Noel Fielding’s left-field appointment as Great British Bake Off presenter took us all by surprise when news broke earlier this year. The bloke off The Mighty Boosh and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, with the long hair and the outlandish outfits? Disastrous casting – or genius idea?
Sure, even if you hustled him into a colourful blouse and blazer combo and made him recite double entendres about “hot baps” and “dough balls”, Fielding could never pass for Mel and Sue. He probably wouldn’t want to. Most likely he’ll be like marmite: viewers will either love him or hate him.
But before we make up our minds – here’s what Bake Off fans need to know about the man himself.
This multi-talented comedian, writer, artist and musician is instantly recognisable from his preferred hairstyle (long, feathery hair with a fringe) and experimental approach to fashion, which includes metallic boots and jumpsuits and pirate patches and silly hats and dresses and loud prints.
He is best known for his role in The Mighty Boosh, which he co-wrote and starred in alongside comedy partner Julian Barratt. The show became a cult comedy hit, with fans enjoying the bizarre characters (Fielding as hermaphrodite merman Old Gregg and cockney murderer The Hitcher with a polo mint for an eye) and off-the-wall songs (“Eels up inside ya/Finding an entrance where they can”).
Other comedy fans will know him for his time on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, where he was a permanent team captain.
Noel Fielding and The Mighty Boosh
Born in 1973, Fielding regularly performed stand-up comedy during the nineties. He also had the chance to appear on TV in Lee Mack’s stand-up showcase, Gas. Those early routines included plenty of surreal stories, physical comedy, songs and unusual characters – the beginnings of The Mighty Boosh.
While he was performing a gig, Fielding met the comedian and actor Julian Barratt and the two kicked off their comedy partnership. They began performing together, including in Stewart Lee’s Edinburgh Festival show King Dong vs Moby Dick where they played a giant penis and a whale.
This developed into a comedy troupe, The Mighty Boosh, featuring the comedians Michael Fielding (Naboo the Enigma), Dave Brown (Bollo) and Rich Fulcher (Bob Fossil). Their first stage show was in 1998 and in 2001 they scored a six-episode radio series on BBC Radio 4.
Finally the Mighty Boosh ended up in its most famous form: the 2003-2007 BBC comedy series. The first season was set in a surreal zoo, with Fielding as childlike eccentric zookeeper Vince Noir and Barratt as his uptight colleague Howard Moon.
Noel Fielding’s TV career
While his casting in the Bake Off is a surprise, Fielding has a very long history in Channel 4’s back catalogue of off-beat comedy programmes. In The IT Crowd he played Richmond, the gloomy IT technician and goth who lived in the server room. He also made appearances in Nathan Barley and AD/BC: A Rock Opera. His own 2012 solo show on Channel 4 was called Luxury Comedy.
In 2007 Fielding appeared on BBC2’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and two years later he was made a regular team captain. He added more quiz and panel shows to his CV with QI, Taskmaster, and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year.
While he has rarely hosted a show, he did front Comic Relief does Top of the Pops with Reggie Yates and Fearne Cotton in 2009.
What has Noel Fielding been doing since The Mighty Boosh?
Aside from starring in Never Mind the Buzzcocks until 2014, he’s dabbled in a bit of everything.
Amongst other things, Fielding has starred in Kasabian’s music video for Vlad the Impaler; shown a video installation called The Jelly Fox at the Saatchi Gallery; DJed at The Barfly in London, and created his Luxury Comedy show on E4.
From the look of his Twitter account, it seems he’s also been painting quite a lot. Even his paintings are in character…
Have Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding worked together before?
As we all know, Sandi Toksvig began hosting QI in October 2016, and Noel Fielding did take part in an episode of the panel show back in January alongside Alan Davies, Sarah Millican and Colin Lane, as well as making an appearance on QI last December.