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Dave Spikey (born David Gordon Bramwell, 6 October 1951)[1] is an English comedian, actor, writer and film producer. He is best known for his stand-up comedy, writing and starring in the British comedy programme Phoenix Nights, presenting quiz shows such as Bullseye and Chain Letters and playing team captain in the first four series of 8 Out of 10 Cats.

Dave Spikey
Birth nameDavid Gordon Bramwell[1]
Born (1951-10-06) 6 October 1951 (age 68)
Farnworth, Lancashire, England[1]
MediumStand-up, television
Years active1990–present
GenresObservational comedy, blue comedy
SpouseKathleen Kenyon[2]
Notable works and rolesThat Peter Kay Thing (2000)
Phoenix Nights (2001–02)
Dead Man Weds (2005)


Early careerEdit

Born in Farnworth, Lancashire, Spikey spent his early career working as a biomedical scientist in the haematology laboratory at Bolton General Hospital. It was during this period in the 1980s that Spikey scripted and performed in a number of amateur pantomimes with a group of like-minded health workers called the Bolton Health Performers.[3]

Early in his career Spikey won a talent show called Stairway to the Stars with a routine about juggling on a motorbike, judged by comedian Larry Grayson who took him aside to tell him he had potential and his routine was fantastic. Spikey was inspired to pursue a part-time comedy career while working in Bolton General Hospital.[4]

In 1992, Spikey was asked to form a double act with Rick Sykes, purely as a 'one-off' to support a popular musical duo called 'Intaglio'.[5] Dave and Rick were known as Spikey and Sykey. The double act's most notable success came on Central TV's New Faces show.

In 1993, Spikey was voted "best up and coming comedian" by the Manchester Evening news.

In 1996, Spikey first met Peter Kay, with whom he would later collaborate, at the North-West Comedian of the Year Awards, which Kay won that year[6] and Spikey was compèring.[7]

He was the final host of UK gameshow Chain Letters in 1997, following on from Jeremy Beadle, Andrew O'Connor, Allan Stewart, Ted Robbins and Vince Henderson.


Spikey won the Best Newcomer award at the British Comedy Awards, and then co-wrote and starred in Phoenix Nights on Channel Four as Jerry St. Clair. In 2003, Spikey released his first DVD, The Overnight Success Tour. 2003 was also the year he won ‘Best Comedy Performance at Leicester Comedy Festival 2003’, an award he describes as “the weirdest trophy I’ve got on my shelf.”[8]

In late 2004, he wrote the ITV comedy-drama Dead Man Weds (2005), in which he also co-starred with Johnny Vegas. The drama follows the attempts of the new editor (Spikey) of the local newspaper, The Fogburrow Advertiser and News, to drum up excitement in the area to cover in his paper, to the disdain and disinterest of his lead (and only) reporter (Vegas). Nancy Banks-Smith described the drama as “endearing and cheerful.”[9]

In 2005, Spikey became one of the regular team captains on the comedy panel game, 8 Out of 10 Cats, leaving before the 2007 series. That year also saw the release of his second live DVD, Living the Dream.

In 2006, Spikey became the host of a revived version of the darts-based quiz show Bullseye. The show ran for two series on Challenge to generally unfavourable reviews, The Guardian calling it an “abhorrent reboot.”[10]

Spikey developed two new projects which were commissioned by the BBC, being Magnolia, a sitcom about painters and decorators, and Footballers Lives – a comedy about a pub football team, neither made it beyond pilots. He was also on the panel for talent show When Will I Be Famous?. Spikey returned to stand-up and live shows again and has regularly released DVDs of his shows. His chosen subject on Celebrity Mastermind in 2006 was human blood; he won.

In 2010 Spikey was voted into the Channel 4 100 Greatest Stand-Ups by the British public.[11]

In 2017 he appeared as a self-obsessed businessman, Mr Gruff, in British romantic comedy film Finding Fatimah.[12][13]

Spikey celebrated 30 years in stand up with a new retrospective, Juggling on a Motorbike which began touring in 2017. The title refers back to his very first live performances which began his career in comedy, a routine which he recreates at the end of his show. The show is largely autobiographical and follows his performances over the past 30 years of stand up.[8][14]

Other interestsEdit

Dave Spikey is patron of the non-profit radio station Chorley FM (not to be confused with the fictitious radio station made famous by That Peter Kay Thing and Phoenix Nights).[15]

Spikey's first book, He Took My Kidney, Then Broke My Heart, was published in October 2009 by Michael O'Mara Books. This was followed in 2010 by an autobiography, Under the Microscope: My Life from the same publisher.[16]

Spikey is a supporter of the League Against Cruel Sports and appeared in a short film for the group in 2013. He has been quoted: "It is shocking to think anyone would want to turn the clock back to a time when chasing animals to exhaustion and encouraging them to be ripped apart by a pack of dogs for sport was legal."[17] He describes himself as a “devout vegetarian and animal lover” as well as being the patron of Pet Rehome, a Bolton based animal rescue centre.[18]

Stand-up DVDsEdit

Title Released Notes
Overnight Success Tour – Live 17 November 2003 Live at Leeds City Varieties
Living the Dream – Live 7 November 2005 Live at Oldham Coliseum
The Best Medicine Tour – Live 9 November 2009 Live at Mansfield Palace Theatre


  1. ^ a b c GRO Birth Index: Oct/Nov/Dec 1951, Bramwell, David G., Farnworth 10c 142.
  2. ^ – Search for David Bramwell in Chorley, Lancashire; other residents Kathleen M. Bramwell and Kathleen M. Kenyon
  3. ^ Fulton, Rick. "Laughter helped to get me through in times of tragedy, says comic Dave Spikey". Daily Record. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  4. ^ Anson, John. "Comedy king Dave Spikey celebrates 30 years as a stand-up with show heading to King George's Hall, Blackburn". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  5. ^ The Intaglio Project Archived 15 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Interview: Dave Spikey". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  7. ^ Hogan, Michael. "Peter Kay: comedy grafter gets back in the driving seat". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b Jones, Becky. "Phoenix Nights comedian Dave Spikey speaks to us about Juggling on a Motorbike at Leicester Comedy Festival". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  9. ^ Banks-Smith, Nancy. "The village voice". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  10. ^ Dawson, Andy. "Late risers more likely to die early? Wake me up from this nightmare". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  11. ^ Bryson, Ann. "The 100 Greatest Stand-Ups". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Finding Fatimah official website". Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  13. ^ McLaughlin, Katherine. "Finding Fatimah". The List. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  14. ^ Anson, John. "Comedy king Dave Spikey celebrates 30 years as a stand-up with show heading to King George's Hall, Blackburn". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  15. ^ Day, Julia. "Laughter stops at Chorley FM". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Author Dave Spikey". Goodreads. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  17. ^ Owen, Jonathan (25 December 2013). "Eight out of ten want to keep fox hunting ban". The Independent. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  18. ^ "Homepage". Pet Rehome. Retrieved 17 December 2017.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Jim Bowen
Host of Bullseye
Succeeded by
Series ended
Preceded by
Vince Henderson
Host of Chain Letters
Succeeded by
Series ended