Sean Hughes (comedian)
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Sean Hughes Comedian
Sean Hughes
Born John Hughes
10 November 1965
Archway, London, England
Died 16 October 2017(2017-10-16) (aged 51)
Archway, London, England
Occupation Comedian, writer, actor

Sean Hughes (10 November 1965 - 16 October 2017) was an English-Irish stand-up comedian, writer and actor. He starred in his own Channel 4 television show Sean's Show and was one of the regular team captains on the BBC Two musical panel game Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Early life

Hughes was born in Archway, London, but spent most of his youth in Firhouse, Dublin. His mother, who was from Cork met his father, who was from Dublin, on a London bus. His mother intended to train as a nurse but the plan never materialised. His father worked in a telephone exchange and was also a driving instructor. At the age of six Hughes moved to Dublin and lived with his paternal grandmother.[1] He attended Coláiste Éanna in Ballyroan.

Writing in The Guardian, Bruce Dessau noted of Hughes's early years that:

[He] used to talk about how sounding like a Cockney in an Irish school was not easy. He later quipped that he spent "most of my childhood in a headlock". Not surprisingly his Mary Poppins accent soon developed a lilting local burr. Making schoolfriends laugh was a classic defence mechanism and he even set up comedy gigs at his school. What started out as a hobby quickly became a career.[2]


In 1987 he began appearing at the Comedy Store. In 1990, aged 24, he became the youngest winner of the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award for his show, A One-Night Stand with Sean Hughes.[3]

He marked his 30th birthday with the Sean Hughes Is Thirty Somehow tour, which was broadcast on Channel 4, in 1995. Hughes returned to stand-up, touring the UK and Australia in 2007 with his show, The Right Side of Wrong.[4]

As well as comedy, he wrote collections of prose and poetry and worked on a number of films. He also presented weekend radio shows on the BBC's London radio station BBC GLR, and in 2002 joined BBC 6 Music, presenting the Sunday morning programme. He left the station a year after its launch, proclaiming it had turned into everything he had wanted it to be. He also wrote two novels, The Detainees (1998) and It's What He Would Have Wanted (2000).[5]

It was reported that Hughes was a close friend of the late American comedian Bill Hicks, but Hughes stated it was untrue and that he knew Hicks only slightly.[6]

Hughes wrote the foreword to Cynthia True's biography, American Scream. The Bill Hicks Story. Hughes wrote about Hicks, "being a genius is a heavy burden and he's the only one I'm ever likely to meet. I still miss you Bill."[7]

Film and Television Drama

Hughes had a small role in the film The Commitments (1991), playing a record producer.[8][9]

In 1992, he had his own TV show, Sean's Show, ostensibly set in his own home. It received a nomination for the 1992 British Comedy Award for Best Channel 4 Sitcom.[10][11] Series one of Sean's Show has been released on DVD. Later, he recorded a series of brief programmes called Sean's Shorts, in which he toured England, visiting many of the country's towns and cities, visiting local places of interest and meeting local people.[12] He appeared in the film Snakes and Ladders shot in Dublin, and released in 1996.[13]

From 1996 to 2002, he was a team captain on the BBC 2 comedy quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, alongside Phill Jupitus and Mark Lamarr.[14] He can be seen during Terrorvision's music video for their single "Tequila" from 1999 [15] and in the video for The Cure's 1996 single, "The 13th".[16] He appeared in the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe.[17]

In ITV's series The Last Detective, featuring "Dangerous" Davies, Hughes played his friend, the perpetually unemployed and well-read "Mod Lewis" (he spends all his time at the library to save on heating).[18] He played Eileen Grimshaw's love interest Pat in the British soap Coronation Street.[19]

In 2000, Hughes voiced the part of Finbar the clockwork Shark, one of seven plastic bath toys which come to life whenever no-one is watching in the children's television series Rubbadubbers, shown on CBeebies in the United Kingdom for pre-school children.[20]

He played Sergeant Lake in the ITV Agatha Christie's Marple production of They Do It with Mirrors, which was broadcast on 1 January 2010.[21]

Hughes played Brendan in the film version of Tony Hawks' book, Round Ireland with a Fridge (2010).[22] He also played the lead in the film adaptation of Spike Milligan's comic novel, Puckoon.[23] Hughes also voiced Tapir in the three Robbie the Reindeer films.[24]

He appeared in Casualty in 2015.[25]

Stage and online

In November 2013, Hughes started a podcast called "Under The Radar with DogsInTheField Productions"/Acast.[26]

Hughes took over the role of Stationmaster Mr Perks in the musical The Railway Children at King's Cross Theatre in March 2015.[27]


Hughes died on 16 October 2017 after reportedly being treated for cirrhosis of the liver, aged 51.[28][29][30] Hughes wrote a poem titled "Death" in Sean's Book, in which he detailed how he wanted his funeral to be lively and exciting. Several news outlets reprinted it after his death.[31][32]

Hughes' life was remembered on BBC Radio 4's obituary programme Last Word on 20 October 2017.[33]



  • Mumbo Jumbo [34]
  • Penguins [35]
  • Life Becomes Noises [11]
  • Ducks and Other Mistakes I've Made [36]
  • What I Meant to Say Was... [37]
  • The Right Side of Wrong [38]
  • Live... And Seriously Funny [39]
  • A One Night Stand with Sean Hughes [40]



