Richard Ayoade

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Richard Ayoade

Ayoade at the Soho Hotel, London, March 7, 2011
BornRichard Ellef Ayoade
(1977-06-12) 12 June 1977 (age 35)
Whipps Cross, London, England
ResidenceGipsy Hill, South London
Alma materCambridge University
OccupationActor, comedian, writer, director
Years active1998–present
Notable work(s)

Dean Learner in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

"Maurice Moss" in The IT Crowd
SpouseLydia Fox[1] (2007–present)
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Richard Ayoade

Ayoade at the Soho Hotel, London, March 7, 2011
BornRichard Ellef Ayoade
(1977-06-12) 12 June 1977 (age 35)
Whipps Cross, London, England
ResidenceGipsy Hill, South London
Alma materCambridge University
OccupationActor, comedian, writer, director
Years active1998–present
Notable work(s)

Dean Learner in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

"Maurice Moss" in The IT Crowd
SpouseLydia Fox[1] (2007–present)

Richard Ellef Ayoade (play /.ˈɑːd/ eye-oh-WA-deh, born 12 June 1977) is an English comedian, actor, writer and director, best known for his roles as Dean Learner in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Maurice Moss in The IT Crowd.[2]


Early life

Ayoade was born in Whipps Cross, London,[3] the only child of a Norwegian mother, Dagny, and a Nigerian father, Layide Ade Laditi Ayoade.[4][5][6] The family moved to Ipswich in Suffolk when he was young.[2] Ayoade studied at St. Joseph's College[citation needed] in Ipswich and later studied law at St Catharine's College, Cambridge (1995–1998) where he won the Martin Steele Prize for play production[7] and was president of the Footlights from 1997 to 1998.[8]


While in Footlights, Ayoade acted in and wrote many shows. He and Footlights vice-president John Oliver wrote two pantomimes together: Sleeping Beauty, and Grimm Fairy Tales. Ayoade acted in both Footlights' 1997 and 1998 touring shows: Emotional Baggage and Between a Rock and a Hard Place (directed by Cal McCrystal).[9]

Garth Marenghi

Ayoade co-wrote the stage show Garth Marenghi's Fright Knight with Matthew Holness, whom he also met at the Footlights, appearing in the show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2000 where it was nominated for a Perrier Award.[10] In 2001 he won the Perrier Comedy Award for co-writing and performing in the sequel to Fright Knight, Garth Marenghi's Netherhead.

In 2004 Ayoade and Holness took the Marenghi character to Channel 4, creating the spoof horror comedy series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. He directed and also appeared as Dean Learner, Garth's publisher, who plays Thornton Reed, a hospital administrator who bears a trademark shotgun and answers to hospital boss "Won Ton".

Ayoade's Darkplace character, Dean Learner, was resurrected in 2006 to host a comedy chat show, Man to Man with Dean Learner, on Channel 4. The different guests were played each week by Holness.

The Mighty Boosh

In The Boosh radio series Richard played the part of Tommy Nooka in the second episode, Jungle, originally aired on 23 October, 2001. Ayoade was part of the original cast of Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding's The Mighty Boosh: he was selected to play the role of dangerous villain Dixon Bainbridge. However, by the time the radio series transferred to television he was under contract by Channel 4 and was only able to act in the pilot before leaving the Boosh. The part was taken by fellow Darkplace actor and eventual "IT Crowd" costar Matt Berry. He later returned in the second series, to play the part of the belligerent shaman Saboo, where he improvised the line 'an erotic adventurer of the most deranged kind' when describing Kirk, a fellow shaman played by Noel Fielding's girlfriend's nephew. Ayoade continued his association with The Mighty Boosh in the third series, acting as script editor and also reprising his role of Saboo in the episodes "Eels", "Nanageddon", "The Strange Tale of the Crack Fox" and "Party".

The IT Crowd

Ayoade is now a recognisable face in Britain owing to his role as the technically brilliant but socially awkward Maurice Moss in Channel 4's The IT Crowd. In 2008 he won the award for an outstanding actor in a television comedy series at Monte-Carlo Television Festival for his performance. Also in 2008, Ayoade co-starred with Joel McHale in an unaired Americanisation of The IT Crowd pilot, reprising his character without any changes to his appearance or character.


In 2010, Ayoade released his debut directorial feature, Submarine, a coming-of-age comedy-drama film adapted from the 2008 novel of the same name by Joe Dunthorne. The film stars newcomers Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige with Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine. The film was produced by Warp Films and Film4 and musician Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys contributed five original songs to the soundtrack.

The film premiered at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010.[11] Following a generally positive reception it was picked up by the Weinstein Company for a North American release.[12] The film also played at the 54th London Film Festival in October 2010 and was played out of competition at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011.[13][14] It was also screened along with 400 other films at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival the next month.[15] It went on general release in the UK on March 18 and was released on June 3 in the US. It won the 2011 London Awards for Art and Performance. Ayoade was also nominated for a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer at the 65th British Academy Film Awards.

