Al Murray is one of Britain's most successful comedians. Educated at Bedford School and Oxford University, he began to work in comedy in the 1990s, and created his best-known act, his alter-ego The Pub Landlord, in 1994. Five years later a show based round the Pub Landlord won the Perrier Award at Edinburgh, and Murray has been nominated several times for an Olivier Award. He has appeared at the Royal Variety Performance and has hosted Live at the Apollo on BBC1; his sitcom Time Gentlemen Please on Sky One has become a cult classic, and his series Al Murray's Multiple PersonalityDisorder on ITV1 saw him introduce a whole range of new characters.
Apart from his stand-up comedy routines, Al has recently presented Al Murray in Germany on BBC4, a historical series about the art and culture of Germany. He has also made The Road to Berlin, a documentary series about World War II for the Discovery channel.
Al played in his school orchestra, and several of his choices for Private Passions are linked to his experiences as a youthful percussionist. These include Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade, which he remembers playing on an orchestral tour to Paris; Orff's Carmina burana, and Nimrod, from Elgar's Enigma Variations, which reminds him of a particularly poignant moment. There's also music by Handel (the coronation anthem Zadok the Priest), a chorale from a Bach cantata which he heard sung by the Leipzig Thomanerchor, an excerpt from Philip Glass's Low Symphony, and Eric Coates's famous Dam Busters March.