The Armstrong & Miller Show
Armstrong and Miller
Ben Miller and Alexander Armstrong first appeared together in their eponymous Channel 4 series, jointly produced with the Paramount Comedy Channel, which aired from January 1998.
In the first series they presented a spoof costume drama Brunswicke Park; Hollywood octogenarians Kip and Tam; lame detectives Parsons and Lampkin – and Lampkin's friend Steve; Flavia and Venetia, the frightening owners of the Tiny Vegetarian Restaurant; the dodgy Fairground Assistants; and old favourites Strijka.
The second series added new faces and sketches, including a reprise of Nude Practice; Force on the Case, featuring Jack Force, an alcoholic version of Inspector Morse who had an imaginary sidekick called Mr Chuffy; and hip presenters Craig Children ("of The Independent On Sunday") and Martin Bain-Jones ("of The Daily Telegraph").
Series three featured more of the same with ever more risqué editions of Nude Practice and further visits with "the caring teacher", a man who is marvelous with his pupils until the school bell rings, upon which he become surly and disinterested. There were also regular visits to Big Hose House, a strange spoof on Big Brother, where the two contestants were constantly soaked.
A delightful surrealistic edge ran through the shows, particularly evident in such sketches as the recurring Japanese kids segment, where the cast spoke in cod-Japanese with subtitles.
The duo also had their own radio station on BBC Radio 4 in March 1998 which featured many of the sketches and characters from their TV series. A second show, Children's Hour With Armstrong & Miller, was on Radio 4 in December 1998 and featured their Craig Children and Martin Bain-Jones characters as hosts of a spoof cultural review.
Alexander Armstrong studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and was a member of the college choir. In 1992 he met Ben Miller, who was also in the Cambridge Footlights, and they formed the comedy duo Armstrong & Miller. Xander decided not to pursue his career as a professional bass singer, and turned to acting instead.
Television credits include: Mutual Friends (Hat Trick/BBC One); Have I Got News For You; Don't Call Me Stupid; The Trial Of Tony Blair (ITV); Best Of The Worst; Hotel Babylon (BBC); Open Wide (Talkback); Miss Marple – A Murder Is Announced (ITV); Three Series Of Life Begins (ITV); TLC (BBC); Dr Terrible (BBC); I Saw You (Granada); Murder Rooms (BBC); The Sight (Sky); Two Series Of Beast (BBC); Four Series Of Armstrong & Miller (Channel 4); Saturday Live (TWT); Barrier Island (Paramount); Troma (Bravo); Jane Horrocks Special (Hat Trick); Sharpe's Regiment; Thin Blue Line (Tiger Aspect); Bravo; Sardines (Talkback); Harry Enfield And Chums (Hat Trick); A Breed Of Heroes (BBC) and the Comedy Club.
Films appearances include: Match Point (directed by Woody Allen); Churchill – The Hollywood Years; Birthday Girl and Plunkett And Macleane.
Theatre Includes: 24 Hour Plays (Old Vic); Home And Beauty (Lyric Theatre); The Quality Shag (London Comedy Festival); Perrier Award Nominee (Brighton Pleasance, Edinburgh) and Bare Naked Fighting (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Festival).
Radio includes: Best Of The Worst (Channel 4); The World Of Milton Jones (BBC Radio 4) and Audio Diaries (BBC Radio 4). Xander will also be very familiar to television audiences from his starring role in numerous adverts for Pimms.
Ben Miller studied for a PHD in Physics (specifically "novel quantum effects in quasi zero-dimensional mesoscopic electrical systems") at Cambridge University.
Television appearances include: Moving Wallpaper (ITV/Kudos); Primeval (Impossible Pictures); Worst Christmas Of My Life (Hat Trick/BBC One); two series of The Worst Week Of My Life (Hat Trick/BBC One); Malice Aforethought (ITV); Miss Marple – The Body In The Library (ITV); Doc Martin (ITV); Jeffrey Archer: The Truth (ITV); The Book Group (Channel 4); Blind Date (LWT); Coming Soon (Channel 4); Passion Killers (Granada); four series of Armstrong & Miller (Channel 4/Paramount); Saturday Live (LWT); Paul Merton Series 1993 (Hat Trick); Young Indy (Lucas Films); Don And George (Absolutely); French And Saunders (BBC); Jerry Sadowitz (BBC); Murder Most Horrid (BBC) and Smith And Jones (BBC).
Films include: Razzle Dazzle; The Prince And Me; Johnny English; The Actors, Parole Officer; Birthday Girl and Plunkett And Macleane.
Theatre includes: The Quality Shag (Edinburgh Festival '96); Bare Naked Fighting (Edinburgh Festival '94); Huge (Edinburgh Festival '93); The Heartbreak Kid (Assembly Rooms); Hamlet; Gone With Noakes (Pleasance – Perrier Pick Of The Fringe Award); The Trench Kiss (Edinburgh); and Killers (Assembly Rooms).
Radio includes: Artists; The Young Postmen and Armstrong & Miller (all BBC Radio 4).