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John Sparkes (born 9 January 1954) is a Welsh comedian, actor and voice artist, who is best known for his character Barry Welsh, presenter of the award-winning (Best Light Entertainment, Welsh Baftas, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004) series Barry Welsh is Coming. He also had major roles in Naked Video, Absolutely, Pub Quiz, and Jeff Global's Global Probe, and is the narrator of children's TV show Peppa Pig.
|Born||9 January 1954|
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film|
|Genres||Sketch comedy, improvisational comedy, character comedy|
|Notable works and roles||Barry Welsh is Coming|
Sparkes was born 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 Alexi Sayle, Jo Brand, Paul Merton and Rick Mayall.
Naked Video and AbsolutelyEdit
Sparkes starred in the sketch show Naked Video, where he played Siadwel, the geeky 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. 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.
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 ITV 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.
Throughout its original run, the series also won four BAFTA Cymru awards for Best Light Entertainment.
He 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. He also voices Professor von Proton in The Big Knights, Steven in A Town Called Panic, and Fireman Sam in the 2005 series.
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.
|2003||Calendar Girls||Welsh Photographer|
|2015||Shaun the Sheep Movie||The Farmer, Bitzer||Voice role|
|2015||Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots||Narrator||Voice role|
|2017||Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience||Narrator||Voice role|
|2019||A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon||The Farmer, Bitzer||Voice role|
|1986||Naked Video||Siadwel||6 episodes|
|1988||Cabaret at Jongleurs||1 episode|
|1989–1993||Absolutely||Various characters||28 episodes|
|1992||Angry George Irons||Voice role|
|1992||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|
|2000||The Strangerers||Bilbo||2 episodes|
|2001–2005||Pub Quiz||Frank Hovis|
|2002||A Town Called Picnic||Voice role|
|2004||Jeff Global's Global Probe||Various roles|
|2004–present||Peppa Pig||Narrator, Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Potato, Uncle Pig||Voice role|
|2005||Fireman Sam||Samuel 'Sam' Peyton Jones, Elvis Cridlington, Station Officer Steele, Norman Price, various characters||Voice role|
|2005||Not Tonight with John Sergeant||Barry Welsh||TV movie|
|2007–present||Shaun the Sheep||The Farmer, Bitzer||Voice role|
|2009||Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom||Mister Elf, King Marigold, Zoe Baker||Voice role|
|2015||Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer's Llamas||The Farmer, Bitzer, Hector||Voice role; TV special|
- "Interview: Swansea-born comedian John Sparkes on the return of Siadwel". southwales-eveningpost.co.uk. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "UK Satellite News". skyinmadrid.com. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Mainwaring, Rachel (25 June 2011). "John Sparkes: Bringing home the bacon". Wales Online.
- 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 (UK).
- 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.