunders received acclaim in the 1990s for writing and playing her character Edina Monsoon in her sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.

<i>Look Around You</i>

Look Around You is a British television comedy series devised and written by Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz, and narrated in the first series by Nigel Lambert. The first series of eight 10-minute shorts was shown in 2002, and the second series of six 30-minute episodes in 2005, both on BBC Two. The first series of Look Around You was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2003.

Peter Serafinowicz British actor

Peter Szymon Serafinowicz is an English actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter. He is best known for his role as Pete in Shaun of the Dead (2004) and as the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). He has also appeared in many British and American comedy series. He starred as the title character in the 2016 live-action series of The Tick and has received attention for political satire videos in which he voices different versions of Donald Trump, including Cockney, sassy, and posh. He has also directed music videos for acts such as Hot Chip and Kitchen Gun.

Daran Little is a BAFTA Award-winning and EMMY nominated British television writer. He is the only writer to pen more than a hundred episodes of both Coronation Street and - EastEnders. He currently lives in LA where he is developing his own dramas and reality shows.

Chris Lang

Chris Lang is a British television writer, actor, producer and musician. Lang has written for many British television series but is best known as the writer, creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Unforgotten.

Peter Capaldi Scottish actor, director and writer

Peter Dougan Capaldi is a Scottish actor, director, singer and writer. He portrayed the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who (2013–2017) and Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It (2005–2012), for which he has received four British Academy Television Award nominations, winning Best Male Comedy Performance in 2010. When he reprised the role of Tucker in the feature film In the Loop, Capaldi was honoured with several film critic award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

Chris Shepherd

Chris Shepherd is a double BAFTA nominated television/film writer and director. Born in Anfield, Liverpool, Lancashire, in 1967. He is mainly known for combining live action with animation. His work fuses comedy with commentary on the darker side of human nature.

Matt King is an English actor, DJ and comedian. He is best known for his role as Super Hans in the British sitcom Peep Show.

Sharon Horgan Irish actress, writer, comedian

Sharon Lorencia Horgan is an Irish actress, writer, comedian and producer. She is best known for the comedy series Pulling (2006–2009) and Catastrophe (2015–2019), both of which she starred in and co-wrote. She also created the HBO comedy series Divorce (2016–2019).

Justin Matthew Edwards is a British actor and writer.

Joanna Scanlan is a Welsh actress and screenwriter. She is known for her roles in British television series such as The Thick of It (2005–2012), Getting On (2009–2012), Puppy Love (2014), and No Offence (2015–2018). She was nominated for three BAFTA TV Awards for Getting On, including two for Best Writing. Her film appearances include Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003), Notes on a Scandal (2006), The Invisible Woman (2013), and Bridget Jones's Baby (2016).

<i>The Peter Serafinowicz Show</i>

The Peter Serafinowicz Show was a BBC Two comedy sketch show written by and starring Peter Serafinowicz. Its debut was on 4 October 2007 at 21:30 as part of the newly launched "Thursdays Are Funny" brand on BBC2 and Thursdays on ABC2. On 1 August 2008, American cable network G4 began broadcasting the show as part of their "Duty Free TV" block of international programming. The BBC decided not to produce a second series. A Christmas Special was aired on 23 December 2008. Sketches from the special have been released online and include Mactini and iToilet.

Tim Kirkby

Timothy John Kirkby is an English film, television, and commercials director working in both the United Kingdom and the United States. He directed both spoof science parody series Look Around You, the BAFTA winning BBC 2 show Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle, and set up the multi-award winning Fleabag.

Geoffrey Harold Posner is a British television producer and director. Posner has directed and produced some of Britain's most successful comedy shows since the early 1980s.

Nick Foster is a multiple BAFTA-winning British composer and music producer based in London. He is best-known for his work as a composer for television, commercials and film.

Belinda Stewart-Wilson is an English actress best known for her role as Polly McKenzie in The Inbetweeners.

<i>Getting On</i> (British TV series) British comedy television series

Getting On is a satirical British sitcom based on a geriatric ward in an NHS hospital. It is written by its core cast, Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, and Joanna Scanlan. Series 1 and 2 were directed by Peter Capaldi, who also appears as Dr. Healy. It first aired in July 2009, for three episodes. The second series of six episodes aired in 2010, with the third series airing in late 2012. Despite strong critical acclaim, the show was not recommissioned for a fourth series. It was shot in the closed Plaistow Hospital.

Daniel Lawrence Taylor is a British actor and comedy writer. He appeared in several sitcoms including Uncle, How Not to Live Your Life, and Hunderby. He starred in ITV2's 2015 comedy Cockroaches and had a small role in The Inbetweeners. He is one half of the comedy duo Ginger & Black. Taylor created, wrote and starred in the ITV2 sitcom Timewasters. The first series of Timewasters aired in 2017 and the second series aired in spring 2019. Series 1 was nominated for a BAFTA in 2018 for Best Scripted Comedy. In 2018, Taylor was named as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit.

Objective Media Group

Objective Media Group (OMG), previously known as Objective Productions, is a media company that produces shows in comedy, comedy drama, entertainment, factual entertainment and Magic. It has produced shows including The Cube, Breaking Magic, The Real Hustle, Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and Toast of London. The company has offices in Glasgow, Scotland and Los Angeles, California.

Two Brothers Pictures is a London-based British television production company founded in 2014 by brothers, Harry Williams and Jack Williams. Harry and Jack launched the company with the BBC One seriesThe Missing. The show was nominated for 2 Golden Globe Awards, 4 BAFTAs and 2 Emmys as well as winning two Nymph d'Ors, Bulldog and BPG awards. The Missing returned in 2016 for a second series airing on BBC One and Starz.

References

  1. "Friday Night Dinner – Interview with Robert Popper". Channel 4. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. Reynolds, Charlie (28 November 2020). "The Herts school where Borat actor and Matt Lucas were pupils". HertsLive. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  3. Jones, Ralph (12 March 2020). "'Friday Night Dinner': "We're ready to say goodbye to these characters"". NME. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  4. "Peep Show". Robertpopper.com. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  5. "The Inbetweeners". Robertpopper.com. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  6. "Popper joins South Park". Chortle.co.uk. 28 March 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  7. "About". Robertpopper.com. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  8. "The Timewaster Diaries (Audiobook)". Robertpopper.com. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  9. "BBC - BBC Comedy Blog: Tangerinegate... by Robert Popper". www.bbc.co.uk.
  10. Robert Popper. "'Tangerinegate'". Robertpopper.com. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  11. Archived 26 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. "Did Gordon throw a fruit into a machine during factory visit? | Westminster blog | Jim Pickard and Alex Barker share their views on the UK's political scene for the Financial Times – FT.com". Blogs.ft.com. 22 February 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  13. "Gordon the fighting puppet returns armed with tangerines | Westminster blog | Jim Pickard and Alex Barker share their views on the UK's political scene for the Financial Times – FT.com". Blogs.ft.com. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  14. http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780670918515,00.html?strSrchSql=Andrew+Rawnsley*/The_End_of_the_Party_Andrew_Rawnsley
  15. "The Tangerinegate hoax | Westminster blog | Jim Pickard and Alex Barker share their views on the UK's political scene for the Financial Times – FT.com". Blogs.ft.com. 27 February 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011.