John Sparkes (born 6 January 1954) is a Welsh actor and comedian. He portrayed Barry Welsh, presenter of the HTV Wales series Barry Welsh Is Coming. He also had major roles in Naked Video, Absolutely, Fireman Sam, Shaun the Sheep, and Jeff Global's Global Probe, and is the narrator of the children's TV show Peppa Pig.
|Born||6 January 1954|
|Medium||Film, stand-up, television|
|Genres||Sketch comedy, improvisational comedy, character comedy|
|Notable works and roles||Barry Welsh Is Coming|
Shaun the Sheep
Sparkes was born on 6 January 1954 in Swansea, Wales. He began his working life at Lloyds Bank in Mumbles. After a time as an English teacher, in the 1980s, he turned to comedy and moved to London, becoming an established performer in the first years of London's alternative cabaret circuit alongside Alexei Sayle, Jo Brand, Paul Merton, and Rik Mayall.
TV comedy careerEdit
Naked Video and AbsolutelyEdit
Sparkes starred in the sketch show Naked Video, where he played Siadwel, the geeky South Wales poet who wore an anorak and glasses. The character also appeared when Sparkes was part of the BBC Radio 4 comedy programme Bodgers, Banks & Sparkes.
He was one of the team behind the Channel 4 sketch show Absolutely, which ran for four years between 1989 and 1993. Following an award-winning radio special, a new series for BBC Radio 4 was commissioned for broadcast in September 2015.
Barry Welsh Is Coming was a long-running comedy series for HTV Wales. As well as playing Barry Welsh, the hapless host of a chat show, Sparkes also plays other characters within the programme, such as pub singer Gwyn, old Mr. Ffff and Fishguard news reporter Hugh Pugh. Although the series ended in 2004, it returned in 2007 for a series of one-off specials.
Sparkes provides the voice of the narrator and some other characters in the children's animated series Peppa Pig, in which the voice of fellow Absolutely star Morwenna Banks is also featured. In Shaun the Sheep he voices Bitzer the Dog and the Farmer. He also voices Mr. Elf and King Marigold in Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, Professor von Proton in The Big Knights, Steven in A Town Called Panic, and the lead character Fireman Sam in the 2005 series.
After killing off Siadwel in Naked Video, Sparkes revived the character in 2014 for a new series of radio shows for BBC Radio Wales, which was recommissioned a year later.
Sparkes has written and presented three ongoing television series of Great Pubs of Wales for ITV Wales. He has voiced the unseen character of archivist Goronwy, in a section of Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention for BBC One and has written and presented Ghost Story, in which he spent the night alone with a camcorder in haunted houses around Wales. He has also co-written and presented Doug Strong's Special Places, a factual comedy series for ITV Wales and ITV Central.
|1989||Melancholia||Roger Dere||British-German film by Andi Engel, starring Jeroen Krabbé|
|2003||Calendar Girls||Welsh Photographer|
|2015||Shaun the Sheep Movie||The Farmer, Bitzer||Voice role|
|Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots||Narrator|
|2017||Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience|
|2019||A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon||The Farmer, Bitzer|
|1986||Naked Video||Siadwel||6 episodes|
|1988||Cabaret at Jongleurs||Unknown role||1 episode|
|1989–1993||Absolutely||Various characters||28 episodes|
|1992||Angry George Irons||Unknown role (voice)||1 episode|
|Saturday Zoo||Glaswegian Matron||1 episode|
|1994–1995||The All New Alexei Sayle Show||Various characters||8 episodes|
|1996–2004||Barry Welsh Is Coming||Barry Welsh, Hugh Pugh, various characters|
|1998||Comedy Nation||Various roles|
|1999-2000||The Big Knights||Various roles|
|2000||The Strangerers||Bilbo||2 episodes|
|2001–2005||Pub Quiz||Frank Hovis|
|2002||A Town Called Picnic||Unknown role (voice)||1 episode|
|2004||Jeff Global's Global Probe||Various roles|
|2004–present||Peppa Pig||Narrator, Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Potato, Uncle Pig, Mr. Pony (voices)|
|2005||Fireman Sam||Fireman Samuel "Sam" Jones, Fireman Elvis Cridlington, Station Officer Basil Steele, Norman Price, Dilys Price, Trevor Evans, Tom Thomas, Mike Flood, Dusty (voices)||26 episodes|
|Not Tonight with John Sergeant||Barry Welsh||TV movie|
|2007–present||Shaun the Sheep||The Farmer, Bitzer (voices)|
|2009–2012||Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom||Mister Elf, King Marigold, Zoe Baker (voices)||44 episodes|
|2015||Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer's Llamas||The Farmer, Bitzer, Hector (voices)||TV special|
|2006–2007||Fireman Sam: On Stage||Fireman Sam (voice), Elvis Cridlington (voice), Dilys Price (voice), Norman Price (voice), Tom Thomas (voice)|
- "The return of Siadwell: John Sparkes resurrects the character that launched his career". 30 November 2013.
- "UK Satellite News". skyinmadrid.com. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Mainwaring, Rachel (25 June 2011). "John Sparkes: Bringing home the bacon". Wales Online.
- "Rotten Tomatoes: Movies | TV Shows | Movie Trailers | Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes".
- Solutions, Powder Blue Internet Business. "John Sparkes, comedian : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Mainwaring, Rachel (12 June 2011). "Siodwell creator John Sparkes is Welsh voice of Peppa Pig". Wales Online.
- White, Jim (20 January 1993). "Absolutely fabulous. Not: Baikie, Banks, Docherty, Hunter, Kennedy & Sparkes. Who? The comics from Absolutely tell Jim White why they're basking in obscurity". The Independent.
- Absolutely back for a full series – sketch team's comeback gathers pace, Chortle.co.uk, 15 July 2015
- "Absolutely Presents John Sparkes and Pete Baikie". Chortle. 2005. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Return of the mac and Siadwel". southwales-eveningpost.co.uk. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "John Sparkes".