What has Richard Ayoade done since leaving Travel Man as series drops on Netflix
Richard Ayoade hosted Travel Man for nine series before stepping down from the Channel 4 show. Here's what the comedian and actor has been up to since leaving the travel documentary series
- 16:02, 10 Oct 2022
A new series of Travel Man will be available for us to binge on Netflix - but a familiar face who has been part of the show throughout will be missing in the latest instalment.
Comedian and actor Richard Ayoade , who hosted the travel show, stepped down after nine seasons back in July 2019.
He has been replaced by comedian Joe Lycett, who is set to host the 2022 series of the Channel 4 show. Lycett's first episode as host aired in December 2021.
Here's everything you need to know about what Richard Ayoade has been up to since leaving Travel Man.
What has Richard Ayoade done since leaving Travel Man?
Richard Ayoade left Travel Man back in 2019, and he hasn't been short of work since.
The 45-year-old presenter hosted the BAFTA awards for the first time back in May 2020, amid the pandemic, and returned as host of the awards in both 2021 and 2022 as well.
Ayoade previously wrote three comedic film–focused books: Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey (2014), The Grip of Film (2017), and Ayoade on Top (2019). He is currently writing two children books as well - The Book That No One Wanted to Read (2022), as well as a picture book called The Fairy Tale Fan Club.
When did Richard Ayoade start his career and what has he done?
Richard Ayoade began his career back in the 90s with several cult hits such as The Mighty Boosh.
He rose to further fame by playing Maurice Moss in The IT Crowd with Chris O’Dowd, starting in 2006.
Since then, Richard has also directed films and music videos for the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend.
He has even won a BAFTA for Best Male Comedy Performance for his IT Crowd role in 2014, years prior to taking over as host of the awards.
Besides his acting and directing gigs, he has also hosted several shows including the Big Fat Quiz Of The Year, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Gadget Man as well as the reboot of 90s game show The Crystal Maze.
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Richard Ayoade to Direct and Star in George Saunders Film Adaptation The Semplica Girl Diaries
By Jazz Monroe
Richard Ayoade will direct and star in a film adaptation of George Saunders’ story The Semplica Girl Diaries , Deadline reports. Ayoade, who rose to prominence on Britain’s indie sitcom circuit before making videos for the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend —and later directing the movies Submarine and The Double —will helm the production with co-star and producer Lydia Fox. Ben Stiller, Jesse Eisenberg, and Sally Hawkins are in early talks to feature, according to Deadline. Saunders himself adapated the story with Ayoade.
Saunders published The Semplica Girl Diaries in The New Yorker in 2012. It appeared in 2013’s Tenth of December: Stories , a collection that established the author as a household name. The New York Times Magazine published a story headlined, “ George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year ,” and his next book, the novel Lincoln in the Bardo , won the Booker Prize.
Not long earlier, Stiller had optioned and adapted Saunders’ story CivilWarLand in Bad Decline , but the film never came to be. Eisenberg is also a noted Saunders fan (as well as a New Yorker contributor ). The most recent Saunders film adaptation, Spiderhead , starred Chris Hemsworth and was not critically lauded .
Ayoade’s full résumé includes videos for Arctic Monkeys’ “Fluorescent Adolescent,” “Crying Lightning,” and “Cornerstone” (as well as their Live at the Apollo concert film); Vampire Weekend’s “Oxford Comma” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”; and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.” He and Lydia Fox last worked together on Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir films. Ayoade is set to star in Wes Anderson’s forthcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar .
A synopsis for the Semplica Girl Diaries adaptation, via Deadline, reads: “Family man Lloyd Turner (Ayoade) is facing up to his 40th birthday with the prospect of a new decade mouldering in debt and mediocrity. After attending yet another party hosted by the rich parents of his daughter’s friend, and in a bid to give his daughters the happiness he thinks they deserve, Lloyd and his wife Sarah (Fox) makes the financially crippling decision to invest in what has become the elite’s new favourite status symbol: a set of ‘Semplica Girls’ to decorate their front lawn. Yet when Lloyd’s youngest daughter, Ida, discovers what’s happening in her name, on her very own doorstep, she threatens to plunge her family into a chaos deeper than they’ve ever known….”
By Matthew Strauss
By Jenessa Williams
By Marc Hogan
10 things you never knew about multi-talented richard ayoade, host of the virtual bafta tv awards.
Born in London to a Norwegian mother and Nigerian father, Richard Ayoade has become an unassuming powerhouse of British pop culture. Since he began his multifaceted career 20 years ago, he's shown his comedy chops with roles in The IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh , directed the highly acclaimed British indie films Submarine with Craig Roberts and The Double with Jesse Eisenberg , hosted the quirky game show The Crystal Maze and travel documentary series Travel Man , and written several very funny books exploring his love of film.
As he prepares to host tonight's BAFTA TV Awards (7pm U.K. time) – which are going ahead virtually due to coronavirus, and also being announced on Twitter – here are some things you might not know about this fascinating creative who's often described in profile pieces as "elusive."
1. Growing up in the quiet English town of Ipswich, he became obsessed with J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye .
"I started to dress like [lead character] Holden Caulfield," Ayoade recalled drolly last year. "In the novel, Holden buys a red hunting hat, after losing all his goddam fencing gear on the goddam New York subway. I never lost all my goddam fencing gear, nor did I ever possess any goddam fencing gear, but I did resolve to get myself a red hunting hat, which Holden wears all the goddam time. It’s a changed town now, but the retail opportunities in Ipswich did not seriously rival those of New York, and I remember I had difficulty sourcing the requisite regalia. If I had wanted another pair of cheap shoes, boy was I in the right place."
2. He's married to actress Lydia Fox, a member of the famous Fox acting dynasty.
Lewis 's Laurence Fox is his wife's brother, while Silent Witness star Emilia Fox and Cucumber actor Freddie Fox are her cousins.
3. Though he won a BAFTA TV Award for playing socially challenged Moss in The IT Crowd opposite Chris O'Dowd and Katherine Parkinson, he doesn't really rate his performance in the cult sitcom, calling it a mere "turn."
"The others are really good actors, so [the show] can contain something which is more of a turn than an acting performance – I wouldn't dignify what I do by calling it acting," he told The Guardian in 2011.
4. He studied Law at Cambridge University, where he became president of the famous Footlights theatrical club.
Hugh Laurie , Stephen Fry , and Dame Emma Thompson all honed their craft as Footlights members in the early '80s. Ayoade served as president in 1998, and during his time there was captured in a local TV documentary which also features a young John Oliver , one of Ayoade's Footlights writing partners.
Ayoade isn't a fan of the documentary, though, telling The Guardian in 2014: “It was literally one of the things that made me not want to do interviews again. You have to imagine: a bunch of 21-year-olds, never-been-out-of-the-house type people. Our tour manager is another 21-year-old saying, ‘This is very important publicity, Anglia television want to do a feature.’ It was awful."
5. He has some pretty serious issues with the whole interview business, actually.
His 2014 interview with British newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy went viral because Ayoade used it to turn the tables, hilariously, on the "essential lie" of the whole celebrity interview process.
6. He's directed music videos for indie bands including Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, and Kasabian.
One of the three videos Ayoade directed for Arctic Monkeys, 2007's "Fluorescent Adolescent," stars Line of Duty and The Irishman actor Stephen Graham .
7. He has a small cameo in The Mandalorian .
In episode six of season one, Ayoade provides the voice of droid pilot Q9-0... as you can hear in the clip below.
8. He's written a very tongue-in-cheek book about View from the Top , a flop 2003 movie in which Gwyneth Paltrow portrays an ambitious flight attendant.
According to the publishers' blurb , it's "the definitive book about perhaps the best cabin crew dramedy ever filmed" and finds Ayoade arguing for "the canonization of this brutal masterpiece, a film that celebrates capitalism in all its victimless glory."
When Ayoade promoted the book on The Graham Norton Show last year, fellow guest Olivia Colman was clearly intrigued by it.
9. He's not a big fan of being spotted out and about in London.
"I hope the idea of seeing me in the street is as boring to everyone else as it would be for me," he told The Independent in 2014.
