Infamous actor, radio broadcaster, comedy writer, TV producer, composer, Evening Standard columnist, telephone prankster and documentary director whose best-known work is probably the satirical TV archive programme TV Offal, in which he introduced the UK to The Gay Daleks and first broadcast the "twangers" episode of Rainbow.
Lewis-Smith started off on BBC Radio York doing a Sunday morning programme called Snooze Button. He also worked behind the scenes as the producer on BBC Radio 4's Midweek, where on one occasion he booked Arthur Mullard as Libby Purves' replacement while she was on holiday. In 1986, national radio beckoned, and he became a contributor to BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends programme, where he met his future writing partner, mandolin expert Paul Sparks. Together, they created the radio show Victor Lewis-Smith for BBC Radio 1, which ran for 2 series and 2 specials. It combined prank phone calls, sketches, plus comic takedowns of high profile celebs, all deliciously sandwiched with the original Radio 1 jingles made by JAM Creative Productions in Dallas, USA. Three albums compiling prank phone calls are available.
His first TV appearance was on Tyne Tees Television's Friday Live note where he claimed to be a gynaecologist who wanted to be Batman, and nearly caused the channel to be taken off the air when he made the show erupt into chaos involving an obscene device concealed in his Bat-tights. However, his big break was on Channel 4, when he presented two programmes, one called Buygones, which looked at nostalgic items from years gone by, hence the name, and one called Up Your Arts, which looked at various art forms in the world. He went on to create Inside Victor Lewis-Smith for BBC Two, which satirized hospital dramas and contained sketches from his Radio 1 series, all linked by an annoying taxi driver. This was followed by TV Offal, which began as a one-off special on Channel 4 in 1997 and was later turned into a full series that ran from 1998 to 1999. In turn, this was followed by Ads Infinitum, which also started as a one-off special on BBC Two, and was turned into a full series that ran from 1998 to 2000.
Like Inside Victor Lewis-Smith, his recent comedy work has satirised TV genres. Z For Fake satirised the game show genre and starred Lewis-Smith as Captain Z, the host of the show who drove a double decker bus round a random city in Britain, picked up a random passenger and asked them general knowledge questions as they were driven around the city. The Vicious Circle satirised the talk show genre with Lewis-Smith and Keith Allen note as the hosts and was broadcast from the top floor of the OXO Tower in London. He's also adapted his The Gay Daleks sketches from TV Offal into a series of shorts for BBC Three.
He also works as the Evening Standard's TV critic. Occasionally, his column will incorporate other reviews, such as restaurant reviews and travel reviews.
- Inside Victor Lewis Smith (producer/writer/actor, 1993-1995)
- TV Offal (producer/writer/host, 1997-1999)
- Ads Infinitum (producer/writer/host, 1998-2000)
- Z For Fake (producer/writer/host, 2001)
- The Vicious Circle (producer/writer/host, 2002)
- The Gay Daleks (producer/writer/actor, 2003)