Ich Bin Kentishtowner: John Hoggarth, writer and director

‘My greatest life achievement? Getting married. Staying married. I like being married’

John Hoggarth: ‘What do I most dislike about my appearance? My top half’ Photo: Ginge Geordie Greek

John Hoggarth is a writer and director and has lived in Kentish Town for over 20 years. He co-created BBC sketch show The Ginge The Geordie and the Geek and has worked with comedians including Tom Allen, Helen Lederer and Phil Brodie. He was Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre for five years and is now Joint Artistic Director of Iron Shoes Productions, Associate Company at the Bush Theatre.

What’s your earliest Kentish Town memory?
I’m from North Yorkshire – I got in to the National Youth Theatre when I was a teenager and our accommodation was around here. We rehearsed on Parliament Hill so I walked up from Kentish Town every day and couldn’t believe I was in London.

When were you the happiest?
Walking on Hampstead Heath and realising it was on my doorstep.

Where would you like to live?
I’ve lived in Hungerford Road and Fortess Road and now I’m very happy living just off Lady Margaret Road – I’ve got the Pineapple for a drink and Mehmets corner shop for supplies.

What’s your favourite building in Kentish Town?
The house at the bottom of Lady Margaret Road. The bits of design you can glimpse are impressive – and it’s got a tree growing out the top of it.

What would you say so far is your greatest life achievement?
Getting married. Staying married. I like being married.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Marriage is good.

What makes you unhappy?
People who don’t care for one another. Kentish Town is good because it has a bit of a village feel.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
New socks every day. My wife steals my socks so I run out unexpectedly.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Not listening properly. I can’t do two things at once. It’s not a habit, it’s a condition.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Red wine and chocolate. Watching football when I should be working.

Saved from closure: The Pineapple
Where do you like to hang out?
The Pineapple, my office, comedy clubs, Phoenicia.

What’s been your best experience of the neighbourhood?
Years ago when the Pineapple was going to close down I was one of lots of people who fought to save it. We created a bit of a stir and the people who were going to convert it realised that that there was going to be no local support; so they sold it to another publican.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My top half.

What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
I don’t like your top half… and you’ve got knock knees.

Tell us a secret.
I cried a lot during Educating Yorkshire.

What’s your favourite dish and why?
Yorkshire pudding.

Who are your comedy heroes?
Spike Milligan, Dave Allan, Christopher Lilley.

Describe yourself as an animal.
Maybe a badger. But a bit more timid and less angry. A rabbit? People say I look a little bit like a bird because I’ve got a hook nose. So I’m somewhere between a badger, a rabbit and an owl.

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