10. He was linked to The Great British Baking Show when it switched networks in the U.K. in 2016.
According to The Sun , he was a "leading candidate" to replace hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc at one point. Can you picture him presiding over proceedings in the Baking Show 's famous tent?
What's been your favorite Richard Ayoade moment to date?
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Birthday: Jun 12, 1977
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An intelligent comedian-actor-writer-director, Richard Ayoade had his start in theater and comedy before breaking through for his horror/comedy hybrid "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace" (Channel 4, 2004). Scoring on the sketch comedy "The Mighty Boosh" (BBC Three, 2004-05) as the belligerent Saboo, Ayoade boosted his profile considerably with his charming turn as alpha geek Maurice Moss, flummoxed by the corporate culture that surrounded him and his fellow members of "The IT Crowd" (Channel 4, 2006-10). His success on the show opened American doors, including landing a role on the never-aired American remake, and he was tapped to star alongside Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill in the sci-fi comedy "The Watch" (2012). He also directed multiple music videos, especially for close pals the Arctic Monkeys, and wrote and directed the acclaimed indie hit "Submarine" (2010), which earned him a BAFTA nomination. A multifaceted talent with wide-ranging creative gifts, Richard Ayoade seemed poised to conquer America as charmingly as he had his native United Kingdom.
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Richard Ayoade's life and career as he presents the BAFTA TV Awards
The BAFTA TV Awards ceremony begins at 6pm on BBC One
- 17:18, 8 MAY 2022
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Richard Ayoade will be hosting the 2022 BAFTA TV Awards. The actor and comedian can be seen making regular appearances on various panel shows, including Have I Got News For You.
Some might recognise him best from the The IT Crowd, while he is also the host of The Crystal Maze. Nevertheless, Ayoade will host the event that celebrates the best of British television.
Talent from the world of British television will be attending the BAFTA TV Awards tonight at the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank. The social media coverage for the awards show has already begun and the live stream is being brought to audiences by BBC Radio One presenter Vick Hope, reality TV star Sam Thompson and TV presenter Zeze Millz.
Read more: Normal People stars to join Richard Ayoade as guest presenters for the Bafta TV awards 2020
But who is Ayoade and what is his net worth? Here’s everything we know.
Who is Richard Ayoade?
Ayoade was born in London and is half Norwegian and half Nigerian. He studied law at Cambridge and during that time he was the president of the theatrical club Footlights.
Ayoade’s interest in acting grew during this time. He and Footlights’ vice-president John Oliver worked on several productions together including Emotional Babbage and Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
His main TV gig came in 2004 when he created and appeared in the spoof comedy horror series Garth Maranghi’s Darkplace. The same year, along with Matt Berry he directed and co-wrote in AD/BC: A Rock Opera, a parody of life-of-Christ rock operas.
Today Ayoade is widely known for playing Maurice in the sitcom The IT Crowd on Channel 4, alongside Katherine Parkinson, Chris Morris and Chris O’Dowd. The show ran until 2010, and Ayoade won a BAFTA for Best Male Comedy Performance.
In 2007, Ayoade began directing music videos, he has directed three Arctic Monkeys videos: Fluorescent Adolescent, Cornerstone and Crying Lightning. The 44-year-old has a good bond with the band’s frontman Alex Turner as he contributed five original songs to Ayoade’s directorial feature debut Submarine in 2010.
Is Richard Ayoade married?
Richard Ayoade is married to Lydia Fox, the daughter of James Fox, who appeared in several notable films of the 1960s and 1970s including The Servant. Many of Fox’s family members are well known in the industry as actors and producers.
Ayoade and his wife share three children together and currently reside in London. The two met during University and have been involved in projects together frequently. For example, Fox appears in Ayoade’s 2010 Submarine film as Miss Dutton.
What is Richard Ayoade's net worth?
According to celebritynetworth.com Ayoade has a networth of $2 million (£1.6 million). Ayoade has carved out a niche in film and television, for The IT Crowd alone it is believed Ayoade earned between $800,000 and $1 million (£648,0000 and £810,000).
- Bafta TV Awards
- Most Recent
Richard Ayoade in Fable is inspired casting, and the trailer's tone is perfect too
Playground may be cooking something Fable-ous.
Microsoft's Xbox Showcase gave us our first look proper at Playground Games' upcoming Fable reboot and the vibes are as good as it gets. The trailer stars comedian and actor Richard Ayoade, a fruit and vegetable farmer with a very low opinion of heroes ("wafters", he says, not unfairly). This is interspersed with clips of a Fable hero doing their thing, as she shanks a few bandits, sinks the odd pint, and seemingly wellies a chicken into the upper atmosphere.
Things take a turn after that and, if you want to see for yourself, watch above before reading on. A giant beanstalk grows, the next thing you know the hero's at a massive door, and It turns out Ayoade is in fact a giant. "Well, this is awkward" he says to her before a quickfire action sequence chasing the diminutive hero around his house. The sequence ends with the hero in his grasp, being raised to his mouth, and turning to the camera to say "fff-" which abruptly cuts to the Fable logo, before a neat little coda suggests the outcome.
It's deeply charming stuff and visually spectacular, with the realisation of Ayoade capturing his expressions, mannerisms, and deadpan delivery perfectly. There will be questions over the claim at the bottom of this that it's "in-game footage" though certain sequences involving the hero are certainly suggestive of stuff (the chase sequence with the giant definitely feels more of a CG fest).
Quite outside of what we can glean about the game's world though (villages with feckless and rude inhabitants, mythical beasts, a bit of drinking, some roughing up bandits, presumably at least one house-sized boss) what left the biggest impression on me was Playground's choice of jumping off point. Every kid in the world knows Jack and the Beanstalk (and if you have kids, check out Raymond Briggs' quasi-sequel Jim and the Beanstalk), it is one of the foundational fairy stories. When you talk about a handful of magic beans, everyone understands what you mean.
This makes an impression because Fable was always to me about those funny twists on the traditional stories, about suggesting another version of something you're familiar with, and toying around in that collective myth-hoard of fairy stories and fables. And it matters double because Fable is a series that lost its way after the first few games, almost becoming more traditional fantasy than whimsy at points, and drifted into side-projects like Fable: The Journey before Microsoft pressured Lionhead into making the live service Fable Legends, which was cancelled at the last moment at the same time as the studio was brutally shuttered.
So the road to here has not exactly been a smooth one and, of course, it is sad that we'll never see another Lionhead game. But if Fable is to live on as one of Xbox's marquee titles then all I can say is that the team at Playground seem to have understood the brief, and that Fable is anything but the standard fantasy action-RPG, and indeed should be much more. This is a series with innovation in its past, a series with the bravery to try out new ideas (like the player never dying in Fable 2, or infamously the dog). There's no indication from this trailer of whether we can expect such a bold approach from Playground, but I think the one thing we can say is that they seem to have nailed a particular tone that, for Fable fans as well as new audiences, will I think resonate. It reminds me of Shrek as much as anything.
The trailer gave no indication of when the game is coming, nor whether it would be exclusive for Xbox consoles for a time before coming to PC. It will however be available on Game Pass from release. This is only a trailer, and Playground may yet fumble the pumpkin. But from acorns like these, something beautiful may grow.
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Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."
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What is Richard Ayoade known for?
The 44-year-old is fronting tonight's BAFTA TV Awards which will be broadcast from 6pm on BBC One
- 17:47, 8 MAY 2022
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Tonight’s BAFTA TV Awards is being hosted by actor and director Richard Ayoade. The 44-year-old has many talents and this isn’t the first time he will be hosting the famous awards show, having first hosted it in 2020.
Ayoade came to wider attention in 2006 with Channel 4’s The IT Crowd, as writer and director Graham Linehan had specially written the role of Maurice Moss for him. The show went on for four seasons, with a special in 2013.
He bagged two awards for the first series at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival and another at the BAFTA s for Best Male Comedy Performance. The series also featured other major talent including Chris O'Dowd, Katherine Parkinson, Chris Morris and Matt Berry.
