Comedian, novelist, screenwriter, playwright and television director/producer. Elton lives in both Fremantle, Western Australia and in Sussex, England. He has had dual British/Australian citizenship since 2004.
Ben Elton established himself as a leading figure in the British alternative comedy movement of the 1980s through the cult television series The Young Ones and Blackadder (as a writer) and as high profile leftwing comedian and satirist. He has also published more than a dozen novels and co-written several hit musicals, notably We Will Rock You (2002) and Love Never Dies (2010), the sequel to Phantom of the Opera.
Born in Catford, London, Elton's father is the physicist and educational researcher Lewis Elton. His uncle is the historian Sir G. R. Elton. After graduating from South Warwickshire College (Stratford upon Avon) he attended the University of Manchester. Elton made his first television appearance as a stand-up comedian on the BBC1 youth and music programme The Oxford Road Show, and at age 23 made his breakthrough as co-writer of The Young Ones, in which he occasionally appeared. In 1985 he produced his first solo script for the BBC (Happy Families) and soon afterwards was invited to collaborate with Richard Curtis on the second series of Blackadder (starring Rowan Atkinson). The pair also wrote the third and fourth series.
Among Ben Elton's other career highlights as a television writer are The Thin Blue Line, a studio-based sitcom set in a police station, also starring Rowan Atkinson (1995-1996). He also wrote the six-part sitcom Blessed (2005). In 1990 he starred in his own stand-up comedy and sketch series entitled The Man from Auntie (a second series aired in 1994). Using a similar format he created and The Ben Elton Show (1993) These two shows also marked Elton's retirement from television stand-up comedy for more than ten years, as he began to focus more heavily on writing. He returned in 2007, however, as one of the creatives behind Get a Grip, a show which featured a combination of "comic sketches" and 'staged' discussion between Elton and 23-year-old Alexa Chung. The show's premise was to juxtapose Elton's middle-aged viewpoint with Chung's younger perspective.
Elton's novels include: Stark (q.v., 1989) which was later turned into a television miniseries, Gridlock (1991); This Other Eden (1993); Popcorn (1996); Blast from the Past (1998); Inconceivable (1999), adapted for film in 2000 as Maybe Baby; Dead Famous (2001); High Society (2002); Past Mortem (2004); The First Casualty (2005); Chart Throb (2006); Blind Faith (2007) and Meltdown (2009). His plays include Gasping (1990).