Rob Brydon is a Welsh actor, comedian and impressionist best known for his role as Keith Barret in the BBC comedy Marion and Geoff, Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive and The Keith Barret Show.
Brydon was born in Swansea, South Wales to a school teacher mother and car dealer father. He grew up in Baglan, Port Talbot and showed an early interest in showbusiness when he attended his comprehensive school’s youth theatre group.
He went on to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, but left without graduating at the age of 20 to join BBC Radio Wales.
He stayed at the station for six years, and worked as a DJ presenting youth magazine and music programmes before moving on to work as a comedy performer on BBC Radio Five Live.
In the early days of his career, Brydon was best known for his voice-over work, with his dulcet tones gracing TV ad campaigns for Renault, Tango, Pot Noodle and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes to name but four. He was also the voice of the lavatory cleaning product Toilet Duck.
He finally came to public prominence on TV alongside Nighty Night and Big Train alumnus Julia Davis. The pair scripted and starred in the black comedy Human Remains for the BBC in 2000, and then his profile was raised even further by his stellar performance as hapless cabbie Keith Barret in Marion and Geoff.
Rob’s a superb mimic, and in a 2006 episode of the BBC Radio 4 comedy panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, his uncannily accurate rendition of Tom Jones’ singing voice when belting out ‘Delilah’ earned him one of the longest rounds of applause in the show's history.
Brydon is a Swansea City Fan, although he admits to not being a great authority on football. His best mate is the club’s promotions manager and Rob is even an ambassador for the Swans’ youth and training development club, the 1912 Foundation.
In 2003, he was feted by the British Sunday newspaper The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy, and a year later in 2004, Brydon was voted 47th Sexiest Man in Wales by the Welsh newspaper the Western Mail.
He’s also picked up British Comedy Awards including Best Television Comedy Newcomer and Best Television Comedy Actor.
Brydon and fellow comedian Steve Coogan have appeared in a number of TV and film projects together, including the Michael Winterbottom flick 24 Hour Party People, the Tristram Shandy movie A Cock And Bull Story and the TV drama Cruise of the Gods, which also starred Little Britain star David Walliams - another close pal and the usher at Rob’s second wedding.
As well as appearing with comedians Mathew Horne and James Corden in both Gavin and Stacey and their eponymous sketch show, Rob’s also pals with old school comedy heroes.
He counts Two Ronnies legend Ronnie Corbett as a friend, and the diminutive funny man and his wife even made a trip to the Edinburgh Fridge Festival to see Brydon’s stand up show.
In 2008, Brydon got back in touch with his Welsh roots by making a BBC documentary called Rob Brydon’s Identity Crisis, which chronicled his mixed feelings about the land of his birth.