Read more: BAFTA TV Awards 2022 nominations, TV channel and start time
What is Ayoade’s net worth and does he have any children? Here’s everything we know.
What has Richard Ayoade been in?
Ayoade is best known for his roles in The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marenghi and especially The IT Crowd. In the latter he portrayed a socially awkward IT technician.
His talent includes writing and directing, having found success with his debut directorial feature Submarine as well as The Double. Along with films, he has directed a few music videos including Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys.
The talented Ayoade has also lent his voice to a number of animated films. He has written comedic books too.
What is his net worth?
Celebritynetworth.com states Ayoade has a net worth of $2 million (£1.6 million). From The IT Crowd alone it is believed Ayoade earned between $800,000 and $1 million (£648,0000 and £810,000).
An only child, Ayoade laid the foundations for his career at Cambridge University, where as well as studying law he wrote and performed in several Footlights productions along with the club’s vice-president John Oliver, who has gone on to become a star in America. They appeared in touring shows such as ‘Emotional Baggage’ and ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’.
Does Richard Ayoade have children?
Ayoade is married to Lydia Fox, the daughter of actor James Fox. The pair, who collaborate on projects, met while studying at Cambridge and got married in 2007.
They live in London and share three children together. We only know the names of two of their children - Esmé Bibi Ayoade and Ida Ayoade.
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What are the cast of ‘The IT Crowd’ doing now?
Can you believe it’s now been ten years since The IT Crowd first appeared on our TV screens?
The award-winning Channel 4 sitcom aired for four seasons from 2006 to 2010, ending with a special episode in 2013.
> Buy the complete Season 1-4 box set on Amazon.
A whole decade after Jen first ventured down to the basement of Reynholm Industries, let’s take a look at what the talented cast of The IT Crowd are doing now…
When he was cast as geeky computer whiz Maurice Moss, Richard Ayoade had experience both in front of and behind the camera in comedy, having directed and acted in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and AD/BC: A Rock Opera . During his time on The IT Crowd , he began directing music videos for bands such as The Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and Vampire Weekend, and won an NME award for directing The Arctic Monkeys: At The Apollo.
After The IT Crowd’s fourth season, Ayoade released his first feature film Submarine , a coming-of-age comedy-drama which he wrote and directed. Following this, he wrote and directed The Double , a black comedy thriller starring Jesse Eisenberg. Both films received critical acclaim. Ayoade is a film buff and in 2014 wrote Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey , a satire of books which explore the careers of celebrated directors.
Ayoade isn’t just behind the camera these days. He makes regular appearances on panel shows such as The Big Fat Quiz , guest stars on Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy and hosts Gadget Man and Travel Man on Channel 4. He has also done some work in the USA, having appeared in comedy film The Watch and directed an episode of Community .
Since being cast as the socially inept Roy Trenneman on The IT Crowd , Chris O’Dowd has become a familiar face both on TV and in film. He has had leading roles in BBC drama series The Crimson Petal and the White and documentary-style comedy Family Tree , as well as a guest part in American comedy-drama Girls . In 2012, he created the Sky1 comedy Moone Boy , which has so far run for three seasons.
O’Dowd has built a successful film career, with credits including The Boat That Rocked , Cuban Fury , This Is 40 and St. Vincent. Two of his most pivotal roles were in American comedy Bridesmaids as the love interest of Kristin Wiig’s protagonist, and in Australian musical film The Sapphires , for which he won an AACTA award (the Australian equivalent of a BAFTA). He had a small role in Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World and also a cameo in his The IT Crowd co-star Richard Ayoade’s The Double .
In 2014, O’Dowd made his Broadway debut in a production of Of Mice and Men , alongside James Franco.
Since she began playing technically-challenged head of IT Jen Barber in The IT Crowd , Katherine Parkinson has had leading roles in several other comedy shows, including The Great Outdoors , The Old Guys , Whites and Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff . She also starred in the very first episode of the BBC’s dark comedy anthology series Inside No.9 .
Over the last two years or so, Parkinson has been taking on more dramatic television roles, such as in political spy thriller The Honourable Woman and BBC drama series In The Club . She was most recently seen starring in 1970s-set comedy The Kennedys and in British-American sci-fi series Humans , which will soon be returning for a second season .
Parkinson has also done a lot of work on radio and on stage; however, her face is most recognisable to some people because of her appearances in TV adverts for Maltesers and Kit-Kat!
Continued on next page…
Interview: Richard Ayoade, the star of “The IT Crowd”, on his directorial debut, “Submarine”
The Director/Actor talks about casting the young actors, writing the script and directing his first feature!
I was right and then some. Submarine is the coming of age story of 15-year old Oliver Tate (played by the wonderful Craig Roberts ), a pretentious teen – think Holden Caufield – who is attempting to hook up with the equally odd Jordana ( Yasmin Paige ) while attempting to save his parents’ marriage. Ayoade brings a completely fresh look to the film and before it ends, you are so enjoying the world he created you’re wishing there were more of it.
I had a chance to talk to Richard in a conference call where he talked about casting the young actors, writing the script and directing his first feature.
The characters in this movie are so well written, was that something that took a while to polish and edit or was that just a luck of the draw and you heard how you wanted to write them and they just came out that way?
Richard Ayoade: Well, I think the novel is very well written and, none of it would exist but for the novel so and, in some sense you are doing something that is completely different to the novel because that’s a first person narration and testimonial, and it’s held aloft by Joe Dunthorne’s talent as a writer. But a lot of the feel of the film originates from the book and, you rehearse a lot and you alter dialogue during that rehearsal and the actors bring in lots of stuff and you edit it… so it’s slowly chiseling away at things throughout.
Did you have the cast in mind when you were writing the script?
Richard Ayoade: They just have a policy that makes you want to watch them. I think it’s very difficult to describe what that is. I felt that they looked young which was very important, they looked the age of the character, they didn’t look like mid-20’s which very often people do. They both have very good voices and they kind of ended up looking quite similar to one another which I quite liked as well and just personally I really liked them and that is quite important that you feel you can get on with the people you’re working with and that you’re on the same page.
Taking on your first film, was there anything that was more difficult than you thought and anything that turned out easier than you expected it would be?
Richard Ayoade: The most difficult thing really is writing the script. I mean that’s proportionately where most of the time goes and I suppose where most of the major problems arrive and either solved or not so, that’s the thing that is most difficult.
And how about easier than you suspected?
Richard Ayoade: I suppose just the fact that we could get it made at all is easier than I thought because you never solely think that you’re going to be able to get funding or get something made so, yeah that’s really, that it got made at all.
What involvement does Ben Stiller and Weinstein Studios have in the movie and did you have to make any changes as a result?
Richard Ayoade: Yeah, there were no changes in terms of their involvement. Red Hour, which is Ben Stiller’s company got involved late on during the scripting, and I think largely viewed their role as trying to bring people’s attention to it… for being an advocate for it which they’ve just being great at doing. And I guess similarly with the Weinsteins, they saw it in Toronto and I guess their role is also trying to bring people’s attention to it.
I was wondering if there is a similarity with British coming of age movies and American coming of age movies. Do you think that American movies translate in Britain and do you feel that your story is going to be universal for teenagers in America?
Richard Ayoade: There aren’t, to my knowledge, a lot of British coming of age films. I mean English films or British films, very often seem to be more based around children, initially than teenagers…
I think just more of the sort of Victorian feel that there’s a bigger dichotomy between childhood and adulthood. And adolescence seems to somewhat more American phenomenon in some respects.
I know that you’ve done a lot of acting as well as directing and writing, is it hard for you to switch between all the different hats you wear? Or is this something that’s just kind of intuitive to you?
Richard Ayoade: Well, the majority of my time spent writing really. I mean certainly the only acting I’ve done for maybe the past, I know 4 years, it’s just been, been The IT Crowd. We normally film for a couple of months and then the rest of the year I’m not really acting. And so, yeah, I spent most of my time writing and that feels good.
Doing TV and film, do you have a preference over one of the mediums?
