Quiz shows, improv sitcoms, panel shows and now nativities… Hugh Dennis has done them all. The comedian, actor, writer, impressionist and voice-over artist is probably best-known for the role of Pete Brockman in Outnumbered and his recurring appearance on Mock The Week. But you can see him in a completely different role as he’s appearing in The Messiah – a hilarious story about three masterful performers travelling the country to enact the greatest story ever told.
And though you know his face – and you’ve probably seen him on the Central Line – how much do you really know about him? Here are seven facts you probably didn’t know about Hugh Dennis.
His name isn’t Hugh Dennis
Okay, technically he is called Hugh Dennis but his first name isn’t Hugh! His full name is Peter Hugh Dennis. He decided to use his middle name as his stage name as there was already a Pete Dennis registered to Equity.
He’s not the only one in his family with an interesting job
His dad, John Dennis, is now retired, but prior to leaving the workforce, he was a bishop! During his time as a bishop, he spent 10 years as the Bishop Of St Edmundsbury And Ipswich. And Hugh’s brother, also named John Dennis, is a diplomat and was the British Ambassador To Angola from 2014 to 2018. It seems that the Dennis men have an aversion to the run-of-the-mill… and doing the tea round.
He could have been a spy
While studying at St John’s College, Cambridge, Hugh was approached by MI5 – as were many of his friends. He attended the first interview where he was told what the job would entail. He quickly decided that it wasn’t for him and after expressing that to the clandestine organisation, he pursued a completely contrary career – one in the limelight.
He’s in a comedy double act called Punt And Dennis
Cambridge wasn’t just a time for mysterious job offers. It was also a time for hard work and many lolz. While achieving his first in Geography Tripos, Hugh found time to join the university’s dramatic club, Footlights. It was here that he met Steve Punt – the other half of Punt And Dennis – and formed a team that is still going strong today. Their work included appearances on Jasper Carrott’s TV shows during the ’80s and The Mary Whitehouse Experience – a BBC Radio 1 comedy show which became a TV show. The comedy pair also worked on Mock The Week together and they still tour together.
Along with Steve, Hugh met Nick Hancock while in Footlights. At the time, Nick was the president of the club and Hugh, Nick and Stever worked together on several projects together during their university days.
He and Claire Skinner have taken their relationship off screen
In Outnumbered, Hugh and Claire play loving married couple Pete and Sue, and it seems the improvised romance sparked real feelings as in 2018, it was confirmed that they were in a relationship. This coupling happened after both Hugh and Claire’s previous relationships ended.
He’s been married before
Twice, in fact. Hugh Dennis was married to Miranda Carroll from 1987-1993. After they divorced, Hugh married Kate Abbot-Anderson in 1996. The couple has two children together, Freddie (born 1997) and Meg (born 1999). They separated in 2015.
He’s a top earner
Following your dreams and becoming a comedian can be rough on your bank account. But if you’ve got the skills and the luck, you could strike it rich. According to The Mirror, in 2013, Hugh was ranked 17th in the top 20 richest comedians. It’s estimated that his current net worth is £0.7 million.