Actor and voice artist, 1972-
Poor Peter Serafinowicz. If you've watched any kind of television comedies in the late 20th and early 21st Century you'll have seen him without even knowing it. He was the bookish Radio 4 broadcaster in Black Books, the American-obsessed trucker in I'm Alan Partridge, the evil arch-nemesis of Tim Bisley in Spaced, the straight-laced flatmate in Shaun Of The Dead, the voice of Terry Wogan in John Shuttleworth's Europigeon... There are others.
However, like a reverse David Prowse, he's probably best known for providing the voice of Darth Maul in the film The Phantom Menace. You may have heard of it. It's his voice, you see. He can do a very deep, growly voice which is often called upon for his acting but don't consider that, or, indeed, anything to do with Phantom Menace. Everything he's done away from George Lucas is much better, even his starring role in the Simon Nye sitcom Hardware*. See? Lots of things.
Seemingly the King Of Bit Parts, he provided narration and the character of Big Al for the internet comedy The Junkies, sets up a boy band in the underrated and underseen Sean Lock sitcom 15 Storeys High, and you may even have spotted him in The Calcium Kid not to mention the post-Father Ted Graham Linehan/Arthur Matthews sillyfest Hippies being shot by Simon Pegg**. More? You'll find him in Smack The Pony, Murder Most Horrid, QI and numerous appearances in the Radio 4 comedy panel 'quiz' The 99p Challenge. He's even written his own comedy (along with Robert Popper) in the guise of Look Around You, a string of hilarious nonsense spoofing the BBC Schools programs of the 1970's.
So there you go. Start watching comedy credits, you're bound to see him sooner or later. Look Around You is due for a second series in 2005, you might want to start there. Buy the first series on DVD while you're at it, if you liked the focussed silliness of The Day Today you won't regret it and soon you'll be saying "Peter Serafinowicz? He's great!" like everybody else, never mind The Phantom Menace.
* Simon Nye penned Men Behaving Badly, on my personal list of Worst Television Comedies Ever That Were Strangely And Unjustifiably Popular along with The Fast Show. Don't get me started.
** In fact, together with Spaced and Shaun Of The Dead he's been shot by characters played by Simon Pegg no less than three times. He's still good friends with Simon.
postscript: XWiz tempted me to print a guide to how to pronounce 'Serafinowicz'. I replied that I didn't honestly know, although I have since come to find out that it ends with a 'which', as in sandwich. There. And if anyone's keen to know, he was born in Liverpool.