Nigel Planer (born February 22, 1955 in London) is a British actor, novelist and playwright. He was educated at Westminster School and Sussex University.
His first break was understudying David Essex as Che Guevara in the original West End run of Evita.
He was one of the original cast of the The Comic Strip team, pioneers of the alternative comedy movement in the UK. Originally a nightclub stage show, he appeared with its creator Peter Richardson as part of the double act The Outer Limits. It was also Planer and Richardson that wrote the That's Life! parody on Not The Nine O'Clock News.
But it was as his solo character in that show, his hippie character Neil, he was to achieve national fame in the legendary BBC sitcom The Young Ones.
Neil also spawned a number two hit single in 1984 in the form of "Hole in My Shoe", (originally a hit for sixties band Traffic). A cover of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" was a less successful follow up, only reaching number seventeen in the charts. Neil's Heavy Concept Album followed, and then a Xmas cash-in Book, Neil's Book of The Dead. Planer also took Neil's stage act on the road in that year as Neil in the "Bad Karma in The UK" tour. This culminated in a month long run at St. Mary's Hall at the Edinburgh Fringe.
After working with Liza Goddard as a rock star in the mainstream ITV sitcom Roll Over Beethoven, he reunited with his Young Ones colleagues Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson as Ralph Filthy, theatrical gargoyle in the BBC2 sitcom Filthy, Rich and Catflap. Although slated by the press at the time, it has since grown a cult following, with many comedy fans regarding it as one of the finest of that decade. Its nihilistic view of show business has been appreciated more as the years go by.
His next big project was creating a definitive parody of the luvvie actor in Nicholas Craig. Originally a show on Radio 3, like Neil, this echo also became a multi-media event. There has been a spin-off stage play, book I An Actor - Another Great Actor Explores Himself, and three series for BBC2.
Planer has also won acclaim as a straight actor, appearing in Dennis Potter's Blackeyes, Shine On Harvey Moon and Jonathan Creek. Recently he has appeared in the West End in Ben Elton's Queen musical We Will Rock You. He will star as The Wizard in the upcoming London production of Wicked when it opens at The Apollo Victoria Theatre in September.