Richard Ayoade: No, not particularly. I mean. it really depends on what the individual thing is. I don’t think doing one TV show necessarily means that another TV show will be as enjoyable or as truthful an experienced as the last one. And similarly with films I imagine, even though I’ve done one. So, yeah, I didn’t think there’s like an inherent superiority of one over the other. I also think that type of thing seems to be rapidly eroding.
You’ve got 3 just fantastic actors in the film, you’ve got Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine, how did you collaborate with them? Directing them, I would think, you can just put the camera anywhere and say, “have fun.”
Richard Ayoade: Yeah, I mean they’re all really great. You try and have them contribute as much as they feel they want to and you really try and make sure that the characters that you’re asking them to play makes sense and that they have some kind of internal logic and life and they’re not having to try and make something work just through their own personal charisma rather than it making sense .
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Richard Ayoade And Jonathan Ross Receive Social Media Backlash Over Graham Linehan Book Reviews
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Two of the UK’s top comedy stars, Richard Ayoade and Jonathan Ross , have received backlash on social media after reviewing The IT Crowd writer Graham Linehan ‘s memoir.
Irish scribe Linehan has gone from the writer of much-loved Channel 4 comedies The IT Crowd, Father Ted and Black Books to an outspoken anti-transgender activist in recent years, leading many in the UK and Ireland to boycott him.
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Ross was quoted saying the book is “one of the most compelling and unflinchingly honest memoirs I’ve read in many years. It’s also the funniest,” while Ayoade was quoted as saying: “Graham Linehan has long been one of my favourite writers — and this books shows that his brilliance in prose is equal to his brilliance as a screenwriter. It unfolds with the urgency of a Sam Fuller film: that of a man who has been through something that few have experienced but has managed to return, undaunted, to tell the tale.”
Parts of both quotes appear to be on the cover of Linehan’s memoir, which charts how he went from a comedy writer to an outcast among many circles, effectively losing his comedy career along the way.
The reviews sparked a war of words on X (formerly Twitter), with trans rights advocates slamming the pair for vouching for Linehan’s work, some voicing dismay at their support and others praising them for the public vote of confidence. Linehan reposted several messages in support of the reviews.
Ayaode won a BAFTA for his role in The IT Crowd . He also starred or appeared in Nathan Barley , The Mighty Boosh , Disechantment , The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and Soul , as well as presenting British shows Gadget Man , Travel Man and The Crystal Maze . He has directed features such as Submarine and The Double .
Deadline has reached out to Ayoade and Ross’s representatives for comment.
Here are a few examples of the messages on X.
Well that’s Richard Ayoade in the bin, along with already confirmed terf Jonathan Ross. What is wrong with these people? 🤷♀️ pic.twitter.com/2DOT4VVSqh — India Willoughby (@IndiaWilloughby) September 14, 2023
Ayoade being quoted on the cover of this is depressing as fuck. pic.twitter.com/srByG0xorA — JC (@Jonnyishh) September 13, 2023
We're immensely grateful to Jonathan Ross, Richard Ayoade, @andrewdoyle_com , @HJoyceGender , @TheSimonEvans and @LissaKEvans for lending their names to the cover. When you read the book, I hope you'll see why they wanted to. https://t.co/L6COOTcjuJ pic.twitter.com/1wWrBjsu3R — Simon Edge (@simonjedge) September 14, 2023
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Sort by Year - Latest Movies and TV Shows With Richard Ayoade
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1. The Semplica Girl Diaries
Drama | Announced
Lloyd, who is approaching his 40th, tries to make his family happy by investing in the status symbol of "Semplica Girls" despite the financial strain. His daughter Ida uncovers the truth and it threatens to cause chaos for the family.
Director: Richard Ayoade | Stars: Ben Stiller , Jesse Eisenberg , Sally Hawkins , Richard Ayoade
2. Apostles of Infinite Love
Comedy | Announced
Dysfunctional siblings comes together in order to save their youngest sister from a cult.
Director: Richard Ayoade
3. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Buy Low, Sell Ty (2024)
TV-14 | Animation, Comedy, Fantasy
Hippocampus wins first prize for his invention at Hephaestus-Con, only to discover he only won for his looks; Deliria rebrands herself as the 'goddess of no hangovers'.
Directors: Patrick J. Kochakji , Pete Michels | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Matt Berry , Pam Murphy , Duncan Trussell
4. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: The Majors (2024)
Deliria decides to mentor the nerdy minor god Salt for a major god opening on Mt. Olympus to spite Athena; Tyrannis makes it his mission to create a box that gets rid of poop when Krapopolis residents start moving to the wilderness.
Stars: Richard Ayoade , Matt Berry , Pam Murphy , Duncan Trussell
5. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Contagion (2024)
Tyrannis must save his mother and kingdom when Deliria is infected with a plague being caused by a dragon; Hippocampus works on a cure to save the infected residents of Krapopolis.
Directors: Dominic Polcino , Pete Michels | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Matt Berry , Pam Murphy , Duncan Trussell
6. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: A Krapwork Orange (2024)
Hippocampus and Stupendous accidentally create an apex predator when they train an unruly group of town-children; Tyrannis mistakenly attends a rally that's against him.
7. The Last Leg (2012– ) Episode: Episode #31.1 (2024)
TV-14 | 41 min | Comedy, News, Talk-Show
Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker are back with a brand new season in 2024 - unpacking the week's biggest news stories and answering your #IsItOk questions. With special guests Richard Ayoade and Rosie Jones.
Stars: Adam Hills , Josh Widdicombe , Alex Brooker , Richard Ayoade
8. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (2023)
PG | 40 min | Short, Adventure, Comedy
Chronicles a variety of stories, but the main one follows Henry Sugar, who is able to see through objects and predict the future with the help of a book he stole.
Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Ralph Fiennes , Benedict Cumberbatch , Dev Patel , Ben Kingsley
9. Krapopolis (2023– )
Follows a flawed family of humans, gods, and monsters that tries to run one of the world's first cities without killing each other.
10. The Rat Catcher (2023)
PG | 17 min | Short, Comedy
In an English village, a reporter and a mechanic listen to a rat catcher explain his clever plan to outwit his prey.
Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Ralph Fiennes , Rupert Friend , Eliel Ford
11. The Big Fat Quiz of the Year (2023 TV Special)
90 min | Comedy, Game-Show
Hosted by Jimmy Carr, the long-running panel show is back again this year with a group of well-known comedians, as they break down 2023 and look at the year's wackiest moments.
Director: Mick Thomas | Stars: Jimmy Carr , Richard Ayoade , Kevin Bridges , Mel Giedroyc
12. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: All Hail the Goddess of Likability! (2023)
When Asskill threatens to attack Krapopolis, Tyrannis tries to stop him with diplomacy; Deliria decides to build her own temple; Stupendous and Hippocampus give the Asskillians a Trojan horse.
Directors: Jake Hollander , Pete Michels | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Matt Berry , Pam Murphy , Duncan Trussell
13. Rugrats (2021– ) Episode: Crossing the Antarctic/Chuckie in Charge (2023)
TV-Y7 | Animation, Short, Adventure
Tommy and his friends cross the frozen tundra to find help for Angelica after she "hurts" her leg. Chuckie needs to learn to be more like Angelica when she leaves him in charge.
Stars: Richard Ayoade , Nicole Byer , Nancy Cartwright , Cheryl Chase
14. Rugrats (2021– ) Episode: Bottles Away/Extra Pickles (2023)
Tommy doesn't want to face the reality that, one day, he'll have to give up his bottle. Tommy learns to be a Finster so he can live with Chuckie after his baby sibling arrives.
Stars: Richard Ayoade , Josh Brener , Nicole Byer , Nancy Cartwright
15. Rugrats (2021– ) Episode: Reptar Day!/Mission to the Little (2023)
Tommy and his friends think an Earth Day event at the park is actually a celebration of Reptar Day. Tommy leads his friends on a mission to retrieve baby Dil who they think the grownups forgot inside the house.
16. Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (2022–2023) Episode: Doom and Groom (2023)
TV-Y7 | 24 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
In pursuit of the enchanted pendant, the crew crash Jayesh's wedding. Meanwhile, Veruca and Klaus meet the new Archmage and threaten to steal his helmet.
