Richard Vranch is best known (to American
s, anyway) as the musician
who improvised all the music
(mostly on piano
but not exclusively) for the original British
version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?
However, he is also a writer
, and actor
Born 29 June 1959 in Bristol, England, Richard played in folk music clubs in the late 1970s and spent enough time at universities to acquired a Ph.D. in radiation physics from the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, and be briefly a fellow of St John's College, Oxford. In 1981 he and Tony Slattery started doing an act together, which continued for three or four years. From 1984 to 1987 Vranch toured England with a comedy group called "The Millies" (in which he was the only male).
Since 1986 he has been a member of the Comedy Store Players based in London; this is the job he lists himself under on the alumni page of his old school at http://www.bgs.bristol.sch.uk/general/ob_registerlist.htm. He also runs improv workshops, hosts conferences, does voice-overs, has appeared in Italian TV ads, writes for such British productions as The Paul Merton Show, Jackanory, Smack the Pony, The Rory Bremner Show, Let's Pretend, Hello Mum, The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball (with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, directed by John Cleese), Gems, Cue The Music (100 episodes) and his own Channel 4 science series Beat That Einstein, writes travel articles, did a one-man show called "Mexico" in 1999, and made animated short films with Lucy Allen.
In short, we Americans who've only seen him play music on the Whose Line episodes on Comedy Central are missing out on a lot of this guy's talents.