Simon Farnaby

Simon Farnaby (born 2 April 1973) is an English actor, writer, and comedian best known as a member of the British Horrible Histories troupe in which he starred in the TV series Horrible Histories, Yonderland and Ghosts. He has written and starred in films such as Mindhorn and Paddington 2, and in the BBC sitcom Detectorists.

Simon Farnaby
Simon Farnaby at the 2011 Children's BAFTAs.
Born (1973-04-02) 2 April 1973
OccupationActor, writer, comedian
Years active1994–present

Early life

Farnaby was born in Darlington, County Durham.[1] and attended Richmond School, North Yorkshire.


Farnaby is a long-time member of The Mighty Boosh supporting cast, having had roles both in their series and co-starring in the quasi-spinoff film Bunny and the Bull. He is also well known for his similarly offbeat characters in the CBBC live-action series of Horrible Histories, such as Caligula and the Grim Reaper. Other notable television work includes a recurring role on the sitcom Jam & Jerusalem and co-starring as eccentric neighbour Sloman on The Midnight Beast's TV series. He previously had a very brief role in Coronation Street in the 1990s.

Along with journalist Scott Murray, Farnaby co-wrote The Phantom of the Open, a biography of Maurice Flitcroft, a would-be professional golfer whose unsuccessful attempts to qualify for the Open Championship led to him being described as "the world's worst golfer". The book was published in 2010.[2]

Along with the five other principal members of the cast of Horrible Histories, Farnaby is also the co-creator, writer and star of Yonderland, an eight-part family fantasy comedy series that premiered on Sky One on 10 November 2013. The show ended in 2016, with three series and a Christmas special.[3] He co-starred with the same troupe in Bill, a 2015 BBC comedy film based loosely around the early life of William Shakespeare.[4][5]

In 2013, Farnaby presented a documentary entitled Richard III: The King in the Car Park, tracing the discovery and identification of the remains of the last Plantagenet king. The next year, Farnaby presented another Channel 4 documentary series entitled Man Vs Weird, in which he travelled the world investigating people who claim superhuman abilities.

In mid-2014, Farnaby narrated a series on Channel 5 called On the Yorkshire Buses, following East Yorkshire Motor Services.[6]

In 2016, Farnaby co-wrote Mindhorn with Julian Barratt, a comedy about Richard Thorncroft (Barratt), a faded television actor drawn into negotiations with a criminal who believes his character Detective Mindhorn is real. Farnaby also has a small acting role as Clive Parnevik.

In December 2016, Farnaby had a small role in Rogue One, as an X-Wing Pilot.

In February 2017 Farnaby stated that he was working on a film script based on his biography of Maurice Flitcroft.[2]

In 2017, Farnaby co-wrote Paddington 2 with Paul King. Farnaby had a small role in both the first film and its sequel.

Personal life

Farnaby is married to actress Claire Keelan. On 10 November 2013, in a Radio Times article about Yonderland, it was revealed that Farnaby was about to become a father.[7] Later that year, Keelan gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter.



Year Title Role Notes
2004Fat SlagsVentriloquist
Blake's Junction 7TerryShort film
2009Bunny and the BullBunny
2010Burke & HareWilliam Wordsworth
2011Your HighnessManious the Bold
2013All StarsForeman
2016MindhornClive ParnevikAlso writer
Rogue OneX-wing pilot Farns MonsbeeBlue Five
2017Paddington 2BarryAlso writer
2018Christopher RobinTaxi Driver


Year Title Role Notes
1994The House of Windsor Sean Sutcliffe1 episode
1996Coronation StreetGreg Bamfield1 episode
2004–2007The Mighty BooshVarious characters3 episodes
2005The Lenny Henry ShowTwyford1 episode
SpoonsVarious Characters6 episodes
2006Blunder6 episodes
2006–2009Jam & JerusalemSamuel "Spike" Pike12 episodes
2007Comedy CutsWerewolf1 episode
The Yellow HouseHenriTV movie
StrutterVarious2 episodes
2008M.I. HighJames Blond1 episode
The Golf WarStuart OgilvyFailed pilot
Angelo'sKris6 episodes
LifeSpam: My Child is FrenchVariousFailed pilot
2009–2013Horrible HistoriesVarious characters65 episodes
2010The PersuasionistsKeaton6 episodes
Comedy LabOld Man1 episode
2011Dick and Dom's Funny BusinessVarious characters1 episode
Horrible Histories' Big Prom PartyVarious charactersOne-off special
2012Dave ShakespeareDave ShakespeareFailed pilot
2012–presentThe Midnight BeastSloman10 episodes
2013UtopiaMarcus1 episode
2013Not Going OutScott1 episode
Richard III: The King in the Car ParkPresenterDocumentary
Richard III: The Unseen StoryNarratorDocumentary
2013–2016YonderlandVarious characters25 episodes
2013CrackanoryRobert Pickle1 episode
2014Man Vs WeirdHimself3 episodes
On the Yorkshire BusesNarrator8 episodes
Noel Fielding's Luxury ComedyGeorge Orwell1 episode
2014-15DetectoristsArt7 episodes
2015House of FoolsHealth Inspector1 episode
Horrible HistoriesVarious characters12 episodes
Top CoppersDr Schäfer2 episodes
2017QuacksDr Flowers1 episode
2019This Time with Alan PartridgeSam Chatwin1 episode
GhostsJulian Fawcett MP6 episodes


  1. Simon Farnaby on IMDb
  2. Richardson, Jay (24 February 2017). "The world's worst golfer, coming to cinemas". Chortle. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  3. "Sky1 to visit Yonderland". Sky1 website. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  4. "Stars of Horrible Histories to make Shakespeare film". BBC Media Centre. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  5. "Bill: production details". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  6. "On The Yorkshire Buses". Ear ache voices. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  7. Armstrong, Stephen. "Yonderland: We wanted to raid the dressing up box and speak in silly voices". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company Limited. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
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