Frank Skinner





1/28/1957 , West Bromwich, West Midlands, England, UK

Birth Name

Christopher Collins




He was born Christopher Graham Collins in Oldbury, Worcestershire, England. He attended Moat Farm Infant School from 1961 to 1964, St. Hubert's Roman Catholic Junior School from 1964 to 1968, and then Oldbury Technical Secondary School from September 1968. He passed 2 O-levels in the summer of 1973 and was allowed to take A-levels in English Language and Art, along with several O-level resits, at Oldbury Technical School Sixth Form. But he was caught embezzling the school meals service by selling cut-price meal vouchers to pupils and expelled just six weeks into his studies.

For several years he was known to the police after a series of minor offences including putting a length of pipe across a road and causing a car crash, although he never ended up in prison. But he soon turned his life around by taking 4 A-levels (including English Language and Literature) at night school and then graduating from the Birmingham Polytechnic, now known as the University of Central England in 1985 with a degree in English Literature. After graduating, he spent four years as an English lecturer at Halesowen College, whilst being a stand-up comedian on the side, before quitting his job in 1989 to pursue his comedy career full-time.

Christopher Collins took on the pseudonym Frank Skinner when the actors' union Equity told him there was already someone of the same name on their books (their rules do not permit two members with identical names). He took the name from a member of his late father's dominoes team.

Skinner had performed his first stand-up gig in 1987 and made his television debut a year later. In 1990 he co-wrote and starred in a weakly-received sitcom, Packet Of Three, on Channel 4 but continued to see his reputation as a stand-up grow. He won the 1991 Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe, beating Jack Dee and Eddie Izzard.

He often works with David Baddiel, notably on the popular late night entertainment show Fantasy Football League, when the two famously shared an apartment, and on Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned. They wrote and performed the football song Three Lions with the Lightning Seeds and the England national football team for Euro 96, and re-released it for the 1998 World Cup. Both times the song reached #1 in the British charts.

As of 2004, Skinner has his own chat show on ITV and has appeared in a number of sitcoms, including Blue Heaven (1992) and Shane (2004). In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. He has lived in London since the beginning of his comedy career in 1991, but still supports West Bromwich Albion football club and Warwickshire County cricket club. When West Bromwich Albion won promotion to the Premiership in 2004, he featured in an Express and Star article which commemerated the club's promotion.