Dara O’Briain is a stand-up comedian and television presenter, popularly known in the UK for Hosting BBC 2’s Mock the Week and in Ireland for hosting RTE 2’s the Panel. He is one the few performers to host successful comedy shows in both the UK and his native Ireland at the same time.
Dara O’Briain started his career in television as a children’s presenter on RTÉ whilst performing his first stand-up gigs on the Irish comedy circuit. After studying at University College, Dublin, where he did a degree in Mathematical Physics. He spent three years as a presenter on the bilingual Irish and English children’s programme Echo Island but came to prominence as a team captain on the topical panel show Don’t Feed The Gondolas. He left the show midway through its fifth season in order to perform at the Adelaide and Melbourne comedy festivals.
Dara O’Briain later co-founded the television production company Happy Endings Productions, whose most famous show in Ireland was The Panel. The show has become one of the most talked about shows in Ireland and was twice nominated for the Best Entertainment show IFTA (Irish Film and Television Award).
His big break in UK television came in 2003 when he became host of BBC2’s Live Floor Show. This was led to an appearance as guest and ultimately, four appearances as guest host of the popular news quiz, Have I Got News For You. He has just finished hosting the third series of the comedy panel game Mock the Week on BBC television, and other notable television work includes two documentaries re-creating the legendary British comedy novel “Three Men in a Boat”, where he rowed down the Thames with Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath, also for the BBC and the comedy interview programme “Turn Back Time”.
In 2006, he conducted his third and largest national tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. This included 66 shows across the UK as well as 9 nights sold out in Dublin. His second night in The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London was recorded for his first live DVD, released on November 13 2006.
2008 was a fantastic year for Dara with a sold out tour of almost 90 dates in the UK and Ireland. The summer was spent recording another hugely successful series of Mock The Week for BBC followed by another recording…of the very popular Three Men in A Boat with Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath this time sailing from Tower Bridge to the Isle of Wight.
Dara’s first book Tickling the English, released in 2009, proved to be an instant hit, remaining in the charts for almost two years after release. Part travelogue, part tour diary, the result is an affectionate, hilarious and often eye-opening journey through the Sceptred Isle.
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