Directors: Kelly Baigent , William Ruzicka , Kevin Wotton | Stars: Jack Black , Richard Ayoade , Anjali Bhimani , JB Blanc
17. Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (2022–2023) Episode: The Pinging (2023)
When the pendant releases the spirit of an ancient master, Po will have to fight the one person he never thought he would.
Directors: David Dick , Shaunt Nigoghossian , James Yang | Stars: Jack Black , Martin Aistrope , Richard Ayoade , Anjali Bhimani
18. The Last Leg (2012– ) Episode: Episode #28.1 (2023)
Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker are joined by Lucy Beaumont, Richard Ayoade and Angela Rayner for an entertaining, off-beat look at the week's events.
19. Have I Got News for You (1990– ) Episode: Episode #65.3 (2023)
29 min | Comedy, Game-Show, News
Richard Ayoade is this week's guest presenter, with panellists political commentator Marina Purkiss and comedian Phil Wang joining team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop as they delve into the news.
Director: Paul Wheeler | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Ian Hislop , Paul Merton , Marina Purkiss
20. Black Mirror (2011– ) Episode: Loch Henry (2023)
TV-MA | 56 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A young couple travel to a sleepy Scottish town to start work on a genteel nature documentary - but find themselves drawn to a juicy local story involving shocking events of the past.
Director: Sam Miller | Stars: Samuel Blenkin , Myha'la , Daniel Portman , John Hannah
21. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: The Stuperbowl (2023)
Tyrannis plays host to other kings for a series of games in which Stupendous shines and which Deliria makes about herself; Hippocampus and Shlub track down and capture the city's first serial killer.
Directors: Otis Brayboy , Pete Michels | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Matt Berry , Pam Murphy , Duncan Trussell
22. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Wife Swamp (2023)
Tyrannis returns from a quest with his girlfriend, only to learn that Deliria set him up to look like a hero; Hippocampus, Stupendous and Shlub fight - then befriend - the species of wolves.
23. Disenchantment (2018–2023) Episode: Electric Ladyland (2023)
TV-MA | Animation, Action, Adventure
After Malfus foretells an ominous prophecy, Bean and Mora travel to Steamland to reconnect with Zøg - but first they must decode a cryptic message.
Directors: Jeff Myers , Dwayne Carey-Hill | Stars: Abbi Jacobson , Eric André , Nat Faxon , John DiMaggio
24. Disenchantment (2018–2023) Episode: The Stience of Homemade Lightning (2023)
In the forgotten city of Maru, Bean meets the Queen of the Crones, who encourages her to harness her new special power. Later, Elfo falls for a friend.
Directors: Andrew Han , Dwayne Carey-Hill | Stars: Abbi Jacobson , Eric André , Nat Faxon , John DiMaggio
25. Disenchantment (2018–2023) Episode: The Battle of Falling Water (2023)
A battle between the Dreamland army and Dagmar's forces may spell disaster for Princess Bean, unless she can defeat her greatest foe: herself.
26. Disenchantment (2018–2023) Episode: Darkness Falls (2023)
With the Crystal Caverns magic flowing throughout the kingdom, only Bean can stop power from falling into the wrong hands - if she can quit moping first.
Directors: Ira Sherak , Dwayne Carey-Hill | Stars: Abbi Jacobson , Eric André , Nat Faxon , John DiMaggio
27. Disenchantment (2018–2023) Episode: Goodbye Bean (2023)
With the fate of Dreamland hanging in the balance, a mother battles her daughter for beauty, power and immortality. But living forever comes at a price.
Director: Dwayne Carey-Hill | Stars: Abbi Jacobson , Eric André , Nat Faxon , John DiMaggio
28. Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (2022–2023) Episode: The Last Dumont (2023)
TV-Y7 | Animation, Action, Adventure
With the Dragon Knights reunited, their last hope of recapturing the weapons rests on the shoulders of the last person they'd expect. Off to Mage Island.
Stars: Omid Abtahi , Shohreh Aghdashloo , Richard Ayoade , Jack Black
29. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Prometheus (2023)
Tyrannis and Hippocampus release Prometheus - the only god they like - from his eternity on the rock, then learn he's friends with Deliria; Shlub takes Stupendous to the cyclops' island to help find her father.
Director: Patrick J. Kochakji | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Matt Berry , Pam Murphy , Duncan Trussell
30. Have I Got News for You (1990– ) Episode: Episode #66.6 (2023)
Richard Ayoade is this week's guest presenter. Comedian Jamie MacDonald and television presenter Steph McGovern join team captain's Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.
Director: Paul Wheeler | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Ian Hislop , Paul Merton , Jamie MacDonald
31. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: 12 Angry Goat Herders (2023)
Tyrannis creates a court system when Shlub is falsely accused of eating goats; Hippocampus creates a sprinkler system for Asskill to get back at Deliria.
Directors: Jake Hollander , Blake Lemons , Pete Michels | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Matt Berry , Pam Murphy , Duncan Trussell
32. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Woods-stock (2023)
Tyrannis summons the god Dionysus during a party in the woods; Deliria and Shlub explore their relationship in the Parthenon.
33. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Please Demeter (2023)
Tyrannis is given a chance for immortality when he dates the goddess Demeter, but Deliria squashes it; Stupendous goes to Hades with Hippocampus to retrieve her sword from a fallen foe.
34. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Big Man on Hippocampus (2023)
Tyrannis takes Hippocampus to a science convention where Hippocampus, ostracized for his appearance, is appreciated for his intellect; to prove she's better than Athena, Deliria helps Stupendous change her friend back from stone.
35. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Dungeons and Deliria (2023)
Tyrannus faces a ruling dilemma when a citizen is kicked out of a bar for wearing newly-invented pants; Deliria gets into trouble with a titan when she wreaks havoc on Stupendous' secret quest; Hippocampus spars with a tree nymph.
36. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Tyrdra (2023)
Tyrannis invites a suicidal hydra to come live with him, but soon regrets it when she embroils Krapopolis in chaos.
Directors: Blake Lemons , Pete Michels | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Matt Berry , Pam Murphy , Duncan Trussell
37. Krapopolis (2023– ) Episode: Ty's Tail Tale (2023)
Tyrannus is possessed by his deceased grandfather, forcing Shlub to fight for his son; Hippocampus and Stupendous bring home a pregnant pegasus, which gives birth to babies that must be controlled by mythical monsters.
38. Gogglebox (2013– ) Episode: Celebrity Gogglebox for SU2C (2023)
The armchair critics share their opinions on what they have been watching during week.
Stars: Craig Cash , Richard Ayoade , Bobby Brazier , Jeff Brazier
39. The Bad Guys (2022)
PG | 100 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
To avoid prison, a gang of notorious animal criminals pretends to seek being rehabilitated, only for their leader to realize that he genuinely wants to change his ways.
Director: Pierre Perifel | Stars: Sam Rockwell , Marc Maron , Awkwafina , Craig Robinson
Votes: 57,126 | Gross: $97.23M
40. Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (2022–2023)
Follow Po, who partners up with a no-nonsense English knight named Wandering Blade, to find a collection of four powerful weapons before a mysterious pair of weasels do, and save the world from destruction.
Stars: Jack Black , Rita Ora , James Hong , Della Saba
41. The Big Fat Quiz of the Year (2022 TV Special)
92 min | Comedy, Game-Show
Jimmy Carr hosts the comedy quiz as Stephen Merchant, Katherine Ryan, Richard Ayoade, Maisie Adam, Jonathan Ross and Rose Matafeo compete to see who knows the most about the last year.
Director: Mick Thomas | Stars: Jimmy Carr , Maisie Adam , Richard Ayoade , Rose Matafeo
42. The Big Fat Quiz of Everything (2022 TV Special)
In the Big Fat Quiz of Everything 2022, Question Master Jimmy Carr is joined by a panel of celebrity guests including Rob Beckett, Richard Ayoade, Rosie Jones, Roisin Conaty, Mawaan Rizwan ... See full summary »
Director: Mick Thomas | Stars: Jimmy Carr , Richard Ayoade , Rob Beckett , Roisin Conaty
43. Disenchantment (2018–2023) Episode: The Good, The Bad, and the Bum-Bum (2022)
TV-14 | Animation, Action, Adventure
Bean, Jerry and Luci commandeer an airship from Alva. Held captive by the ogres, Elfo discovers an entire family history he knew nothing about.
