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|Born||Richard Leslie Vranch
29 June 1959
Frome, England, UK
|Occupation||Comedian, actor, musician|
Vranch graduated from Cambridge University with a PhD in physics. While a first-year doctoral student, he joined the Footlights in 1981 and was a contemporary of Tony Slattery and Neil Mullarkey. He was a researcher at the Cavendish Laboratory and a research fellow at St John's College for nine months before going into comedy full-time.
Vranch improvises comedy on stage with the Comedy Store Players every Wednesday and Sunday at The Comedy Store in London. He has voiced British Airways TV and radio commercials since 2003, and he narrates TV documentaries. He has performed since 1979, and formed a comedy double-act with Tony Slattery in 1981. The duo hosted the Channel 4 quiz The Music Game and over 100 episodes of Cue The Music on ITV. He was the improvising pianist and guitarist on the original British television show Whose Line Is It Anyway? in 1988, but only a small proportion of his work is musical. Vranch co-wrote and performed in The Paul Merton Show at the London Palladium in 1994.
Acting work includes Dogman, The Dead Set, and sketch shows touring the world from Mexico to the Palestinian Territories. He has improvised comedy in the Middle East, Far East and India – 30 countries in all. He has written for stage, radio and TV, and made several animated films with artist Lucy Allen. They have had their cartoons published in Maxim, Punch, and The Spectator.
He presented the children's shows Let's Pretend on ITV and Jackanory on BBC One, and was a contestant on a charity special of The Weakest Link in 2005. He guested on BBC Radio 4's long-running panel game Just a Minute in 1999. In 2002 he was commissioned by Tamasha Theatre (East is East) as a writer for their show Ryman and the Sheik and he still works as an Artistic Associate of the company, linked below.
Vranch hosted his own science series, Beat That Einstein, on Channel 4 in 1994, and has published papers in scientific journals. He discussed the switch-on of the Large Hadron Collider in September 2008 with Jeremy Vine and Simon Singh on BBC Radio 2.
In 2006 he appeared at the Ars Nova theatre, New York. He is currently appearing in his improvised storytelling group The YarnBards and developing a new show for the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2012, with others he toured and supported Paul Merton for Merton's programme, Out Of My Head.