Prince Charles had the honour this week of bestowing a CBE on someone who has played one of his ancestors in the well-known television series Blackadder.
As the series chronicled the Blackadder family through the centuries, Hugh Laurie appeared as Prince George, the Prince Regent in Blackadder the Third. Hugh Laurie received his award for services to drama, after having received an OBE in 2007.
Oxford-born Laurie started his comedy career with the Cambridge Footlights revue where he met and formed a comedy partnership with Stephen Fry. At one point the two of them were sharing a house with Dame Emma Thompson. Hugh Laurie appeared with Stephen Fry in the television show “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” alongside appearances in Blackadder and followed it up with the two of them appearing as Jeeves and Wooster.
Hugh Laurie had also appeared in a number of films in straight roles such as “Sense and Sensibility”, “101, Dalmatians” and “Stuart Little”, before crossing the Atlantic to star in the title role of the medical drama “House” between 2004 and 2012 which saw him win two Golden Globes. He has since also appeared in the BBC adaptation of “The Night Manager” which earned him a third Golden Globe.
Though now known as an actor, things could have been so different. Laurie’s father was an accomplished rower something Hugh followed him into while at university, and he won a British junior title in the coxed pairs before representing Britain at the Junior World Rowing Championships as well as being part of the losing Cambridge crew in the Oxford v Cambridge Boat race in 1980. He was heading for Olympic standard as a rower before a bout of glandular fever; it was then he turned to the Footlights Club.
In addition to his acting, he is also an accomplished jazz musician having released a couple of cd’s and played at the Cheltenham and Montreux Jazz Festivals. Who knows, in time he could follow his good friend Emma and the next time he receives an award it could be a knighthood – something his characters House or Roper may not have been considered for!