Directors: Peter Avanzino , Dwayne Carey-Hill , Raymie Muzquiz | Stars: Abbi Jacobson , Eric André , Nat Faxon , John DiMaggio
44. Hypothetical (2019–2022) Episode: Episode #4.1 (2022)
44 min | Comedy, Game-Show
Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster begin the fourth series by posing improbable hypothetical challenges to their guests Richard Ayoade, Guz Khan, Maisie Adam and Chloe Petts.
Director: John L. Spencer | Stars: James Acaster , Josh Widdicombe , Maisie Adam , Richard Ayoade
45. The Last Leg (2012– ) Episode: Episode #25.5 (2022)
TV-14 | 40 min | Comedy, News, Talk-Show
Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker are joined by Richard Ayoade and Lorraine Kelly for topical news comedy looking at the week's events in Ukraine and the UK, as well as answering your #IsItOk questions.
46. Have I Got News for You (1990– ) Episode: Richard Ayoade, Justin Webb, Maisie Adam (2022)
Richard Ayoade hosts while Paul and Ian are joined by Maisie Adam and Justin Webb.
Director: Paul Wheeler | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Ian Hislop , Paul Merton , Maisie Adam
47. Question Team (2021–2022) Episode: Episode #2.1 (2022)
44 min | Comedy
The comedy panel show in which the players write the questions returns for a second series. Joining Richard Ayoade are Josh Pugh, Jo Brand and Thanyia Moore. Bill Bailey is the special guest leading a round on Richard's behalf.
Directors: Dexter Harries , Peter Lee Suer , Barbara Wiltshire | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Bill Bailey , Jo Brand , Thanyia Moore
48. Question Team (2021–2022) Episode: Episode #2.8 (2022)
The second series concludes with Dane Baptiste, Angela Barnes and Lou Sanders joining Richard Ayoade's Question Team. Special guest Tim Vine presents a round of the quiz on behalf of the ever indolent Richard.
Directors: Toby Baker , Dexter Harries | Stars: Richard Ayoade , Dane Baptiste , Angela Barnes , Lou Sanders
49. Rugrats (2021– ) Episode: Wedding Smashers/House Broken (2022)
While planning Cynthia's wedding, Phil realizes his friends treat him and Lil a little differently; when Stu accidentally tinkers with Duffy, Tommy and the babies must make the house safe again.
Stars: Richard Ayoade , Nancy Cartwright , Cheryl Chase , Elizabeth Daily
50. Rugrats (2021– ) Episode: House of Cardboard/Fluffy Moves In (2022)
Angelica and Chuckie are surprised to find they feel the same way about decorating a cardboard playhouse; a new pet cat proves to be the only creature in the world who can out-Angelica Angelica.
Stars: Richard Ayoade , Nancy Cartwright , Cheryl Chase , Anna Chlumsky
- International edition
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Richard Ayoade: ‘Shyness can be interpreted as a kind of aggression’
He’s a TV star (The IT Crowd, Gadget Man) film director (The Double, Submarine) and now he’s written a book in which he interviews himself. Which is funny, because he hates interviews ...
Guardian Film Club: Richard Ayoade will be introducing Francois Truffaut’s film Day for Night on 9 November. Book now
R ichard Ayoade has asked to be interviewed in the Imperial War Museum. To find him in the museum’s cafe, I have to walk through the main entrance, where I’m forced to stare down the barrels of two 50ft naval guns. When I finally reach him, sitting round the back in the museum’s grounds, I ask whether this is some kind of interview power play.
“I’m actually doing a Charlton Heston, announcing my support of the NRA,” he deadpans. “No, to be honest it just feels not terribly media-y here, and it’s quite close to my house.”
I’m only a tad suspicious because these are unusual circumstances in which to conduct an interview. There should be plenty to talk about: Ayoade’s comedy career, including his Bafta-winning sitcom role as Moss, the socially-inept star of Graham Linehan’s The IT Crowd , as well as his two acclaimed films as a director, Submarine and The Double , which, alongside the recent output of Ben Wheatley and Edgar Wright, have made him a leading light of the new school of cultish British filmmaking . But Ayoade’s latest work – a book, Ayoade on Ayoade – is an interview itself, in which two fictional versions of the man antagonise one another.
That might sound like a mildly amusing conceit for a traditional autobiography, but Ayoade’s actual life is almost entirely absent, his work barely mentioned. The book is more of a surreal and hilarious exercise in self-aggravation. For example, one exchange runs like this: “I read somewhere that you regard your Jewish identity as being important to you.” “It’s very important. It’s foundational.” “And yet you’re not Jewish.” “No.” “And you don’t find that problematic?” “Not at all. I don’t think whether I’m Jewish or not is really relevant to my Jewish identity.” “Would you call yourself a practising Jew?” “I use to play guitar but I don’t really have time for it any more.”
As well as the wonderfully bizarre, there’s also some very astute satirisation of the nature of interviews and the culture of personality itself. In one exchange, drenched in typical sarcasm, Ayoade asks himself, “What’s next for you?”, to which he replies, “Eventually I’d like to see the interviews replace the directing ... the prospect of needing to make a whole film before a stranger tapes my thoughtless utterances and uses them as the basis for a speculative, semi-hostile character portrait makes me very sad.”
If that’s his fear about our meeting, he doesn’t show it initially. In fact he’s quite forthcoming as we talk about cinema and comedy. He tells me lots about film I didn’t know: the ways in which Woody Allen makes nods to Ingmar Bergman; that the 1960 film Zazie Dans le Metro is useless for teaching yourself French, as Ayoade attempted as a teenager, because the titular character speaks in slang and purposeful mispronunciation.
Pretty quickly though, it’s obvious that though I am asking the questions, he is directing the conversation. When I try to ask him about himself, he’s more evasive. He has a series of techniques for turning the conversation to other things. One is self-deprecation. When I ask him why he didn’t write a more traditional book about his life he replies, “I don’t think I could have done. No one had asked me to write the book. I don’t think there’s any demand for my life story, or a supply. As an economic model, both sides are absent.” I point out that hasn’t stopped a host of people with far less to say.
When that doesn’t work, he tries to turn a specific question about his life into a general one about film, peppering it with relatively obscure references to pre-1960s cinema, of which his knowledge is spectacular, to keep things on his terms.
What he’s trying to avoid, he admits, is “the Faustian pact with the media to cannibalise my personality”. He’s not difficult in the same way as a surly bloke in a rock band who’s rude for the sake of it. Mostly, he says, he just finds the interview process hilarious, “because the elephant in the room of any interview is ‘consume this product’. That’s a very funny subtext to anything. You might as well just go, ‘by the way, it’s out Monday’.”
He tells me about an improv game where the actor is auditioning for a soap commercial but knows the director is also casting for Hamlet, so the player has to drop hints about his capacity for Shakespearean gravitas while in the shower. “So, I guess the underlying current of interviews is, ‘Think I’m a nice person, here’s my product. Allow me to be self-aggrandising in a self-deprecating way’.” He says he finds that duplicity so funny that it was easy to deconstruct in the book.
But I’m not interested in Ayoade’s life for half-hearted context or as a way to help him sell his work: I think there’s genuine intrigue. He was brought up in Ipswich, by a Nigerian father and Norwegian mother. He went to Cambridge where he studied law and joined the revered student comedy society Footlights. Being one of its few non-white stars and experiencing comedy success at such a young age all seems fruitful personal history from which to draw on in his work. But he remains distrustful of such biographical inquiries.
“There are plenty of examples of people where you’re able to enjoy the literature before interviews. Unless people go: ‘Oh God, Chaucer, he needed to be humanised. If only I knew what made him tick, I could engage with him.’”
