David Baddiel’s old school won’t allow 6th-form shows 40 years after his sketch

Comedian David Baddiel talks about life growing up – and how he very nearly got expelled for a show he put on during his Sixth Form which has had repercussions to this day.

In his own words, David says:

I hate change…

My friends would agree that, for better or worse, I am the most intense version of a ‘being himself’ person you could ever come across.

Even my childlike food habits haven’t changed. I still get excited about Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, and if I have a meal without pudding it’s like a sentence without a full stop.

I’ve had to try really hard to adapt my tastes now I’m an adult

I like cartoons and fiction, but I try to watch documentaries so at least I’m learning something. It’s like ordering fish at a restaurant thinking, ‘Isn’t that the adult choice?’


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I get bad anxiety sometimes, and I am no stranger to a self-help book

A good mantra for me is ‘anxiety is an emotion, not a mandate’. It made me realise I didn’t have to run away from anxiety. Instead, I see it the same as any other emotion, even sadness or happiness, and realise that it’ll pass. It’s helped me hugely.

People always say, ‘Oh, aren’t you clever?’ but I think I seem really thick

I don’t understand money and I never will. An economic crash? That freaks me out, because I have no idea what it means.

People always used to advise me where to invest money, but I’m now at peace with the fact I’ll never even understand a standard Excel spreadsheet. But I am good at storytelling, so if I can monetise from being a bit sh*t at practical things, that’s a skill in itself.

No one can make a statement these days without offending someone and that worries me

Online, everyone is just shouting at each other with no ability to listen and discover the truth. We all need to start listening to each other’s opinions without taking sides. It’s become about winning and losing and no longer about reality, it’s sad.

Sometimes I say things without thinking, it’s part of being human

But we do now live in a culture where if you do say the wrong thing without thinking, you can get into a lot of trouble. It can cost you your job, your relationship. It’s like being in a very strict school.


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I don’t hold onto the concept of guilty pleasures

If you like something, who’s to say you should feel guilty?

For example, I love The Carpenters and ABBA, and people always think I’m being ironic. The songs are beautiful and melodic. If you class something as great then it’s great. Don’t ever feel ‘guilty’ because someone doesn’t share your opinion.

I am very obsessed with cats

I have always had cats from a very early age. I don’t have dogs, I am Team Cat. I have three of my own now, and they are the loves of my life! I don’t like the movie, but I love cats. I would be lost without them.

I was a good boy until I wanted to be a comedian, which was in my last year of school

But I don’t regret being naughty. There was a show the students put on once a year, and having not been particularly naughty in the past, I was able to get away with changing some of the lyrics to a song.

I even managed to perform two sketches about teachers that I didn’t like.

One of those sketches involved a blow-up doll and I was feeling incredibly cool and a hit with the lads. A first for me! Hence cementing why I wanted to do comedy.

They tried to expel me, but kept me as I was going to Cambridge and it’s good for the league tables.

I met someone from that school recently and he said, ‘Forty years later and they’re still not allowed a lunchtime sixth form show because of you.’

I think it’s very important I never apologise for that. Look where it got me.

My Secret Snapshot

The Baddiel boys! Look at my dad’s hat, it looks incredible.

This picture has great memories, as my dad doesn’t get out for the day much now. He has dementia, but this was lovely and this picture in particular showcases the incredible genetic resemblance between the three of us.

My mum had an affair in the 70s with a memorabilia salesman and people often say, “Are you sure your dad is your real dad?”

They only have to look at this to be sure. My dad is unbelievably complicated. A very male 1970s dad in that he never told us he loved us.

I did a documentary about him and his dementia a few years ago, and at the end of filming the director asked me on camera, “Did your dad ever say that he loved you?” And I said no, he would never say something like that.

The director asked why that was and I jokingly said, “Because he doesn’t love us.”

The director then told my dad this and he said, “That’s b*ll*cks!” I was incredibly moved.

That’s as close as I’ll ever get to him saying that he loves me.

It’s so typical of my dad, he won’t say love, but he will say b*ll*cks. It was an amazing moment I’ll never forget.

– Watch David Baddiel in Trolls – Not The Dolls now: DavidBaddiel.com

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