Nigel George Planer (born 22 February 1953) is a British actor, comedian, musician, novelist and playwright. He played Neil in the BBC comedy The Young Ones and Ralph Filthy in Filthy Rich & Catflap. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including original casts of Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has also appeared in Hairspray. He won a BRIT award in 1984 and has been nominated for Olivier, TMA, WhatsOnStage and BAFTA awards.
Planer’s father’s Hungarian-Romanian family left Nazi Germany in 1933 and settled in Mortlake, London. He established a medical equipment company, which pioneered technology in controlled-rate freezers, IVF and stem cells. Nigel, who has two brothers, was born in Westminster, London. He attended King’s House School in Richmond and Westminster School in central London, where he wrote a satirical play about the school with fellow pupil Stephen Poliakoff. Having failed to gain a place on a drama course at university, he instead began a degree course in African and Asian Studies at the University of Sussex but dropped out and went travelling. After becoming ill, he applied and was accepted to study acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where he met and began working with Peter Richardson.
Planer was a founding member of the London Comedy Store and original member of The Comic Strip – pioneers of the alternative comedy movement in the United Kingdom. Planer appeared with Peter Richardson as part of the double act “The Outer Limits”. Planer and Richardson also wrote the That’s Life! parody on Not the Nine O’Clock News. Over the next 20 years he went on to star in film, theatre and television. With Christopher Douglas, he created the spoof actor character “Nicholas Craig”, who appears in book, radio, TV and articles as well as live; most recently at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in Stewart Lee‘s At Last the 1984 show. Planer is also the author of several books, plays, radio plays, and TV scripts as well as a small volume of poetry. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Edinburgh Napier University in June 2011.