The producer behind Spitting Image, QI, Blackadder and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy steps out of the shadows for Radio 4’s Museum Of Curiosities. After dinner the ‘Professor of Ignorance’ draws from his Meaning Of Liff, and explains why complaints to the BBC can sometimes be a good thing.
John Lloyd has been behind some of the most successful and well-loved TV and radio (and adverts) of the last three decades. He’s also written or co-authored over 30 books, and is the driving force behind developing a new concept of education based on his BBC panel show, QI.
Studying law at Cambridge, John joined the famed Footlights society, meeting a number of the writers and performers he would later work with. That group included Douglas Adams, whose Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy John would help bring to radio.
After university, John joined BBC radio where he helped create shows that have become national institutions with The News Quiz (which John also briefly hosted), Quote...Unquote, The News Huddlines, and the original incarnation of To The Manor Born. Switching to TV, John’s first major production was the satirical Not the Nine O'Clock News with Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones, Rowan Atkinson, and Pamela Stephenson. The show created some of the most fondly remembered sketches of the era including Gerald the Gorilla, the darts players, and a classic interview with Billy Connelly. The show also provided a platform for writers including Richard Curtis, Clive Anderson, David Renwick, and Andy Hamilton.
John then went on to produce Blackadder, working again with Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, and creating arguably one the greatest sit-coms ever. At the same time he worked on Spitting Image alongside a host of comic writers and performers from Harry Enfield to Ian Hislop to Jo Brand. Briefly considered for the role as host of Have I Got News For You (he hosted the pilot episode) John remained behind the camera and created the panel show QI.
QI has gone on to spawn a range of books and other merchandise, but has also evolved into a system of research, learning and study. John is at the forefront of looking at what real knowledge is and how it can be imparted. Reacting against the idea that Google and Wikipedia offer free access to knowledge, John considers what really is interesting, and useful, alongside tales from his varied and often surprising career.
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It’s a mystery why the viewing public isn’t given a chance to see that John’s at least as funny as the stars he’s nurtured. Not only is he the man behind Bean and Blackadder, he also co-wrote After Liff with Douglas Adams. Besides the gags, John is so inspiring when he talks about QI changing the way we learn. JLA Agent Danny Lee
JLA Speakers Breakfast - February 2013
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