Greg Davies is, quite literally, a comedy giant.
The 6 ft 8 inch comedian, who first rose to prominence as the curmudgeonly head of sixth form Mr Gilbert in The Inbetweeners, will be taking to the stage as this year’s host of the Royal Variety Performance.
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Davies, who also fronts Dave’s Taskmaster and writes and stars in Channel 4 comedy Man Down, will be following in the footsteps of David Walliams, Michael McIntyre and Peter Kay as he fronts the Royal Variety Performance, watched by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
But will he stand head and shoulders over some of the Royal Variety’s previous hosts?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Greg Davies – the early years
Born on 14th May 1968 in Wales, Greg Davies grew up in Wem, Shropshire. Having studied English and Drama at Brunel University in London, Davies then moved into teaching – a profession he pursued for 13 years, teaching in Slough, Twickenham and at the Sandhurst School.
Naturally a wealth of comedy gold, his previous work as a teacher has informed his stand-up routines.
“I think people find this schoolteacher thing hilarious,” Davies explained in a 2011 interview. “I always get asked if I was actually any good.
“If you’re funny and working in education, I think the perception is that you’re either inspirational or awful. So which was I? I suppose that depends on who you talk to.
“I frequently meet ex-pupils who seem to think I didn’t totally ruin their educations, so thats something. And I met one last week who said, ‘You were a well good teacher, you didn’t make us do anything…’ which I’m sure would thrill the education authorities.”
What did Greg Davies star in before the Inbetweeners?
Having entered the fray of comedy in the early 2000s, Davies early TV appearances include a bit part in Steve Coogan’s 2007 comedy Saxondale and 2008 sketch show The Wall.
He also worked alongside his three-piece comedy sketch group We Are Klang, consisting of Steve Hall and Marek Larwood – the trio having performed together at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008.
Who did Greg Davies play in The Inbetweeners?
Arguably his breakout role, Davies returned to his teaching roots to play the unforgiving head of sixth form, Mr Gilbert in coming-of-age comedy The Inbetweeners.
He also starred in the two feature film spin-offs.
“The Inbetweeners has been superb,” he said in 2011. “We knew the scripts were funny but no-one predicted how many people would relate to it. It’s a very exciting thing to be a part of. It was a massively lucky break for me,”
Who did Greg Davies play in Cuckoo?
The BBC3 sitcom sees Davies play Ken Thompson, a straight-laced father who is left stunned when daughter Rachel (first played by Tamla Kari, before Esther Smith took the role) marries American hippie Dale’ Cuckoo’ Ashbrick – played by Andy Samberg.
Samberg, who had to leave after the first series due to scheduling conflicts, was replaced in the second series by Taylor Lautner – who moves in with Ken as he searches for his father.
While Lautner, then previously best known for his role as Jacob Black in Twilight, was a risky choice at the time as he was not considered a comic actor, Davies now says the pair have become incredibly close.
Speaking to the I News, he said, “We’re really good mates now and I think that’s weird. I regularly swap texts with Taylor while he’s over in his LA supermansion. I’ve not seen it, but he’s invited me to go and see him when I’m next over there and I will. We just have a great laugh.”
Who does Greg Davies play in Man Down?
Potentially in a case of art imitating life, Davies plays Daniel Davies – a fed-up teacher who recently broke up with his girlfriend.
The show starred Rik Mayall as Daniel’s dad – his role was meant to be expanded in the second series of the show, before Mayall passed away in 2014.
“Rik was a force of nature,” Davies told The Guardian. “His appetite was not blunted, and his enthusiasm and his ambition were huge.”
While a question mark was raised over Man Down’s future after Mayall’s death, the show was commissioned for another three series, the most recent of which aired on Channel 4 last year.
What’s Greg Davies’s role in Taskmaster?
The British comedy panel game show sees Davies, in the title role of Taskmaster, issuing a series of bizarre challenges to five comedians. He is assisted by Alex Horne in the role.
Arguably the crowning glory of Dave’s original programming, Taskmaster is now on its seventh series – and shows no signs of stopping.
“It’s a really great series. I think the tasks are as fresh as ever, and I think it’s funny,” Davies told Comedy.co.uk. “Taskmaster taps into a universal humour of people making a fool of themselves.”
Did you know Greg Davies starred in Doctor Who?
He starred as villainous King Hydroflax in the 2015 Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who, The Husbands of River Song’, alongside Alex Kingston and Peter Capaldi.
“To be the villain is the dream gig,” he told RadioTimes.com. “He’s quite a pantomime villain but he’s actually sort of a quite pathetic character too. Especially when you see what he actually looks like…”
What’s Greg Davies’s most recent comedy tour?
Returning to stand-up this year, Davies fronted a show called You Magnificent Beast – seeing him deliver more savage commentary and observation from his family life.
The show is available to watch on Netflix.