WRITER and performer extraordinaire Andy Hamilton comes to the Wyvern Theatre next Wednesday.

He’s a familiar face on our screens thanks to appearances on comedy panel shows such as QI and Have I Got News For You, as well as writing and starring as the Devil in Radio 4’s Old Harry’s Game and voicing Dr Elephant in Peppa Pig.

He is the co-writer, with Guy Jenkin, of hit sitcom Outnumbered, which stars Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner. He and Guy also created Drop the Dead Donkey.

The Wyvern show is part of a spring tour, and Andy promises: “I do stories and jokes and social comedy and general looning around, a lot of singing and a lot of audience participation, but nothing where anybody need fear anything.

“The show’s called Hat of Doom because there’s a hat full of bits of paper with stuff written on them. I ask the audience to write questions on the bits of paper during the interval.”

For a man who seems to have become a part of the collective comedy consciousness only fairly recently, Andy has a remarkably long CV.

Now 57, the London-born Cambridge graduate first began his professional writing career some 35 years ago.

“I didn’t have a plan,” he said. “I just sort of drifted into it.”

His first broadcast piece was one he sent to a radio satire show called Week Ending, which accepted work sent in on spec by unknown writers.

“I think it was about Britain and the IMF in the days when Denis Healey had to go to the bankers with a begging bowl,” he said.

Other writing work followed, ranging over the years from Les Dawson vehicle The Dawson Watch to prototype slacker comedy Shelley.

Other credits include The Two Ronnies, Alas Smith and Jones and The Armstrong and Miller Show.

Even after all these years, the ideas keep coming, but new projects cost money to bring to the screen.

“It’s easier to get a hearing once you’ve had a show that’s done well,” he said, “but getting something done is still pretty difficult.

“Somebody has to give you a lot of money to make it.”

The Wyvern show next Wednesday starts at 8pm and tickets cost £19. The Balcony restaurant at the Wyvern will be open from 6pm, serving an Indiant buffet of curries, rice and naan bread for £10 per person.

Further information is available on 01793 524481 and at www.wyverntheatre.org.uk.

–barrie hudson