Frank Skinner keeps MBE news quiet in case of ‘administrative error’

Frank Skinner said he had not yet told those closest to him he has been made an MBE in the New Year Honours because he thought it may have been “some sort of administrative error”.

The broadcaster and comedian, 65, whose real name is Christopher Graham Collins, has been recognised for his services to entertainment.

Regarded today as a comedy stalwart, he began his live stand-up career in 1987 when he tried his hand as a comic at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Graham Norton Show – London
Frank Skinner appearing on the Graham Norton Show (Matt Crossick/PA)

He returned to the festival to scoop one of comedy’s most prestigious prizes – the Perrier Award – four years after his first performance.

Speaking about being made an MBE, he told the PA news agency: “Well, to be honest, I haven’t told anyone at all, even those closest to me, because I still thought there might be some sort of administrative error.

“But I think it’s brilliant.

“I deal mainly in laughs and applause and they disappear into the air quite quickly.

“So getting a proper medal that you can hold on to and polish regularly feels (it) has given my career a sense of permanence that I like.”

Euro 2020
David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds perform their song Three Lions ahead of the Euro 2020 final (David Parry/PA)

Alongside fellow comic and screenwriter David Baddiel, Skinner makes up one half of Baddiel and Skinner, the duo behind TV programmes Fantasy Football and Baddiel And Skinner Unplanned.

Along with Liverpudlian rock band The Lightning Seeds, the football-fanatic pair wrote football anthem Three Lions, which was first released for the 1996 Euro tournament being held in England.

They also performed a rousing rendition of the track ahead of England’s appearance in the Euro 2020 final, with World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst introducing the pair to the stage.

Asked about being recognised for his services to entertainment, Skinner said: “Well, I have tried my whole life, and certainly the last 35 years where I’ve been paid for it, to entertain.

“If I get in a lift and there’s three people in it that, to me, it’s an audience, and I want to get one good laugh before I get out at my floor.

“So that is something I’ve always loved to do and getting a medal for it is something I hadn’t anticipated.

“You can’t help thinking of that thing of, you know, I grew up in a council house and all that, and my mum and dad who are no longer with us would have been absolutely over the moon about this whole thing.”

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Skinner has also had a successful career in radio having been on Absolute Radio since 2009 and he was inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame in December 2015.

He remains in the Saturday breakfast slot with The Frank Skinner Show, alongside co-host Emily Dean and also hosts Frank Skinner’s Poetry Podcast.

He said of how friends and family may react to his news: “Well, that is a good question because I don’t have the kind of family and friends that heap praise on me at regular intervals, I have the kind of family and friends who keep my feet on the ground as they say.

“My plan is to just wait until it’s announced on the day rather than tell anyone at all.”

Skinner has published a number of books, including two autobiographies and Dispatches From The Sofa: The Collected Wisdom Of Frank Skinner, which consists of a collection of his columns for The Times.

His TV work includes creating and hosting three series of Frank Skinner’s Opinionated for BBC Two, hosting multiple series of BBC One’s Room 101 and he hosted Portrait/Landscape Artist of the Year for Sky Arts.

He also presented documentaries for the BBC on boxer Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley and the life of actor and musician George Formby.

He said of his MBE: “Getting anything, any kind of award is great, but this does feel special.

“When I was a kid, I remember the Beatles getting MBEs and to be in any group that includes the Beatles is good enough for me”.