David Baddiel is a comedian, novelist, and writer for screen and theatre. He was born to Jewish parents in 1964 in Troy, New York, but his family moved to Great Britain soon after his birth. His grandparents had fled to the UK in 1939 to escape the Holocaust. In Britain, his grandfather was classed as an enemy alien and interned on the Isle of Men for a year because he had fought in the German army during World War One. Baddiel frequently addresses his Jewish family background in his work, while identifying as a Jewish atheist. In the biographical TV series Who Do You Think You Are (2004), for example, Baddiel traveled to his grandparents’ home in Kaliningrad (then Königsberg) to investigate his family history.
Baddiel rose to fame in the late 1980s as a London-based stand-up comedian and writer for television comedy, such as the iconic puppeteering series Spitting Image (1984-1996), as well as writing and performing for the radio and TV sketch show The Mary Whitehouse Experience (1989-1992). He collaborated with comedians Rob Newman and Frank Skinner on successful theatre and TV comedy shows. He has also written novels for adults (Time for Bed, 1996) and children (The Parent Agency, 2015). His novel The Secret Purpose (2004) is loosely based on the biographies of his Jewish maternal grandparents.
In the theatre, Baddiel adapted his successful film comedy The Infidel as a theatre musical (2014) and has recently returned to writing and performing comedy shows, such as FAME: Not the Musical (2013) and My Family: Not the Sitcom (2016).