Frank Skinner (born 28 January 1957) is an English comedian.
He was born at Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich and grew up in Oldbury, Worcestershire, England. He attended Moat Farm Infant School from 1961 to 1964, St. Hubert's Roman Catholic Junior School from 1964 to 1968, and then Oldbury Technical Secondary School from September 1968. He passed 2 O-levels in the summer of 1973 and was allowed to take A-levels in English Language and Art, along with several O-level re-sits, at Oldbury Technical School Sixth Form. But he was caught embezzling the school meals service by selling cut-price meal vouchers to pupils and expelled just six weeks into his studies.
For several years he was known to the police after a series of minor offences including putting a length of pipe across a road and causing a car crash, although he never ended up in prison.
But he soon turned his life around by taking 4 A-levels (including English Language and Literature) at night school and then graduating from the Birmingham Polytechnic, now known as the University of Central England in 1985 with a degree in English Literature. After graduating, he spent four years as an English lecturer at Halesowen College, whilst being a stand-up comedian on the side, before quitting his job in 1989 to pursue his comedy career full-time. During this period he quit drinking and remains one of the UK's most high-profile recovering alcoholics.
Christopher Collins took on the pseudonym Frank Skinner when the actors' union Equity told him there was already someone of the same name on their books (their rules do not permit two members with identical names). He took the name from a member of his late father's dominoes team. It also coincidentally is the name of a movie composer.
Skinner had performed his first stand-up gig in 1987 and made his television debut a year later. In 1990 he co-wrote and starred in a weakly-received sitcom, Packet Of Three, on Channel 4 but continued to see his reputation as a stand-up grow. He won the 1991 Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe, beating Jack Dee and Eddie Izzard.
He often works with best friend David Baddiel, notably on the popular late night entertainment show Fantasy Football League, when the two famously shared a flat, and on Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned. They wrote and performed the football song "Three Lions" with the Lightning Seeds and the England national football team for Euro 96, and re-released it for the 1998 World Cup. Both times the song reached #1 in the British charts and it is widely regarded as one of the best British football anthems. It is due to be re-released on the 5th June 2006 for the 2006 World Cup, and is expected by some to repeat it's previous success due to widespread dislike of the official anthem, Embrace's World At Your Feet.
As of 2004, Skinner has his own chat show on ITV and has appeared in a number of sitcoms, including Blue Heaven (1992) and Shane (2004). In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. He has lived in London since the beginning of his comedy career in 1991, but still supports West Bromwich Albion football club and Warwickshire County cricket club. When West Bromwich Albion won promotion to the Premiership in 2004, he featured in an Express and Star article which commemorated the club's promotion.
In 2005, Skinner announced he was going to leave behind his television work in favour of returning to the stand-up comedy circuit. It was rumoured that ITV's decision not to offer him a new contract was the main driving force behind this decision. A second series of Shane has been made, but is lost amongst the wrangling. It has been announced that Skinner and Dave Baddiel will cover the 2006 football World Cup by podcast for The Times, a British broadsheet.
In February 2006, he received an honorary degree from the University of Central England.