One record that does exist of his beginnings in comedy comes from a documentary the local ITV station made about Footlights at the time . You can see Ayoade alongside a young John Oliver , both in fetching 1990s sweaters, walking along a windswept beach, apparently improvising. “It was literally one of the things that made me not want to do interviews again. You have to imagine: a bunch of 21-year-olds, never-been-out-of-the-house type people. Our tour manager is another 21-year-old saying, ‘This is very important publicity, Anglia television want to do a feature.’ It was awful. They’d ask us to do a sketch while walking and if we complained they’d say, ‘Trust us, we’re professionals, we won’t make you look ridiculous’. Also, we were in this stage when we were just trying to be Chris Morris. Everyone spoke in that I’M TALKING LIKE THIS voice, all the way through. And it’s documented in this awful video, it’s really humiliating.”
This local TV puff piece triggered a permanent unease with appearing in front of camera outside of a clearly demarcated performance. He did the interviews for his first TV shows in character, and says he constructed a sort of public personality for himself from then on. In person, with no camera on, you don’t get any of that slightly dumbfounded geekery you see when he’s on panel shows. He speaks as if he were on Radio 4.
Why is it so difficult for him to be himself? “As soon as cameras are there it’s just different. It’s not being yourself. Your mother could have died that morning but they will say, ‘Just be yourself, we have to film’. Anything that’s not complete submission to the gaze looks kind of aggressive on camera. Reality stars are geniuses in that they have an ability to be completely undefensive. Joey Essex , for example, is completely open, so you like him. The villains are the defensive ones; shyness can be interpreted as a kind of aggression: ‘Who are you to care so much how you come off?’”
Three years after graduating, Ayoade won the Perrier award at the Edinburgh fringe for co-writing and performing in Garth Marenghi’s Netherhead , a show that became a cult Channel 4 comedy. He worked alongside the likes of Noel Fielding, Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher on shows such as The Mighty Boosh and Nathan Barley . He also took more traditional entertainment roles, appearing on panel shows and hosting Channel 4’s technology show Gadget Man , in which again, although presenting “as himself”, he plays a character – a sort of overly-serious and over-enthused news reporter. Think Stephen Sackur doing a One Show segment.
But when Ayoade made the move into directing, something more than the humour and the front shone through. Both 2010’s Submarine, an atmospheric and honest secondary school romance in a small Welsh town, and this year’s The Double , in which Jesse Eisenberg plays both a nervous and ignored office worker and his confident, sexually successful doppelganger, are sensitive adaptations – the former from Joe Dunthorne’s novel, the latter the Dostoevsky classic. Ayoade proved able to present young romance in a way that feels neither cliched nor overblown, and when things fall apart in his films it’s genuinely heartbreaking. I think few of his comedy contemporaries could have handled these stories so tenderly. Surely that ability to engage with the human condition comes from personal experience?
Not really. “To me, there’s not necessarily a distinct separation between something being funny and something being sad. It can be funny tripping over at a funeral at the worst moment, or getting annoyed if you can’t find a parking space. Catcher in the Rye is the funniest book and the saddest book. You can juxtapose things, there are a thousand juxtapositions an A-level student could come up with.”
But not any A-level student could direct a film with that level of emotional maturity. Does he not draw on anything to tell those stories? “Yes, but with a lot of things you’re not as outside of it as it might come across. You just go, I think this is funny or interesting or seems appropriate. Especially in a film, with the number of people doing it with you, the cameraman, and in this case the co-writer, the actors who might say, I can’t play this or this doesn’t feel right.” Quickly, it’s back to Bergman. “It’s like saying why is a close-up in a Bergman film seemingly better than a close-up in other films? Everyone has access to those lenses and you could hire those actors, what is it? It’s just something about him, at that time, with those people.”
Evade, self-deprecate, move it along. It kind of works, but I wonder if there is some onus on Ayoade to engage more with the world he works in. For example, does he not feel as one of the few black people on television, he might want to join recent calls for more diversity in television?
“The thing is, what’s my mandate? I feel you need to earn the right to weigh in on complex issues, and that right is probably not granted to you by being moderately efficient at imparting words so that they’re amusing. On some level, I can’t get away from the undertone that exists, which is, ‘Out on Monday’. The danger is, you trivialise what you’re saying, because there’s a commercial element attached, you might have something to gain.”
But everyone, even experts in their field, has something to gain from expressing an opinion. That doesn’t mean everyone just keeps silent. “What’s difficult is that you could probably have a frank conversation with someone you know well about sensitive issues, but it’s almost irresponsible to talk about those issues if you don’t know the format or how it might come across.”Isn’t that being neurotic? Surely there are some issues, particularly within the entertainment industry, that he would be uniquely placed to comment on. He doesn’t budge. “If we were just talking among ourselves, it’d be much easier, but there’s a recording device, which turns it into a statement, something you have to have thought about, something you maybe even need to defend. This is the only difference between me and Joey Essex. His remit is transparency. The contract is: ‘Let’s watch you’. With performers or writers, the contract is, ‘Show us the thing you’ve thought about’. It can’t be, ‘You’ve really thought about this song Jack White, let’s hear it but also, what do you think about Chad?’ He’s not the guy to talk about Chad.”
We continue in this combative vein for a while. At one point he says, “It’s hard to read [Nigerian playwright] Wole Soyinka without any knowledge of Yoruba culture, but it shouldn’t be something you can’t enjoy without a reading list,” and then trails off, realising he might have pushed the deflection too far. “That doesn’t feel like it’s going to be the pull quote, does it?”
The thing is, when I do turn the recorder off, we have a more relaxed conversation – we talk a bit about grim bits of London and the tin-pot dictators who can be involved in student organisations. His unwillingness to ramble isn’t a personality trait but a meticulousness, making sure that if he’s saying something, it’s the right thing, which is why he’ll steer conversation back to the area in which he’s sure and comfortable.
I’d come to unpick Ayoade’s hysterical but slightly farcical book in which he interviews himself. Instead I added one more layer to the self-conscious mess. An interview about interviews to promote an interview where the interviewer is the interviewee, who hates interviews. Or perhaps it’s just another speculative, semi-hostile character portrait.
Ayoade on Ayoade is published by Faber & Faber at £14.99. To order a copy for £11.24 with free UK p&p go to bookshop.theguardian.com
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“Travel Man,” Richard Ayoade’s Travel Show for People Who Hate Travel
By Sarah Larson
There are many kinds of travel shows—just as there are many kinds of travellers—and many ways in which they can intrigue or repel us. This summer, I watched quite a few, as I was taking an uncharacteristically ambitious trip and wanted a sense of what I was in for. I set my DVR to auto-record shows about Copenhagen, the Faroe Islands, Tuscany, and France, and then marvelled at the breadth of its harvest. There was “ The Wine Show ,” in which the actors Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys bopped around Tuscany, sampling vintages and rolling a wine barrel up a hill; the peppily question-and-answer-filled “ Curious Traveler ,” with Christine van Blokland, punctuated with “Huh?” and “Ah!” sound effects; “ Parts Unknown ,” Anthony Bourdain ’s singular cultural reconnaissance via food; and the ubiquitous Rick Steves , bringing his bountiful tips and deflatingly Stevesian sensibility to every corner of Europe. All of this was informative but alienating: these travellers were nothing like me, and I wouldn’t travel like them. It was hard to imagine myself in their shoes. Then I discovered “Travel Man.”
“ Travel Man: 48 Hours in . . . ” is a British series in which the comedian, writer, actor, and director Richard Ayoade spends forty-eight hours in a city, accompanied by various friends—“some of the most available and affordable names in light ent,” as he puts it—and tells us about what to do there. “Mini-breaks are a swirling nebula of nonsense!” he says at the top of “ Copenhagen ,” during a brisk montage of him in Venice, Copenhagen, Vienna, and Moscow. “How can anyone go somewhere new and be expected to enjoy themselves without a decade to decompress?” Exactly , I thought. This is the show for me. Ayoade is perhaps best known from the beloved British sitcom “ The IT Crowd ,” in which he and Chris O’Dowd co-starred as I.T. guys, and for his films “ Submarine ” (2010) and “ The Double ” (2013), which he wrote and directed. “Travel Man” began in 2015, as a spinoff of a show called “ Gadget Man ,” which Ayoade had taken over, as host, from Stephen Fry . He’s far more ubiquitous in the U.K. than he is in the States, but he seems due for an American embiggening .
