Actor Kevin Bishop on his rise to fame from Orpington drama school

PUBLISHED: 15:09 13 September 2012

Kevin Bishop arriving for the UK Premiere of Keith Lemon : The Film, at the Vue West End, London.

Kevin Bishop arriving for the UK Premiere of Keith Lemon : The Film, at the Vue West End, London.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

From pantomimes at the Churchill Theatre to a Muppet-filled desert island and on to his own sketch show – actor Kevin Bishop has reached dizzy heights since his early years as an Orpington school boy.

A young Kevin joined on set by Kermit the Frog in Muppet Treasure Island.A young Kevin joined on set by Kermit the Frog in Muppet Treasure Island.

Born and raised in Bromley, Kevin, 32, took his first steps into showbusiness while still a pupil at Ravens Wood School in Oakley Road.

His first job came as a child actor in a production of the Sound of Music at Sadler’s Wells, before he took to the stage alongside the likes of Lionel Blair and Ronnie Corbett in panto.

His big break came in 1994 on children’s TV show Grange Hill where he played Sam Spalding.

A member of the cast for two years, Kevin was sacked after unruly behaviour which included throwing pool balls.

Kevin Bishop and the cast of Keith Lemon: The Movie.Kevin Bishop and the cast of Keith Lemon: The Movie.

He said: “You don’t get treated as a child actor when you’re young, you’re expected to be grown-up about everything.

“Grange Hill introduced me to television really and I learned a lot about the industry, but from there I went on to a massive job.”

“Expelled” from the school drama, he would land one of the biggest child roles at the time in movie Muppet Treasure Island working with Tim Curry, Jennifer Saunders and Billy Connolly.

Playing the part of Jim Hawkins, Kevin would spend months rubbing the felt-covered shoulders of the likes of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear.

He added: “There was a huge audition process and I realised about halfway through that I had landed a huge job.

“It’s actually quite treacherous working on a Muppet set because they have five foot trenches for the guys working the puppets.

“They are really high-energy and absolute professionals, but they should give you a crash-course on being in a Muppet movie because it can be exhausting.”

Arguably his biggest success to date was his own TV sketch show, The Kevin Bishop Show, which started on Channel 4 in 2008.

He had also appeared in Star Stories prior to his show, which poked fun at celebrities with Kevin able to display his talent for mimicry.

“I have a Catholic family and they are all performers. I am by far the least funny one and when they get together it’s just hilarious,” he said.

“They are all very good mimics and that runs in the family. My mother has an amazing talent for voices. That was definitely handed down to me – but none of them are involved in showbusiness.”

Kevin makes a point of returning home to Orpington at least once a fortnight where he still has a number of relatives, including his parents.

He regards the area fondly as well as his time spent at Patricia Hammond School of Dramatic Arts where he flourished.

“I get back home pretty much every weekend and see my parents. I go back and think it’s actually quite nice, nothing has massively changed since I left apart from a giant supermarket destroying the high street.”

Currently starring in two films, Keith Lemon: The Film and A Few Best Men, Kevin has continued to rise in the movie world.

He claims wedding comedy A Few Best Men with Kris Marshall may divide audiences, though the response it has received has been great with many noting his performance as stand-out.

He added: “People make the comparison to The Hangover and someone even said I was doing an impression of someone in that film, which is a bit odd because I’ve never seen it.”


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