Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Frank Skinner explains why he refused to read friend David Baddiel’s book

Comedian and his friend/frequent collaborator have opposing beliefs about religion

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 23 January 2024 10:36 GMT
Comments
Baddiel and Skinner perform ‘Three Lions’ on The Last Leg

Frank Skinner has revealed that he told his friend and collaborator David Baddiel that he wouldn’t read his book on religion, The God Desire.

The comedian and actor, 66, has teamed up with Baddiel on several occasions, including on their Noughties talk show Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned, and their football anthem “Three Lions” with rock band The Lightning Seeds.

The God Desire, published last year, sees Baddiel wrestle with questions of faith and religion, along with his own certainty that there is no higher power.

Skinner, who remains a member of the Catholic church, said he attended a discussion Baddiel held in Edinburgh but has not read the book.

“I told him I wouldn’t read it,” he told The Times. “I am in it and, to be fair to him, he sent me those bits and said, ‘If there’s anything you don’t like …’ because I do come off as a bit medieval when I say about a relationship, ‘I fear we will burn in hellfire.’

“So I didn’t read it, but I went to a discussion he did in Edinburgh and I really liked that, and afterwards we went and had a cup of tea and talked about it. And I said, ‘Look, I can’t get round the fact that the basic message of this book is ‘I’d love to believe in God, but I’m too intelligent’.

“And he said, ‘No, it absolutely isn’t that.’ And then we talked about it and about 10 minutes later he said, ‘Yeah, you’re probably right. Maybe it is that.’ And it is.”

L-R: TV stars and comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel have been friends for years (Getty)

Skinner appeared to agree with the interviewer’s suggestion that his own work, A Comedian’s Prayer Book, read like “a pre-emptive rebuttal” of Baddiel’s argument.

“Well, that’s it,” he responded. “I imagine – and I’m sure this is wrong – that life would be a bit easier for an atheist because you’re not constantly thinking, ‘Should I be doing this?’ Although that would be to suggest that atheists have no moral code.”

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Last year, Skinner described his friendship with Baddiel as one that “has never diminished”.

“I think I give in a lot,” he joked to Metro.co.uk. “All my successful relationships have been based on me giving in.”

He also said that the pair “still live in the same road 15 doors away from each other”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in