M I C H A E L   K I L G A R R I F F

                        L I F E  AND  CAR E E R

Twenty-six pantomimes (see details below) including three at the London Palladium with such comedy luminaries as Harry Secombe, Frankie Howerd, Dora Bryan, Jimmy Logan, Alfred Marks and Danny La Rue.  Also three seasons in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester with the great Stanley Baxter.  Voice-over work includes: General of the Skeksis in The Dark Crystal, Winston Churchill for a Virgin Trains radio commercial, various characters in Howdi Gaudi, a twenty-six part cartoon series for Fireside Favourites, Death Eater in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and the voice of C. S. Lewis for a DVD documentary add-on for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Disney).  Over six hundred BBC radio drama productions; television work includes appearances with four different Dr Whos, playing Joe Steiner in UFO, The Green King in BBCtv's The Moon Stallion, John Brown to Miriam Margolyes' Queen Victoria in Channel 4's Without Walls, the social reformer Charles Booth in Tales from the Map-Room (BBC2) and the Music Hall Chairman in Tipping the Velvet.  Until retirement his deep and distinctive voice kept him in demand for cartoons, film dubbing, audio books, video games and radio and television commercials.  Appeared as Chairman/pianist in Michael Wood's The Story of England (BBCtv), and was interviewed at the piano by Michael Grade in The Story of Music Hall (BBCtv) and by Frank Skinner in What a Performance! (BBC2).  Also interviewed on Music Hall history by Dave Myers for BBC2's The Hairy Builder.


Michael Kilgarriff was born 1937 in Brighton, Sussex, England, a holiday resort fifty-two miles due south of London.  An only but happy child of devoted parents; educated Xaverian College, Preston Park, Brighton (Confraternity of St Francis Xavier).  1953-6 worked ingloriously and wretchedly as junior clerk for Barclays Bank at Shoreham, Steyning, and Lancing. 

      Escaped to Argyle Theatre, Birkenhead, for first job as an actor through ability to play piano a schools tour of Alice in Wonderland playing six characters and accompanying the songs and dances. At 6' 5" the tallest  March Hare in the business. 

      Then followed years of repertory (York, Windsor, Bristol Old Vic, etc., etc), television dramas and light entertainment shows, plus the huge break of appearing as The Ogre in Humpty Dumpty at the London Palladium for the 1959/60 season.  Tours and plays include The Sorrows of Frederick with Tom Conti and She's Done It Again! at the Garrick Theatre with Brian Rix.

      In 1964 began appearing in Music Hall at the legendary Green Man pub in Greenwich, also joined the BBC Drama Repertory Company for the first of three two-year engagements, acting in radio broadcasts as diverse as Cyrano de Bergerac with Sir Ralph Richardson, Othello with Paul Scofield, The Winter's Tale with Dame Edith Evans, The Dales, The Archers, The Morecambe & Wise Show and Listen with Mother.  1964 was also memorable for meeting Sarah Greatorex, a production assistant in the Radio Drama Department at Broadcasting House; four years later they were to marry (see below).  Their daughter is actor Rebecca Kilgarriff; her partner Nigel Barrett is also on the stage and they in turn have a daughter Greta, born 2009.  

      In 1966 first appeared in BBCtv's Dr Who as CyberController with Patrick Troughton.  Further roles in the series were Second Ogron (Jon Pertwee as the Doctor), The Robot (Tom Baker), and again the CyberController (Colin Baker).  Still regularly receiving fan-mail, attending conventions and recording Dr Who audiobooks. 

      That same year went into management with fellow actor and Music Hall enthusiast the late Johnny Dennis, putting on theatre and corporate shows all over UK and in Sweden; also presented shipboard entertainment for Holland-America and P&O.  Johnny was Best Man at Michael and Sarah's wedding in San Rafael, California, in 1968.  Another exciting venture was a revival of Beyond the Fringe in the UK and at the Marines' Memorial Theatre in San Francisco. 

      While working on the film Camelot in Spain wrote an eight-part radio dramatisation for BBC radio of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, still a best selling CD.  Many scripts for radio and television followed, including a survey of the monologue for BBC R4 entitled Talking to Oneself, broadcast in February 2000.  Published books include The Golden Age of Melodrama (Samuel French),  Sing Us One of the Old Songs (OUP), Grace, Beauty & Banjos (Oberon Press), Back Stages (CallioPress) etc., etc.  See Publications below for full list.

