Charles Murray “Charlie” Higson (born 3 July 1958) is an English actor, comedian, author, and former singer. He has also written and produced for television.
Early life and education
Born in Frome, Somerset, Higson was educated at Sevenoaks School, Kent and at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (where his brother taught from 1986 to 2008, latterly as Professor of Film Studies) where he met Paul Whitehouse, David Cummings and Terry Edwards. Higson, Cummings and Edwards formed the band The Higsons of which Higson was the lead singer from 1980 to 1986. They released two singles on the Specials’ 2 Tone Records label. This was after he had formed the punk band The Right Hand Lovers, wherein he performed as “Switch”. Higson then became a decorator – including decorating the house of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie – before he turned to writing for Harry Enfield with Paul Whitehouse and performing comedy. He came to public attention as one of the main writers and performers of the BBC Two sketch show The Fast Show (1994–2000). He worked with Whitehouse on the radio comedy Down the Line and is to work with him again on a television project, designed to be a spoof of celebrity travel programmes.
In 1994 Higson co-wrote (with Lise Mayer) the screenplay for the film thriller Suite 16.
He worked as producer, writer, director and occasional guest star on Randall & Hopkirk from 2000 to 2001. Subsequent television work has included writing and starring in BBC Three’s Fast Show spin-off sitcom Swiss Toni. He has starred in Tittybangbang on BBC Three and appeared as a panelist on QI. He recently co-directed and starred in Bellamy’s People.
Higson published many novels through the early to mid-1990s which take a slightly dystopian look at everyday life and have a considerably more adult tone than his other work, with characters on the margins of society finding themselves spiraling out of control. This has led Time Out to describe him as “The missing link between Dick Emery and Brett Easton Ellis”.
In 2004, it was announced that Higson would pen the Young Bond series of James Bond novels, aimed at younger readers and concentrating on the character’s school-days at Eton. Higson was himself educated at Sevenoaks School, where he was a contemporary of Jonathan Evans, former Director General of MI5. The first novel, SilverFin, was released on 3 March 2005 in the UK and on 27 April 2005 in the US. A second novel, Blood Fever, was released on 5 January 2006 in the UK and 1 June in the US. The third novel, Double or Die, was published on 4 January 2007 having had its title announced the day before. The next, Hurricane Gold, came out in hardcover in the UK in September 2007. In this year he also made a debut performance on the panel show QI. His final Young Bond novel, By Royal Command, was released in hardcover in the UK on 4 September 2008.
Higson is currently writing a post-apocalyptic, zombie-horror series of books for young adults, which has been extremely successful. The eponymous first book in the series, titled The Enemy, was released in the UK by Puffin Books in 2009 and in the US by Disney-Hyperion in 2010. Book 2, The Dead, was released in the UK in September 2010. Book 3, The Fear, was published on 15 September 2011. Book 4, The Sacrifice, was released 20 September 2012. Book 5, The Fallen, was released 12 September 2013. At a school event at Abingdon School on 14 September 2011, Charlie told children: “Originally it was going to be three books and then my publisher, Puffin, said make it five, and now we’re up to it being seven.” At another, in John Lyon’s School, he revealed that the last book in his series would be called The End. This book will come out in 2015 following The Hunted, which was released 1 January 2014.
In 2011, Higson appeared with the original cast (with the exception of Mark Williams) in an online-only version of The Fast Show sponsored by Foster’s Lager.
In June 2013 Higson wrote a television adaptation of A Caribbean Mystery, the story that inspired Ian Fleming to give the protagonist of his novel “Casino Royale” a name. He also portrayed the ornithologist James Bond in the production.
Higson lives in London with his wife and three sons. On his website Higson describes himself as “lazy enough to steal his own bio from Wikipedia!”
- King of the Ants (1992) ISBN 0-349-11103-0
- Happy Now (1993) ISBN 978-0-241-13363-7
- Full Whack (1995), ISBN 0-241-00287-7
- Getting Rid of Mister Kitchen (1996) ISBN 0-316-88106-6
- Monstroso (2010) ISBN 978-0-14-132845-4
The Enemy novels
- The Enemy (2009) ISBN 0-14-138464-6
- The Dead (2010) ISBN 978-0-14-138465-8
- The Fear (2011) ISBN 0-14-138466-2
- The Sacrifice (2012) ISBN 978-0-14-133612-1
- The Fallen (2013) ISBN 978-0-14-133614-5
- The Hunted (2014) ISBN 9780141336107
- The End (2015)
The Enemy short story
- Geeks vs. Zombies (2012) ISBN 9780141344249 (This companion book in the series, released by Disney Hyperion, portrays an exclusive scene from The Fear, on World Book Day.)
- SilverFin (2005), ISBN 0-14-131859-7
- Blood Fever (2006), ISBN 0-14-131860-0
- Double or Die (2007), ISBN 0-14-132203-9
- Hurricane Gold (2007), ISBN 0-14-138391-7
- By Royal Command (2008), ISBN 0-14-138451-4
- SilverFin: The Graphic Novel (2008), ISBN 978-0-14-132253-7 (with Kev Walker)
- Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier (2009), ISBN 978-0-14-132768-6 (authored short story included in book)
- The ‘Fast Show’ Book (1996), ISBN 0-7522-2267-8 (with Paul Whitehouse)