Stephen Merchant at Portsmouth Guildhall

Pupils stun crowds at capital fundraiser

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Stephen Merchant is a man of many achievements.

There are the Baftas and the Golden Globes. And then there is the fact that at 6ft 7in he has managed to lived in the shadow of Ricky Gervais.

Now the less showy half of the duo has come out of the script-writing room and into the live stand-up arena.

He devotes some of the show to writing partner Gervais (or ‘his nibs’ as he calls him), talking about life just to the side of the spotlight and showing a newspaper picture taken at the Golden Globes with half of Merchant’s face missing. His response is hilarious.

The show is tall joke-abundant of course. But he also covers his failure with women. The fact that he calls his Blue Peter badge and Casio calculator watch ‘cat-nip for the ladies’ tells you something.

Because Gervais is very much the frontman, this one felt like a bit of risk. But adding this to his string of TV successes, the comic proves he’s a winner – or at the very least a Blue Peter badge holder – on stage too.