Frank Skinner - AKA Chris Collins - was born on 28th January 1957, to
parents John and Doris. As a child, he lived in Oldbury and Smethwick,
West Midlands. He says that he was always the "funny kid," at school
but, unfortunately, at this stage it did not help him to attract the
girls! Throughout his childhood, he remembers his Father encouraging
him to get a job on television, rather than in a factory like his Dad
had. His father also was a lifelong West Bromwich Albion supporter.
Frank feels he has inherited his Father's passion for football along
with his penchant for alcohol. Frank began drinking at fourteen and
feels that by twenty-one, he had developed a drinking problem.
Through the late seventies and eighties, he did various jobs, studied
at college and got a 2.1 honours degree, in English. He comments on
his dislike of studying Shakespeare branding him basically "rubbish,"
and "not funny." "Has anyone ever laughed at any of his jokes?"
At age thirty, Frank decided to return to Church, after thirteen years
away. He had spent much time reading many books about Catholicism,
trying to find answers to his questions re evidence of the whole
concept. He just felt, in the end, that it was right for him and that
he wanted to return. Around this time, in late September 1987 he
stopped drinking and has not had a drink since.
He performed his first stand up gig in December 1987. With his first
television appearance in 1988 evoking fits of laughter from his
audience and 131 complaints - including one from a government minister
and another from the head of a major airline; Frank was on his way!
He met David Baddiel in 1990; during the Italian World Cup; at
Jongleurs comedy club in London. They shared a flat in Hampstead,
North London during the early to mid Nineties. In 1991, Frank won
the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He and David
together created the hit TV series Fantasy Football League which
saw many high points including the 1996 number one single Three
Lions recorded with Ian Broudie and The Lightning Seeds. Frank then
enjoyed success with his own TV chat show and the third series
achieved high ratings with around nine million viewers, giving him
the opportunity to interview some great stars. He later rejoined
David Baddiel on the TV screen for several highly acclaimed series of
Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned - two men, one sofa, no script.
In 2004, Frank wrote and appeared in the short-lived sitcom Shane,
in which he played a taxi driver who was tired of life. Not long after,
he reportedly quit TV to focus on a return to stand-up, and in
2007, he did indeed return to the stage (for the first time in a decade) for
a sell-out live tour of the UK.
Frank appears to have a humble attitude to his fame and success. He
was once quoted as saying that he still feels that he has,
"...sneaked into the party and sooner or later someone is going to ask
me for my ticket."
Frank has written his own autobiography. For more info, visit the
Books & Audios section.