  1. ^ Spencer, Interview by Nikki (24 April 2015). "Sean Hughes: My family values". Retrieved 2017 - via 
  2. ^ Dessau, Bruce (16 October 2017). "Sean Hughes obituary". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2017. 
  3. ^ "sean hughes - a one night stand". Retrieved 2017. 
  4. ^ "Mick Perrin for Just for Laughs Live in Association with PBJ Management and Gilded Balloon Productions presents Sean Hughes: The Right Side of Wrong" (PDF). Gilded Balloon Teviot. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2008. Retrieved 2013. 
  5. ^ "Sean's novel take on life". BBC News. Retrieved 2017. 
  6. ^ Williams, Ben (25 March 2014). "Stand-up countdown Sean Hughes". Time Out. London. It says on my resource page that I was good friends with him. I wasn't! We were in Australia together, so we hung out. I did get to know him a little bit, which was a real pleasure. When I saw him I just went, "That's the best comic I'm going to see in my lifetime." 
  7. ^ "American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story" Archived 3 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.,; retrieved 29 April 2008.
  8. ^ "THE COMMITMENTS | British Board of Film Classification". 17 March 2016. Retrieved 2017. 
  9. ^ "The Commitments Cast and Crew". Retrieved 2017. 
  10. ^ "Sean's Show". Retrieved 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Mullally, Una (25 January 2013). "Sean Hughes: 'Once I embraced my gene pool I found life much more bearable' | Pop Life". Retrieved 2017. 
  12. ^ "Comedian Sean Hughes comes to The Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead with his brand new show, Penguins". Watford Observer. Retrieved 2017. 
  13. ^ Levy, Emanuel (21 October 1996). "Snakes and Ladders". Variety. Retrieved 2017. 
  14. ^ "Sean Hughes quits Buzzcocks". BBC News. Retrieved 2017. 
  15. ^ "Never Mind the Buzzcocks episode showing Sean in Terrorvision video". Retrieved 2012. 
  16. ^ "Making Wild Mood Swings pay off". Music Fan Club. 22 April 1996. Retrieved 2017. 
  17. ^ "BBC News - Fringe's funniest joke prize awarded to Tim Vine". 23 August 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  18. ^ "DVD reviews: 'George Gently' and 'The Last Detective', British mysteries never broadcast in the U.S." LA Times Blogs - Show Tracker. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 2017. 
  19. ^ "Sean Hughes joins Corrie cast",, 16 May 2007.
  20. ^ "RUBBADUBBERS - SCARY FINBAR". Retrieved 2017. 
  21. ^ "Agatha Christie Marple They Do It With Mirrors - ITV Press Centre". Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 2010. 
  22. ^ "Round Ireland with a Fridge - BBC Four". BBC. Retrieved 2017. 
  23. ^ "Spike Milligan's Puckoon: Cast". Retrieved 2017. 
  24. ^ "Robbie The Reindeer in Legend Of The Lost Tribe Press Pack" (PDF). BBC Press Office. BBC. Christmas 2002. p. 3. Retrieved 2017. 
  25. ^ "Home for Christmas, Series 30, Casualty - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 2017. 
  26. ^ "iTunes". Retrieved 2017. 
  27. ^ Mitford, Oliver (23 February 2015). "Comedian Sean Hughes joins The Railway Children". London Box Office. London, UK. 
  28. ^ "Comedian Sean Hughes dies aged 51". BBC News. 11 October 2017. 
  29. ^ "Sean Hughes: Liver cirrhosis kills Irish stand-up comedian aged 51". Retrieved 2017. 
  30. ^ Grierson, Jamie; Wiegand, Chris (16 October 2017). "Sean Hughes: comedian dies aged 51". Retrieved 2017. 
  31. ^ "Sean Hughes imagines his death: 'I know how boring funerals can be'". 17 October 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  32. ^ "What Sean Hughes wanted to happen after his death". BBC News. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  33. ^ Presenter: Matthew Bannister; Interviewed guests: Rhona Cameron, Bruce Dessau (20 October 2017). "Sean Hughes, Sir Brian Barder, David Marks, Major Khush Ahmad-ul-Mulk, Marge Calhoun". Last Word. 0:45 minutes in. BBC. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2017. 
  34. ^ Enfield, Laura. "How to annoy Sean Hughes". Watford Observer. Retrieved 2017. 
  35. ^ "Sean Hughes - Penguins". Retrieved 2017. 
  36. ^ Solon, Laura (8 August 2010). "Laura Solon: My Edinburgh". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017. 
  37. ^ Laing, Jemima (16 December 2009). "City is having a laugh". BBC Devon. Retrieved 2017. 
  38. ^ "Archive for Sean Hughes - The Right Side of Wrong at Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth. 2007. [COMEDY]". UK Theatre Web. Retrieved 2017. 
  39. ^ "Sean Hughes » Riverside Parramatta". Retrieved 2017. 
  40. ^ "Sean Hughes joins Railway Children". Retrieved 2017. 
  41. ^ "Sean Hughes Poetry and Stand-up". Retrieved 2017. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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