      Miscellaneous engagements include the Clown in Brecht/Hindemith's Lesson on Consent at the Brighton and the City of London Festivals, and Father Christmas in Down by the Greenwood Side directed by its composer (Sir) Harrison Birtwistle for a BBC Promenade Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.  PA work includes business conferences all over the UK, also gigs as far afield as Palma and New Orleans.

       In the entire existence of the Players' Theatre Club (1929-2002) Michael Kilgarriff is the only person to have worked in its Music Hall shows at Charing Cross as a solo artiste, as Mr Chairman, as accompanist and as producer.  His illustrated lecture at the piano on the history of the Music Hall has been seen everywhere from Bolton Public Library to the QE2. 

       Lives with Sarah in Ealing, a part of West London known as The Queen of the Suburbs

       Member of: British Equity and the British Music Hall Society. 


At The
                Players' Theatre 1980
As Mr Chairman at The Players' Theatre Club 1980











Capt. Will Atkins 

Slave of the Lamp 

Little John

The Ogre 






Robinson Crusoe


Robin Hood

Humpty Dumpty



Puss in Boots


Tom Thumb

Playhouse, Kidderminster

Repertory, Colchester

Pavilion, Liverpool

London Palladium

Palace, Manchester

Empire, Liverpool

Coventry, Coventry

New, Cardiff

Alhambra, Bradford

l965-l973   Musical Director, Ipswich; two stints with BBC Drama Repertory Company and nine months in She Done It Again! with Brian Rix at the Garrick Theatre; also entertaining on two winter cruises with own company.


















Giant Blunderbore 

Henchman & Giant 



Slave of the Lamp 

Wizard Zarrabad 

Slave of the Lamp 

Henchman & Giant 



Squire Ben Black 

Emperor of 

Musical Director 


Musical Director 

Jack & the Beanstalk





Sinbad the Sailor


Jack & the Beanstalk




Dick Whittington

Little Fanny's Revenge


Yuppity Dumpty


London Palladium

Hippodrome, Bristol

King's, Edinburgh

King's, Glasgow

Opera House, Manchester

London Palladium

King's, Glasgow

Hippodrome, Bristol

King's, Edinburgh

King's, Glasgow

Empire, Sunderland

Theatre Royal, Norwich

Players', Charing Cross

Canal Café, Maida Vale

Connaught, Worthing

Canal Café, Maida Vale

                 1989/90   BBC Radio Drama Company







Mr Chairman 


King Rat 

Mr Chairman 


Knave of Hearts/
Grand Old Duke 
of York

Victorian Music Hall


Dick Whittington

Victorian Music Hall


Humpty Dumpty

The Mill, Sonning


Churchill, Bromley

Watermill, Newbury

Players', Charing Cross

Waterman's, Brentford

2000/1 Abanazer Aladdin Palace, Watford



Sundry abridgements and dramatisations including Reuben's Corner by Spike Mays, Death to the French by C.S. Forester, Act of Love by Celia Dale, The Anxious Conspirator by Michael Underwood, and The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White. Eight-part dramatisation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit a continuing best-seller for BBC Worldwide.



In Print: Publisher
Three Melodramas 

It Gives Me Great Pleasure 

Three More Melodramas 

Three Comedy Sketches 

It Gives Me Further Pleasure 

Sing Us One Of The Old Songs 

Grace, Beauty & Banjos

Back Stages

Samuel French 1970

Samuel French 1972

Samuel French 1973

Samuel French 1983

Samuel French 1996

Oxford University Press 1998

Oberon Books 1998
CallioPress 2010 

 Available only in US from Ballantine:

1,000 Jokes for Kids 
1,000 Knock Knock Jokes for Kids 

1,000 More Jokes for Kids 

More Stupid Jokes For Kids 

Oh No! Not Another 1,000 Jokes for Kids 

Out of Print:

Comic Speeches for All Occasions 

The Golden Age of Melodrama 

Humpty Dumpty (children's play) 

Make 'Em Laugh 

Make 'Em Roar (Vols 1 & 2)

Music Hall Miscellany

The Musical Joke Book 

1,000 Jokes For Functions 

Wolfe 1974  (Ward Lock 1979)  

Ward Lock 1982    

Ward Lock 1983 

Futura 1978 

Wolfe 1974 

Kenyon-Deane 1977 

Wolfe 1973 

Samuel French 1979

Samuel French 1977

Fentone 1981

Wolfe 1975