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Bill Oddie

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William Edgar Oddie (born July 7, 1941) is a British comedian, singer, television presenter and ornithologist.

After attending King Edwards School in Birmingham, Bill studied at Cambridge, where he appeared in several Footlights productions, one of which, Cambridge Circus, transferred to the West End, New Zealand and Broadway. While still at University he wrote scripts for TV's That Was The Week That Was.

Subsequently, he was a key member of the performers in the cult BBC radio series I'm Sorry, I'll Read that Again (currently (2003) being repeated on some Fridays on the BBC's digital BBC 7 radio channel), singing daft songs of his own composition in most programmes. Some of these were released on the LP Distinctly Oddie (Polydor, 1967). He was possibly one of the first performers to parody a rock song, arranging the traditional Yorkshire folk song On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at in the style of the worldwide Joe Cocker hit With a Little Help from my Friends, and singing Andy Pandy in the style of a brassy soul number such as Wilson Pickett or Geno Washington would perform. He plays the drums and saxophone. In many shows he would do short impressions of Hughie Green.

Oddie was a member of the jovial and popular 1970s BBC TV trio The Goodies, in which he starred with Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor. The Goodies also released records, including Funky Gibbon, a hit single.

A birder since his childhood in Birmingham, Bill has now established a reputation for himself as an ornithology and conservation communicator and activist.

His first published work was an article about Birmingham's Bartley Reservoir in the West Midland Bird Club's 1962 Annual Report, and he has since written an number of books about birds and bird watching, and articles for many specialist publications including British Birds, Birdwatching Magazine and Birdwatch. He became president of the West Midland Bird Club in 1999, having been Vice-President since 1991.

In his TV wilfdlife programmes, Bill exudes a genuine enthusiasm for the splendours of bird life and brings a directness and humanity to the documentary genre rarely seen since the days of Animal Magic. Bill's most recent such series have been Wild In Your Garden and Bill Oddie Goes Wild.

Bill voiced the characters of Crow, Chief O'Reilly, Doctor Gloom, Eric and the Weatherman in the 1983 series of short animated programmes called Bananaman. Telling tales that parodied comic super-hero adventures, these also featured the vocal and writing skills of his fellow Goodies.

He has worked on a variety of projects for children, co-written with his wife Laura Beaumont. These include film scripts, drama and comedy series, puppet shows and books.

In October and December 2003, he compered a daytime BBC show, "History Hunt".

On 16 October 2003, he was made an OBE, in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

External links

  • For more biographical detail and a digest of current projects visit BillOddie.Net

Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.