HomeArticlesTV & Film: The Life and The Times of Comedian Sean Lock

TV & Film: The Life and The Times of Comedian Sean Lock

It was announced this morning that beloved British comedian Sean Lock has passed away from cancer. One of the most influential comedians of the 21st century, Lock was known for his dry, grumpy wit and odd sense of humour. In the best way we can, we will aim to highlight the greatest moments in the comedy career of the late and most definitely great Sean Lock.

Early Career

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Sean Lock’s career started as a support act, when aiding Rob Newman and David Baddiel back in 1993. Funnily enough, it was Baddiel’s more famous double act partner Frank Skinner (as well as comedians like Eddie Izzard) that influenced his comedic chops.

From his time with David Baddiel, it is falsely believed Sean was the first comedian to perform at Wembley Stadium as Lock opened for the Football Focus star. Lock only appeared in sketches however thus making this not true as discussed on an episode of 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown featuring both performers.

From here, Sean went into radio pane shows including working alongside Simon Pegg and Bill Bailey. Lock even got his own show: 15 Minutes Of Misery. Kevin Eldon and Hattie Hayridge starred also in this show where nosey neighbour Lock would listen into the problems and situations going on next door in his tower block. This lasted 6 episodes from late 1998-early 1999.

15 Storeys High

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Originally, the removal of 15 Minutes of Misery may have seemed strange but they were actually doing it for a bigger platform – TV. Now half an hour, it was renamed 15 Storeys High and was the same show with some trivial alterations.

Lock was now given useless flatmate Errol, the show more prominently featured dark and surreal humour. Sean was now a more agitated and annoyed character and they way of hearing his next-door companions.

The show has 12 total episodes and gave Sean his early big break. The first series was commissioned in 2002 and the second in 2004 with all episodes of the second series co-written with Mark Lamarr. Celebrities making appearances in the show include Tracy-Ann Oberman, Peter Serafinowicz and Bill Bailey.

QI: Quite Interesting

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Overall, Sean Lock made 27 appearances on the Stephen Fry-hosted panel show QI. Lock made his first appearance in the A series where he had 2 appearances and would make his final in the I series where he had 3 appearances.

In his time there, Sean has had many memorable moments discussing everything from the Giant Tortoise to World War 2 and mocking Stephen Fry’s poshness along the way. Lock’s creative and often dry-delivery made him one of the greatest panellists in the show’s history with Stephen Fry’s tribute tweet stating the greatest episodes featured Sean.

Sean was one of the most central, integral faces in early QI and his legacy would continue as the show grew in popularity with Lock always a great member of the panel with his edgy humour, mocking comments and witty oneliner responses (as well as some genuinely knowledgable facts).

8 Out Of 10 Cats

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In 2005, Sean Lock became a permanent panellist and team captain on 8 Out Of 10 Cats. Hosted by Jimmy Carr, he originally was joined in the other team captain spot by Peter Kay associate Dave Spikey before he was replaced by Jason Manford and eventually Jon Richardson

Sean Lock was a wild personality don’t the show during his run from 2005-2015. Always buzzing in to give ludicrous answers such as claiming the best thing about being home alone was using the litter tray and that the most common lie people give is “I won’t cum on your cat”. Beyond his bizarre answers were his rants about clock shops not having all their clocks set at the same time, the potential uses of the verb “Assange” and his time spent at Gordon Brown’s house.

Lock also particularly liked making fun of his co-hosts Jimmy Carr and Jon Richardson. Whether for Jimmy’s tax evasion and robotic looks or Jon’s OCD condition and nerdiness over particular topics. Sean was very much willing to say his mind and was made him a staple of the show for a decade.

In 2013, he ditched other panel shows to just focus on 8OO10C but would leave in 2015 to become almost exclusively on the Countdown equivalent. Although they continued the show with new team captains Aisling Bea and Rob Beckett, it is not the same as it was in the glory days with Sean Lock the most must-see person on the programme every week.

8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown

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Seeing the success of the Sean Lock/Jon Richardson line-up of 8OO10C, a new show was commissioned were both played classic British daytime TV show Countdown.

More than just making words and numbers like in the traditional sense, with these team captains and their celebrity contestants, it was often unhinged and wacky fun.

Sean Lock became noted for his hilarious mascots, a duo with Miles Jupp and hatred for the game. Sean made his grumpiness clear, with Jon a better player – Lock always stated how he hated being there and wanted to go home. His 2012-2021 stint on the show was his main focus, even turning up when in times of ill health.

Listing his greatest moments would take far too much time so to list some of the best: his The Tiger Who Came For A Print mascot, him promising not to spit on Miles Jupp during sex, his botched magic trick, his A-Z of ingredients for his stew, eating 100 whelks, his Anus Of The Year story and so much more.

Other Work

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From what we have already covered, we can tell Lock has a significant impact on comedy in the modern-day but there are so many other shows he has appeared on we have not mentioned.

Argumental, Have I Got News For You, Room 101, Would I Lie To You, Last Leg, TV Heaven, Telly Hell, Big Fat Quiz Of The Year, They Think It’s All Over and more are some of his contributions to television over the years.

Death

Having been suffering from a close-kept terminal illness, he was finally taken by cancer as announced this morning. His last public appearance was a video that was supporting a charity giving free meals to those less fortunate.

In a few hours of his death, 200,000 tweets had been made about Lock by those closest to him. Covering a smorgasbord of comedy – some of the names to share their heartache were Stephen Fry, Lee Mack, Ricky Gervais, Dawn French, Adam Hills, Alan Davies, Bill Bailey, Joe Lycett, Rob Brydon, Ed Byrne, Jo Brand, Vic Reeves, Jack Whitehall and Aisling Bea amongst countless others.

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Griffin Kaye
Griffin Kaye is a contributing writer for TWM. He is a life-long pro wrestling, comedy and music fan. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected], on Twitter @GriffinKaye1, as well as on Instagram at @TheGriffinKaye, @NoContextQI and @WrestlingInTheYears.
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