Meet Ross Noble
PUBLISHED: 10:12 17 April 2015 | UPDATED: 10:12 17 April 2015
Ross Noble has been one of Britain's most beloved comedians for more than 15 years, and although born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, now calls Kent his home
Ross Noble is already enjoying a busy 2015, with his Tangentleman show attracting rave reviews across the country ahead of a 33-date tour to Australia, which has just taken place.
Additionally, series two of Noble’s ‘Twitter-powered travelogue’ Freewheeling has returned to our television screens on Dave, with six new episodes filmed.
Speaking to Kent Life, the Tunbridge Wells resident shared two of his highlights from the new series.
“One minute I am putting up plaques on the walls of the childhood homes of famous people using dinner plates in the Northampton area, and then the next I am going to meet Billy Ocean so he can record a message of support for a man who is up in court because he got a courtesy call he shouldn’t have had,” laughs Noble.
Freewheeling has a simple and original concept, where the comedian asks his Twitter followers for tips regarding interesting events that are going on in the country, after which he then jumps on his motorbike to explore the situations that are suggested to him.
“It’s a show that doesn’t have a format,” confirms Noble. “In TV, people normally want to know what the end product is going to be before you start, and that’s not how it works with my show.”
Despite success on screen, the 38-year-old first established himself as a comic with consistent touring, and admits that he sees the way that some comedians try to become famous via TV appearances as a “bit of a shortcut.”
He adds that due to the strength of his live shows and fanbase, “it allowed me to do the telly I wanted to do.”
His live shows are legendary for their perceived lack of planning, with each performance an innovative experience for the audience as he conjures up laughs from his complex mind while exploring the world from a completely different, and often surreal perspective.
As well as maintaining a devoted audience in Britain, Noble’s popularity in Australia is perhaps even bigger.
This began when he initially toured small mining towns before achieving popularity after making a television show remembering that “the next day I was playing arenas and stadiums.”
Noble first discovered the Garden of England with his wife after living in London and they bought a dog. “We then moved to Kent because the dog was too big to contain in a London scenario,” he laughs.
The couple initially settled near Medway, spontaneously moving there “because we saw it on the internet and thought it looked nice,” until they switched to Australia as Noble’s career was taking off there.
Home in Australia was in a semi-rural town on the outskirts of Melbourne, before the devastating 2009 Victorian bushfires destroyed their house and all of their material possessions.
After the fire, Noble’s Australian-born wife Fran suggested to him that “if we are going to live in the countryside we should live in one which doesn’t burst into flames.” The couple, who have two daughters, Elfie and Willow, subsequently moved back to England, and to Kent.
“When we lived in Kent the first time we always used to drive to Tunbridge Wells and wish we could afford to live there,” says Noble.
“So on the internet we typed in ‘Tunbridge Wells’ and then the surrounding areas around the town and our house came up online.” Always a man for the unorthodox, Noble says he and his family now “live in the fields on the outskirts of a village.”
Life in Kent clearly suits the laid-back comedian, who is a huge fan of the county and the endless amount of cultural interest it contains. He particularly loves Hever Castle, which he describes as “always a good day out if you’ve got little kids, with an excellent play area and archery in the summer.”
Also of interest to Noble is the slightly more adult fun of the The King Henry VIII pub near the castle which, he says “does brilliant food, and if you’re lucky you might even see Gloria Hunniford, who seems to be there every time we are, so it’s good for celebrity spotting.”
As well as potentially enjoying a gin and tonic with distinguished British television personalities, Noble also has a clear affection for Tunbridge Wells, frequently enjoying a wander around the Pantiles and the many eateries it has to offer. His favourite dining spot in Kent is Thackeray’s Restaurant, described by the comedian as “amazing – anyone visiting Kent should to try and go there for a nice bit of nosh.”
Noble also enthuses about performing in his adopted county, and shares a number of his favourite stages to entertain on. “I just did a couple of nights at the Assembly Hall in Tunbridge Wells and I did a warm-up gig at the STAG in Sevenoaks, plus the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.”
The appeal of an early night is also enticing, with an appreciation for “being in my own bed by 11.30pm, which is unheard of on tour.” He adds: “Because it’s my new adopted home, somewhere where you go shopping and take your kids out for the day, it’s really nice to feel like you’re just nipping out going to your local.
“You talk to a lot of comics and they think Tunbridge Wells is a certain type of audience, quite posh,” he adds.
But Noble clearly enjoys his fans and his overall appreciation of Kent is proved by the sheer amount of events he chooses to take up in his adopted county and by the warmth of his words. n
Find out more
Ross Noble Freewheeling series two is on Tuesdays at 10pm, on Dave.
From 18 May onwards, Noble will star as Franz Liebkind in the 2015 UK Tour of Mel Brooks’ The Producers with Jason Manford.