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News > Events > Guest speaker announced for annual dinner

Guest speaker announced for annual dinner

Paul Mayhew-Archer will be the guest speaker at the ES annual dinner on 21 April
16 Feb 2023

We are delighted to announce that comedy writer and producer Paul Mayhew-Archer (Reeves 1967-71) will be our guest speaker at the ES annual dinner at the Grand Hotel, Eastbourne, on Friday 21 April.

You can book your tickets now and read further details here: Annual Dinner 2023. Tickets are already selling fast so please don't miss out as there is limited capacity.

Paul arrived at the College in 1967 and over the next five years developed into the third worst rugby player in the school and was so bad at cricket (couldn’t bat or bowl or field) that the teacher made him an umpire. Paul then made so many shockingly bad decisions that he became the only umpire ever to be sent off. Then, in the sixth form, he wrote a comedy play and his inspirational teacher, Philip Le Brocq, encouraged him to put it on. When he heard the audience laugh at something he’d written Paul knew what he wanted to do.

After Cambridge and a brief career in teaching, during which he organised a school trip and got left behind, he joined the BBC and has been trying to make us laugh ever since. His writing credits include The Vicar of Dibley, Mrs Brown’s Boys and the screen version of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman. He produced the much-loved Radio 4 shows I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and Old Harry’s Game, and, as a script editor, he has worked on everything from Spitting Image to Miranda.

In 2011, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It’s an incurable illness that gets progressively worse and has over 50 symptoms. It is also – as Paul quickly found out – funny. Since then he’s had some of the best times of his life.

In 2016, he made his first documentary, Parkinson’s: The Funny Side, for which he won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Presenter. In 2017, he started doing stand-up about Parkinson’s, first at the Royal Albert Hall, then at the Comedy Store. In 2018, he performed his first ever one-man show, Incurable Optimist, at the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2019, he toured the show round the UK and in April 2022 he appeared at the Birley Centre as part of Circus, the College's creative arts festival.

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