Alexander Armstrong
    (£16,000 - £20,000)
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Alexander Armstrong ('Xander') is rapidly becoming one of Britain's most familiar faces on comedy shows, most notably in the hilarious Armstrong and Miller Show on the BBC.

Alexander was born in 1970 in Rothbury, Northumberland. He enjoyed an active and idyllic childhood in Northumberland's beautiful Coquet valley, the youngest of three children. His father was the doctor in a rural practice that stretched across 600 square miles and indeed much of the family's life. Not that he's complaining. In fact he owes much of his comedy origins to the many, many characters that make up the weft and weave of rural general practice.

In 1989 he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge on a choral scholarship, where he read English. One of the more conspicuous characters on the Cambridge scene at that time was a young buck named Ben Miller. Ben had bleached white hair and an earring and was the lead singer in the Dear Johns . Alexander never actually knew Ben at Cambridge although their paths did once cross outside a World Party gig. To this day, and rather endearingly, Ben Miller claims to remember this.

On leaving Cambridge, Alexander found that he hadn't spent nearly enough time thinking about his future. But rather than languishing in Northumberland, mowing people's lawns for money, he decided to join several of his Cambridge friends at the TBA sketch comedy club in Notting Hill. It was here that Alexander finally met Ben Miller who, it turns out, was actually alright. Alexander had previously been working in a double act with the excellent David Wolstencroft (who would later go on to create Spooks) but in an act of entirely self-interested and ungentlemanly derring-do he dissolved that double act in order to hitch his wagon to Mr Miller's on the grounds that their comedy styles were much more closely aligned.

Armstrong & Miller was formed and early on established a style of its very own based on the idea that Ben and Xander both fancied themselves to be actors and so loved nothing more than lavishing all their acting-ness on rather slight comic conceits. This pretty much remains their schtick even today.

When Ben and Xander took a sabbatical from the double act after their Channel Four run, Xander branched into sit-com ('Beast') and straight-ish acting in Life Begins alongside the wonderful and fragrant Caroline Quentin. Curiously, Alexander was groomed for the Angus Deayton job following the latter's untimely removal from Have I Got News For You. Although he was not given that job in the event, he has managed to guest-host HIGNFY lots and lots of times and it's through this fortuitous turn of events that he has found himself in the hosting trousers of a number of other TV shows.

Now Ben and Xander find themselves back on telly doing Armstrong & Miller for BBC1. They couldn't be happier.

Currently Ben and Xander are working on their third series for BBC1 and their live show toured in the Autumn of 2010.


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