Derren was born in the northern fishing town of Hull, East Yorkshire, left school at 17 with no formal qualifications and started a career as a professional magician. At 20 years old he was offered a place on the 3 year acting course of the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama beating some 3,000 other applicants for one of just 28 places. After leaving drama school in 1993 he worked for 10 years as an actor in both theatre and television, appearing in many TV shows including French & Saunders, Doc Marten, Casualty, Perfect World, Heartbeat, Green Wing, Spaced, Eastenders, A Touch of Frost, Pie In The Sky and countless TV commercials. In 2003 he embarked on a writing career encouraged by his drama school friend Catherine Tate. Derren was the main co-writer and co-star of BBC2’s The Catherine Tate Show for 2 series and a Christmas Special. After the success of The Catherine Tate Show and a stint writing for Only Fool’s & Horses creator John Sullivan, Derren was asked by legendary comedy producer Geoffrey Perkins to write his own show and Benidorm was born.
Series one was nominated for a BAFTA and since then the following series have won a multitude of awards including National Television Awards, Radio Times Best Comedy Show, TV Choice Awards and a Royal Television Society Award. During the 10 years of Benidorm’s run on ITV, Derren has also found time to write for Harry Enfield, Lee Mack, Dame Edna Everage, make the one off series The Spa for SKY LIVING and write a special episode of legendary sitcom Are You Being Served. Series ten of Benidorm is due to air in early 2018 and features Derren’s television directing debut. Derren has been talking about a version of Benidorm for the stage for many years and he is thrilled to see this dream finally become a reality with a tour starting in September, 2018. Spending his time equally between homes in Spain and London Derren’s hobbies include eating, drinking and the ancient Japanese art of karaoke.