His father, Ken was born in Co Durham, he married Vera and together took over her family’s greengrocery shop in Quick Road, Chiswick, London. He convinced her that the way forward was to convert the shop into a bookmakers and before long they’d moved to a semi detached house. Mel was born in 1964 and educated at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith. where at the age of 12 he played Falstaff. He was captain of the school rugby team from the 2nd form to the 6th. In 1971 he won a place at New College, Oxford where he studied experimental psychology and lodged at New College Lane which was where Edmund Halley ( of Halley’s comet fame) had his observatory. His attendance record was so bad that he was asked if he was going to get down and do some work for his finals or spend all his time acting and directing. He chose the latter and in 1963 became assistant director at the Royal Court Theatre in London.. Through the mid 70’s he had assistant director jobs around the country until he met actor Bob Goody and together they wrote and directed several productions including ‘Have You Heard the One About Joey Baker’ and ‘The Gambler’ which was revived in London’s West End.. In 1979 they attracted the attention of a television sketch show which they joined doing send ups of shows such as ‘Blue Peter’ then moved onto ‘Not the Nine O’Clock News’ In 1981 Mel and Griff Rhys Jones formed Talk Back Productions starting off with their series ‘Alas Smith and Jones plus such as I’m Alan Partridge’, ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ and ‘They Think It’s All Over’ Mel moved onto producing and directing films such as ‘Radioland Murders’, ‘Bean, the Ultimate Disaster Movie’ and, ‘ The Tall Guy’ ..
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