Geoffrey McGivern (Ford Prefect) was born in St James's Hospital Balham, lived in Clapham Junction and, aged three, moved to York. His parents accompanied him. He attended Archbishop Holgate's Grammar School where he discovered drama and won an exhibition to Christ's College, Cambridge. There he was President of the Marlowe Society and a member of two Footlights Revues. In one revue, Chox - which made it to the West End and promptly expired - he stopped the show with a monologue brilliantly written by one Douglas Adams.
He fell into professional acting via a contract with the BBC for a satire show which was killed off, and a schools and community show in South Wales, which earned him an Equity card.
Around this time he recorded a pilot show for an unlikely sci-fi series.
Work in repertory theatre in York, Sheffield Crucible, Exeter, Leicester Haymarket and Manchester Royal Exchange culminated in a year in The Dresser with Tom Courtenay and Freddie Jones at the Queen's Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.
Television work has included shows such as Alas Smith and Jones; Mr Pye; The Bill (three times); Absolutely Fabulous; Wing and a Prayer; Heartbeat (twice); Annie's Bar; Big Train; and World of Pub.
In the film Young Americans, he had six weeks work, a good part and scenes with Harvey Keitel. Best of all, he got a Tuesday afternoon off [old actors' joke, Ed]. He was in Onegin with Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler (who wore trainers under her period costume) and had a drunk scene in Mel Smith's Blackball with Vince Vaughn, who is huge. And very nice, luckily.
Recent work includes Horse and Carriage, by Feydeau, with Griff Rhys-Jones and Alison Steadman (West Yorkshire Playhouse); This is Craig Brown (Radio 4); Doctors and Nurses (BBC1); Vince's nudist dad in Fifteen Storeys High (BBC2); and several episodes of The Cowboy Trap (Channel 4).
His interests are: reading the Guardian newspaper and smoking (Oblomov's syndrome); reading history and biography, particularly medieval, 18th century and the Second World War; and walking around Regent's Park, London.