Music video work

Ayoade has directed videos for the Arctic Monkeys ("Fluorescent Adolescent", "Crying Lightning" and "Cornerstone"), Super Furry Animals ("Run Away", which has Matt Berry in the lead role.[16]), the Last Shadow Puppets ("Standing Next to Me" and "My Mistakes Were Made For You"), Vampire Weekend ("Oxford Comma" and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"), as well as videos for Kasabian ("Vlad the Impaler", which starred Noel Fielding) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs ("Heads Will Roll").

In 2007 he directed a live Arctic Monkeys DVD entitled At the Apollo, which was recorded at the Manchester Apollo. It was previewed at Vue cinemas across the UK during October 2008 and was released on DVD the following month, winning the "Best DVD" title at the NME Awards that year.

Other work

In 2005, he played the role of Ned Smanks in Chris Morris' and Charlie Brooker's Nathan Barley. Ayoade also directed, co-wrote and co-starred (with fellow Darkplace and IT Crowd cast member Matt Berry) in AD/BC: A Rock Opera, and has appeared on T4. He helped write The Mighty Book of Boosh, along with Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Rich Fulcher, Dave Brown and Michael Fielding. He is also featured in Paul King's film, Bunny and the Bull, where he plays the role of an extremely boring museum tour guide.[17]

In November 2007, Ayoade appeared on Channel 4's The Big Fat Anniversary Quiz, which marked the channel's 25th anniversary. In January 2011, he appeared on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2010.[18] In March 2011, Ayoade directed the episode Critical Film Studies in season 2 of Community. Ayoade directed comedian Tommy Tiernan's world stand-up tour, Crooked Man, which was released in November 2011.[19]

Ayoade starred in the American comedy film The Watch (2012), alongside Submarine producer Ben Stiller. He will direct a new comedy, The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska.[20][21] He also plays the character 'City Gent' in the show Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy.[22]

Personal life

On 8 September 2007, Ayoade married actress Lydia Fox. They live in Gipsy Hill, South London.



2003–2007The Mighty BooshSaboo5 episodes
Writer for 1 episode
2004Garth Marenghi's DarkplaceDean Learner / Thornton Reed6 episodes
Writer, director
2005Nathan BarleyNed Smanks6 episodes
2006Man to Man with Dean LearnerDean Learner6 episodes
Writer, director, executive producer
2006Time TrumpetHimself6 episodes
2006Snuff BoxMusic show host2 episodes
2006–2011The IT CrowdMaurice Moss24 episodes
2011CommunityDirector, 1 episodeCritical Film Studies
2012Noel Fielding's Luxury ComedyCity gent3 episodes


2003Hello FriendComputer manShort film
2004The Life and Death of Peter SellersWedding photographer
2004AD/BC: A Rock OperaJosephWriter, director
2005FestivalDwight Swan
2009Bunny and the BullMuseum curator
2011SubmarineWriter, director
2012The WatchJamarcus
2012"The Double"Writer, director


2008At the ApolloDirectorArctic Monkeys' live concert film
2011Crooked ManDirectorTommy Tiernan's stand-up tour film


  1. ^ Rebecca Hardy (1 October 2010). "It's not all happy families! Acting legend James Fox on his Lewis star son Laurence - and what he really thinks of daughter-in-law Billie Piper". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Patrick Barkham (2 October 2008). "I really don't think I'm cool". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Nevin, Charles (2005-11-19). "When you're smiling". The Guardian.,11710,1644941,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "1997-1998". Retrieved 2007-10-20. [dead link]
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Richard Ayoade: Meet Mr Modest". 15 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Brad Frenette (07-27-2010). "Toronto International Film Fest announces 2010 lineup". National Post. Retrieved 12-21-2010. 
  12. ^ Diana Lodderhose and Pamela McClintock (09-15-2010). "Weinsteins win 'Submarine' bidding war". Variety. Retrieved 12-21-2010. 
  13. ^ David Gritten (10-07-2010). "London Film Festival preview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12-21-2010. 
  14. ^ Germain Lussier (12-02-2010). "2011 Sundance Film Festival Out of Competition Films Announced". /Film. Retrieved 12-21-2010. 
  15. ^ Scott Roxborough (01-17-2011). "Berlin Announces Forum Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 01-21-2011. 
  16. ^ Rough Trade Records on YouTube
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Sheridan, Colette (28 October 2011). "Far from Hollywood". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Kemp, Stuart (1 February 2012). "Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska Join ‘The Double’ Cast". Hollywood Reporter. 
  21. ^ Kemp, Stuart (February 9, 2012). "Berlin 2012: Studiocanal Takes U.K. Rights to Richard Ayoade's ‘The Double’". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 9, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy". International Movie Database. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 

External links

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Sarah Moule
Footlights President
Succeeded by
Kevin Baker