Biography: Ben Elton

Ben Elton was a central figure in the alternative comedy scene in Britain in the 1980s, and his success has continued as he branched out into stage, novel writing, and musicals. Ben Elton is one of the most successful and long term comedic writers and performers in the world.


Benjamin Charles Elton was born on the 3rd of May 1959 in Catford, London. His family are extremely academic, including university professors and historians. He is the youngest of four children.

He attended Stillness Junior School, and then Godalming Grammar School where he joined the amateur dramatics society and wrote his first play. Although he wanted to become a stagehand at a local theatre, he decided to pursue dramatic arts more academically, and studied drama at Manchester University from 1977 to 1980. It was here that he encountered Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson.

He began his career in standup comedy soon after graduating from university. He also began writing comedy, and quickly became one of the central figures in the alternative British comedy scene of the 1980s. He also became a successful comedic novelist, placing political messages within his earlier novels and more recently, social critiques.

Elton has won several awards, including the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain Gold Dagger Award for fiction for his novel Popcorn, WH Smith's People Choice Fiction Award for his novel High Society, the TMA Barclays Theatre Award for best new play and the Olivier Award for best comedy for the stage play Popcorn. Ben Elton was also made a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2007.

Ben Elton is married to Sophie Gare, and Australian saxophonist. Elton recently received dual citizenship with Australia, and he and his wife split their time between Australia and London. They have three children.



  • Alfresco (1982-1983) written by and occasional appearances within
  • The Young Ones (1984) written by and occasional appearances within
  • Happy Families (1985) written by
  • Filty, Rich and Catflap (1986) written by
  • BlackAdder II (1987) written by
  • Saturday Live/Friday Night Live (1987-1988) starred in and hosted
  • BlackAdder the Third (1988) written by
  • BlackAdder Goes Forth (1990) written by
  • The Man From Auntie (1990, 1994) written and performed by
  • The Thin Blue Line (1996) written by
  • The Ben Elton Show (1998) written by and starred in
  • Blessed (2005) written by
  • Get a Grip (2007) written by and starred in


  • Teenage Kicks


  • Stark (1993) co-directed, wrote, starred in
  • Maybe Baby (2000) wrote and directed


  • Stark (1989)
  • Gridlock (1991)
  • This Other Eden (1993)
  • Popcorn (1996)
  • Blast from the Past (1998)
  • Inconceivable (1999)
  • Dead Famous (2001)
  • High Society (2002)
  • Past Mortem (2004)
  • The First Casualty (2005)
  • Chart Throb (2006)
  • Blind Faith (2007)


  • The Beautiful Game (2003) wrote book and lyrics
  • We Will Rock You (2003) written by


  • Gasping (1990)
  • Silly Cow (1991)
  • Popcorn (1996)
  • Blast From the Past (1998)


Ben Elton is first and foremost a comedian, and therefore falls very clearly into the humour and comedy genres. However, in his writing he has branched out and dabbled in other genres, such as crime fiction and war.