Antony Gordon Hawksworth, MBE, known professionally as Tony Hawks, is a British comedian and author.
Hawks in 2003
Antony Gordon Hawksworth
|Known for||Morris Minor and the Majors, "Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime)", Playing the Moldovans at Tennis, Round Ireland with a Fridge|
Born in Brighton, East Sussex, Hawks was educated at Brighton Hove and Sussex Grammar School and Brighton College. He stated during an appearance on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue that he had briefly attended the University of Manchester.
After leaving a drama degree at Manchester University prematurely, Hawks appeared in the West End musical Lennon - A Musical Biography at The Astoria. By 1988, before he found chart success, he was already appearing in BBC Radio 4's Big Fun Show with Paul Merton, John Irwin and Josie Lawrence.
Hawks first attempted to break into show business as a singer-songwriter, but it was with a novelty record that he had his first brush with fame. As leader of the trio Morris Minor and the Majors, he reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart with the Beastie Boys parody, "Stutter Rap (No Sleep til Bedtime)" in 1988. It went on to sell 220,000 copies, and reached a peak of number two in Australia. The follow-up, a pastiche of Stock Aitken Waterman called "This Is the Chorus", fared less well.
A TV television series followed from this, Morris Minor's Marvellous Motors, written by and starring Hawks. In it the fictional bandleader attempted to maintain his pop career while running a garage. It ran for one series in 1989 on BBC One.
Hawks performs stand-up comedy, and is a regular on TV and radio panel games in the UK, including I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Just a Minute, The Unbelievable Truth and Have I Got News for You, although he first came to prominence as one of two resident performers — the other was Jo Brand — on semi-successful BBC monologue show The Brain Drain.
He has also appeared in Red Dwarf in a number of supporting roles, on several occasions as a voice artist for intelligent machines. Hawks provided the voice of a vending machine in "Future Echoes" and "Waiting for God" and the voice of a suitcase in "Stasis Leak", and appeared on screen as The Guide in "Better Than Life", The Compere in "Backwards", and Caligula in "Meltdown". On 29 May 2009, Hawks featured in an episode of "Carpool", with his Red Dwarf co-star Robert Llewellyn. Craig Charles stated that he was called the 4th/5th "Dwarfer" due to his appearances on the show.
He also provided the voice-over for a restaurant advertisement in the episode "Me²", although this role was uncredited. In the first few seasons of Red Dwarf, Hawks performed a warm-up act for the live audience before taping began. He has appeared as a pundit in the television series Grumpy Old Men and as a contestant on the BBC quiz show School's Out.
In November 2010, he was a guest on a number of TV and radio programmes to discuss the film version of Round Ireland with a Fridge, including Simon Mayo's BBC Radio 2 show, "Loose Ends", BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Scotland. He was also a contestant on a special edition of Mastermind for Children in Need; featured as part of Comic Relief 2011.
In March 2011, he travelled to Japan to appear at the Okinawa International Movie Festival where Round Ireland with a Fridge was nominated for Best Comedy. In late 2011, Hawks completed his first national theatre tour for a decade, taking his one-man show, 'Random Fun' to 30 towns and cities around the UK. He was also a guest on many television and radio shows during the tour including BBC Breakfast and The Wright Stuff.
In August 2013, he, as well as many other comedians appeared in the television adaptation of the Radio show Just a Minute for the 45th anniversary of the show.
Hawks has written seven books:
- Round Ireland with a Fridge: His first book was an account of his attempt to hitchhike around Ireland with a fridge to win a bar bet. It sold over 800,000 copies.
- Playing the Moldovans at Tennis: His second book, also the result of a drunken bet (with the comedian Arthur Smith), this time involved an attempt to beat each member of the Moldova national football team in a game of tennis, based on the theory that people good at one sport aren't necessarily good at others.
- One Hit Wonderland: His third book, describes his attempt, over 10 years after his first, to write a second hit song. This culminates in him performing on Albanian television with Norman Wisdom and Tim Rice.
- A Piano in the Pyrenees: The Ups and Downs of an Englishman in the French Mountains: An account of his purchase of a house in the Pyrenees in the south of France, after deciding that the two things he wanted in life were to meet his soul mate, and to purchase an "idyllic house abroad somewhere abroad".
- The Fridge Hiker's Guide to Life.
- Once Upon a Time in the West...Country
- The A to Z of Skateboarding Published 13 June 2019 by Unbound. For more than twenty years, Tony Hawks has been mistaken for Tony Hawk, the American skateboarder. Even though it is abundantly clear on his website that he is an English comedian and author, people still write to him asking the best way to do a kickflip or land a melon and the new book contains his responses.