On “Travel Man,” Ayoade is fun to look at (snappy suits, thick-framed glasses, expression of amused diffidence) and fun to listen to. (Of a monastery turned hotel in Naples, he says, “As well as modish guff, like a rooftop pool and a spa, it retains attractive old shiz, like staircases dug into the hillside.”) His persona is warmly amused, broadly skeptical, and gently astringent—i.e., British. He’s not a joiner. His intros conclude with him saying, in that episode’s particular city and with that episode’s particular guest, “We’re here, but should we have come?” It’s a refreshing tone for a travel series—somewhere between jumping in with both feet and looking askance at everything on earth, including the notion of fun on a weekend getaway. Where Rick Steves adopts an attitude of agreeable derring-do—in Siena, while wearing a Drago contrada neckerchief at a Drago contrada feast before the inter- contrada horse race, Steves says, “Even if I don’t fully understand what’s happening, the excitement is contagious and the wine is delightful!”—Ayoade does things like approach a toboggan on a snowy Norwegian hillside while muttering, “Generally, anything that requires a helmet, I avoid.” He makes it known that he’s happiest in bookstores, not in pre-vomit scenarios or places where lots of people are screaming, and then dutifully boards a hundred-year-old wooden roller coaster in Tivoli Gardens, looking apprehensive.
“Travel Man” is helpful, too. Ayoade gives practical information up top, such as the city’s population, the annual number of tourists, and historic cultural distinctions—which include, for Copenhagen, “Hans Christian Andersen, Sandi Toksvig , Lego, the pedal bin, and my old adversary, the pH scale.” Little price tags pop up onscreen to indicate how many pounds things cost—flights, hotels, food, handy gear. Whether it’s relevant to you or not, the practical information helps create a vivid impression. Ayoade and his guest tend to stay in hotels that are unusual and fancier than I can afford, but pleasing to vicariously enjoy. “The luxury Belvedere suite offers a well-wide view of Vienna, as well as a display hammock,” Ayoade says, entering his hotel room. “But I have no time for display hammocks!” He bats aside the hammock as he breezes past it. “Unpacking squanders time and is a bourgeois indulgence,” he says, briskly hanging up his clothes rack-cum-duffel bag (“£90 approx”). He sometimes claims the fancier lodgings for himself, part of an amusing recurring tactic of being discourteous to his companion. (His comic rudeness can remind me of Jemaine on “ Flight of the Conchords ,” if Jemaine were not such a dim bulb.) In Vienna, Ayoade has “arranged something bespoke,” outside, for Chris O’Dowd: an Airstream trailer from 1952. (“I know how much you like to be near a major highway,” he says.) In Marrakech, when Stephen Mangan, trying to navigate them out of an alley, says, “My map says that way, but my heart says that way,” Ayoade, beaming, replies, “Let’s go with the map, rather than your rotten heart.”
Having a companion join in, besides providing “the illusion of bonhomie,” as Ayoade says, is a smart way to offset the slightly embarrassing explanatory nature of a travel show—there’s less of a false intimacy between viewer and host. Instead, we see Ayoade and friend in action together, bombing around town via bicycle, funicular, hot rod, tank taxi, horse-drawn carriage, camel, Vespa, or tuk-tuk (“Lisbon’s steep slopin’ need not ruin your scopin’,” he says). The show’s editing of their adventures is energetic, occasionally near-Eisensteinian; it feels efficient and encourages the notion, however accurate, that travel is bracing and jolly. Ayoade and friend combine visiting attractions that we would expect, like the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (“It calls for a brief pause in glibness”), with the less expected: golfing in Tenerife, a doll hospital in Lisbon , a cave tour in Slovenia. The show’s most famous scene is undoubtedly its hair-raising trip to a Vienna snow-globe museum —I’ll let you discover it for yourself—but that episode features an equally funny scene at the Sigmund Freud Museum, during a conversation involving Darth Vader’s helmet.
“Travel Man” is not necessarily best enjoyed in a binge. (There are nine short seasons and three Christmas specials.) Too much at once can highlight the effort involved in its stars’ banter, and you occasionally worry that Ayoade’s companion won’t be quite as fun as he is, a worry that is sometimes justified. But enjoyed responsibly, the potent, savory series provides what you most seek from a travel show: a sense of a place and an idea of how you might find yourself in it. It combines TV’s particular efficiency in revealing the sights and sounds of a destination with the sense of what an amiable neurotic might experience there. At this point in my year, having long since returned from my adventures in Europe, I am mere months into the decade I’ll need to decompress from even one fjord. Part of that process involves recreational “Travel Man,” where Ayoade adventures so I don’t have to. “This is the sexiest place on the planet,” a Miami skipper tells him proudly, on a boat tour. “People come here to have a good time and let loose and have fun.”
“Sounds like hell,” Ayoade says.
By Patrick Radden Keefe
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Interview: Richard Ayoade Talks French Cinema
Director, actor, comedian and author Richard Ayoade is a French ‘New Wave’ cinema addict. He speaks exclusively to Florence Derrick about France and the ‘Nouvelle Vague’.
What was your first french holiday.
I went on a short break to Paris with my Mum. I think she thought that it might be fun to watch me try and order food in a café and to see someone asking me to repeat it in English.
What do you remember of the trip?
Generally trying to do too much in too short a period of time. Trying to go to the Louvre, the Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower… you just can’t do everything in two days.
Do you speak much French?
I have a poor grasp of French. I did French ‘A Level’, and if the English subtitles on a French film don’t work for a bit I’m surprised at how much I can follow. But like a lot of people, I have a complete faltering of confidence whenever it comes to actually speaking.
How did you discover French film?
There was a French ‘New Wave’ season on TV, showing films like Zazie dans le Métro and Les Cousins . I remember watching the ‘Three Colours Trilogy’ in the local arts cinema – you could say that they’re French films even though the director [Krzysztof Kieslowski] is Polish. Then it was a matter of methodically going through all of the major New Wave directors: Rohmer, Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol.
Was there one particular film that really struck a chord with you?
Probably Zazie dans le Métro . That film I just really loved, and still love now. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen and I’ve never seen anything like it again. I don’t think that there’s anything close to it in tone and in how it looked. That kind of film stock, 1960s Paris in colour, filmed on location but with things feeling quite hand-held.
What aspects of the New Wave style appeal to you?
There’s something fascinating about taking an interest in American cinema but doing it with lower resources. Doing tracking shots from wheelchairs and attempting to match the Hitchcock mise en scène , framing and shot juxtaposition, but in a smaller story. Like in The 400 Blows , which isn’t international suspense and intrigue, but is just about a boy.
French New Wave films take that knowledge of cinema and use what it’s good at. There’s an energy to them and a sense of freedom. A sense that there’s no definite way of doing things, combined with actually knowing how things have been done in the past.
Do you follow contemporary French film directors?
What’s the best French film from the past five years?
Gosh, it’s hard to say. Amour by Haneke was pretty great.
Finally, do you have a favourite French food?
Right. What would be considered specifically French?
You know – frogs’ legs?
Okay. What’s your favourite French food?
Probably a type of cheese…
Okay. I’ll go with that. That seems good, yes.
● Richard has recently published his first book, Ayaode on Ayoade: a Cinematic Odyssey – for more details, please visit www.faber.co.uk
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By florence derrick.
With a BA in French and History of Art from the University of Bristol, Florence spent a year living in Paris, studying Art History at the Sorbonne and working in publishing. She travels regularly back to France for both work and pleasure. Florence's passion for France revolves around its gastronomy, art and pleasure-seeking lifestyle, and the rebellious streak found only in a nation constantly looking for an excuse to go on strike!
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Birth Name: Richard Ellef Ayoade
Birth Place: Whipps Cross, London, England
Profession Actor, writer, director