'But I was a lady aged 11': David Walliams reveals root of Little Britain sketch from school days


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The Independent Culture

The root of David Walliams’ ‘But I’m a Lady’ sketch has been revealed as the moment he stood on stage aged 11 dressed up as Queen and “made people laugh for the first time”.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge and Little Britain comic has tried to go back in time to recreate this watershed moment 30 years later for a new ITV documentary David Walliams: Snapshot in Time.

“I had this lightning bolt moment aged 11,” Walliams said, describing the moment on 23 March 1983 that when he made his stage debut at a Surrey grammar school.

“The first moment I was on stage it was such an incredible high, hearing the laughter and the applause. It was the first moment where I felt, ‘Oh, this is something I’m good at,” he said.

The photograph shows Walliams as Queen Henrietta in All The King’s Men surrounded by ladies-in-waiting (played by schoolboys).

“All I had to do was play this queen and come on and fan myself, while these other boys, who were playing my ladies in waiting, were singing to me.  For me, it was a real eureka moment. Quite unexpectedly, I got laughs.”

The documentary shows Walliams returning to Reigate Grammar School where he meets up with his English and music teachers Keith Shipton and Robert Marsh.

Walliams begins to identify the other five boys in the photograph with him. But it transpires that David’s ladies in waiting are now living in all corners of the globe, having pursued lives and careers overseas. Can he track them down and convince them to fly back to the UK to put on lookalike dresses and re-join him on their school stage?

Tonight at 9pm on ITV

Video: Walliams press the Prime Minister on hunger