The film was shot in London, West Wales, the Surrey Hills and Ireland in 2009. It was directed by Ed Bye and the producers were Tony Hawks, Simon Sharkey and Greg Macmanus, the cinematographer was John Sorapure and the film editor was Mark Wybourn. The film premiered at the Cambridge Film Festival and was released on DVD on 8 November 2010.
It was co-directed by Hawks and Mikolaj Jaroszewicz, cinematographer on the Oscar winning Peter and the Wolf, and edited by Christopher White. Production design was by Edward Lidster and Vlad Lozovan, sound by Ludovic Lassare and lighting by Tim Jordan.
It was the first British feature film to be made in Moldova, with additional filming in London, Belfast and Israel and it premiered with a special charity screening at the Odeon West End in Leicester Square on 21 June 2012
Hawks appeared in two West End productions in the 1980s as an actor/musician, Pump Boys and Dinettes and Lennon. He also acted in A Slight Case of Murder at The Nottingham Playhouse and in The Dice House at The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.
He was a finalist for three consecutive years in the 1980s for the Vivien Ellis prize for Young Composers for the Musical Stage.
Hawks staged a special charity performance of his comedy musical Midlife Cowboy at the Lyric Theatre in London on 25 April 2016. It starred Hawks, Jack Dee, Doon Mackichan, Ben Miller, Alistair McGowan and Charlotte Page. Proceeds from the performance were donated to the Tony Hawks Care Home in Moldova.
Hawks donated half of the royalties from his book Playing the Moldovans at Tennis to a trust fund for Moldova, which was used to open the Hippocrates Centre, a medical centre that provides rehabilitative therapy for disabled children from socially vulnerable families. Hawks continues to support Hippocrates through fundraising and personal involvement and was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours "for services to disadvantaged children in Moldova".
Proceeds from the film version of Playing the Moldovans at Tennis also go to the Care Home.
He won the British Actors Equity Tennis Tournament for three years running.
He is frequently confused with pro-skateboarder Tony Hawk, largely because the latter's video game franchise uses the possessive apostrophe ("Tony Hawk's"). Hawks maintains a list of emails intended for the skateboarder and his mischievous responses to them, on his website. On 2 January 2008, he appeared on an edition of Celebrity Mastermind, with Tony Hawk as his chosen specialist subject. Hawks noted that his correspondents "might be able to do backside varials but they can't spell to save their lives".
- "Tony Hawks". Findmypast.co.uk.
- "Tony Hawks | Old Brightonians - The Alumni of Brighton College". Old Brightonians. 14 January 2006. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Tony Hawks: 'I wanted to be closer to nature... so I moved to the country'". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.
- Hawks, Tony (2007). Round Ireland with a Fridge. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-186777-0.
- "The Big Fun Show (a Titles and Air Dates Guide)". epguides.com.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 369. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Guide, British Comedy. "Morris Minor's Marvellous Motors cast and crew credits - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide.
- "The Brain Drain - UKGameshows". www.ukgameshows.com.
- Red Dwarf V - Built To Last Documentary
- Hawks, Tony (2001). Playing the Moldovans at Tennis. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-187456-4.
- Hawks, Tony (2003). One Hit Wonderland. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-188210-9.
- Hawks, Tony (2006). A Piano in the Pyrenees. London: Ebury. ISBN 0-09-190267-3.
- Tony Hawks (26 March 2007). "A Piano in the Pyrenees". Shvoong.com. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- Hawks, Tony (2008). The Fridge Hiker's Guide to Life : How to Stay Cool in a Heated-Up World. London: Ebury. ISBN 0091924189.
- Tony Hawks (2015) Once Upon a Time in the West...Country. Published 12 March 2015 by Hodder & Stroughton, ISBN 978 1 444 79477 9
- Garland, Alex (2001). The Weekenders : Travels in the Heart of Africa. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 0091881803.
- "TONY HAWKS: What Book...?". Daily Mail. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- "Round Ireland With A Fridge". Future Movies.
- "Tony Hawks". Tony-hawks.com. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "No. 61962". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 2017. p. B24.
- "In pictures: Entertainment and arts honours". 16 June 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Tennis for Free". Tennisforfree.com. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Music". Tony Hawks official website. Archived from the original on 29 September 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "Tony Hawks". Tony-hawks.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Radio Times 22 December 2007 – 4 January 2008
- Celebrity Mastermind, BBC One, 2 January 2008