Future Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy writer/creator Douglas Adams is born in England. Demonstrating an early ability to write short stories with a hint of the absurd, Adams would find himself a member of the renowned Cambridge Footlights theatrical comedy group in the early 1970s, leading to his “discovery” by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. (Adams would become one of only two people outside of the core six-man Python troupe to contribute any scripted material to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and made a few appearances as a guest cast member.) He would go on to contribute radio comedy sketches to various BBC Radio shows through the 1970s, until the premiere of his own project, the science fiction comedy The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, put him on the map.
Future Red Dwarf cast member Chris Barrie is born in West Germany to British parents. Developing a knack for vocal impersonations at an early age, Barrie aims for a comedy career after dropping out of college and quickly becomes a frequent guest actor on television (The Young Ones, Blackadder). He also provides vocal impersonations and spoken word soundbytes on songs by Art of Noise and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. After appearing in a radio sketch called “Dave Hollins, Space Cadet” written by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor, he lands the role of Arnold Rimmer in Red Dwarf – a science fiction sitcom created by Grant & Naylor, whose inspiration can be traced back to that radio sketch.
Actress Alex Kingston, a familiar face in both British and American television, is born in England. With a variety of roles on UK TV throughout the 1980s and ’90s, she will make the leap to American television in 1997 with a regular role on the hospital drama ER through 2004. In 2008 she will make her first appearance as Professor River Song, occasional companion and gadfly to the Doctor in Doctor Who, opposite both David Tennant and Matt Smith.
Actor/singer John Barrowman is born in Scotland. At a young age, he moves to the midwestern United States with his family, where he remains until graduating college in the late 1980s. Moving back to the UK, he begins a career on the musical stage, though he retains dual citizenship allowing him to work on either side of the Atlantic. Early US TV roles in such series as Titans and Central Park West pay the bills, but most genre fans know him best as Captain Jack Harkness, a character Barrowman has played on both Doctor Who and its spinoff, Torchwood, which centers around his character. Further television guest starring and regular roles follow, including Desperate Housewives and Arrow.
Future Torchwood series regular Gareth David-Lloyd is born in Wales. Showing an early aptitutde for acting, he will also make appearances on Warehouse 13, Holby City, and Doctor Who. Incidentally, the first time he plays a character named Ianto Jones – completely unrelated from the character who will later appear on Torchwood and Doctor Who – is in an episode of the drama Mine All Mine written by future Torchwood creator Russell T. Davies.
Actor Jake Lloyd, who will become famous (or, depending upon who you ask, infamous) as the face of the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, is born in Colorado. His brief acting career is dominated by his role as the boy who will become Darth Vader, and he eventually gives up acting.