David Mitchell voices Mitch from Phineas and Ferb. He is a British actor/comedian/writer best known for his appearances on comedy programmes in the UK such as "Peep Show", "That Mitchell and Webb Look", QI and "Would I Lie To You?".
Mitchell's ancestry can in part be traced back to the Highland Clearances. He was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, to Ian Douglas Mitchell and Kathy Grey Mitchell (née Hughes), who were then hotel managers. In 1977, his parents gave up their jobs in order to look after a then two year old Mitchell. He was an only child until seven and a half years old when his parents had another son. The family moved to Oxford where Mitchell's parents became lecturers on hotel management at Oxford Polytechnic. Ian was born in Liverpool of Scottish ancestry and Kathy is Welsh so Mitchell considers himself British rather than English.
In a 2006 interview with The Independent, Mitchell stated his childhood dreams:
- When I was at school I either wanted to be a comedian-stroke-actor or prime minister. But I didn't admit that to other people, I said I wanted to be a barrister and that made my parents very happy. I didn't admit I wanted to be a comedian until I came to university, met a lot of other people who wanted to be comedians, and realised it was an okay thing to say.
From the age of twelve he was educated at the independent Abingdon School in Oxfordshire. Having always been top of the class at primary school, once he moved to Abingdon he realised that there were plenty of people more intelligent than he was, and so turned his attention to debating and drama "where [he] had a chance of being the best." There, Mitchell often took part in plays, "largely because you got to play cards backstage." His roles mainly consisted of small minute-long parts, until he won the role of Rabbit in Winnie the Pooh, and this was the first time that he was "consciously aware I was doing a performance" and that that "was better, even, than playing cards." Mitchell had been "obsessed" with comedy writing since his school days, as he "always felt that doing a joke was the cleverest thing", and "would intrinsically prefer a parody of something to the actual thing itself". In 1993 he went up to Peterhouse, Cambridge where he read history. There he began performing with the Cambridge Footlights, of which he became president. He met Robert Webb in his first year at university, at an audition for a student pantomime of Cinderella, with the two men setting up a comedy partnership. These factors had a detrimental effect on his studies at university and he attained a 2:2 in his final exams. Before his break into comedy Mitchell worked as an usher at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre, and in the cloakroom of TFI Friday among other jobs.
As well as his work alongside Webb and as the voice of Mitch on Phineas and Ferb, Mitchell has appeared on his own in several shows. He played technical expert Owen in the Radio 4 sitcom Think the Unthinkable in 2001. He played the surgeon Dr Toby Stephens in the BBC2 sitcom Doctors and Nurses. In 2005 he played Kate's hapless secretary Tim in the BBC's updating of The Taming of the Shrew in its ShakespeaRe-Told series. Mitchell appeared as various roles on the Channel 4 sketch programme Blunder. The show was not well received, with the British Sitcom Guide naming it as the worst thing that Mitchell did in all of 2006 in their "British Sitcom Awards" of that year. He portrayed the recurring character of Dr. James Vine in the BBC sitcom Jam and Jerusalem. Mitchell had a small part in the film I Could Never Be Your Woman, playing an English writer, also named David. Whilst in Los Angeles to record the part he decided that he did not like the area much, and preferred filming in Britain.
He wrote for series five of the BBC2 impressionist sketch show Dead Ringers, and also narrated the reality show Beauty and the Geek. Following the success of Channel 4's Alternative Election Night in 2010, which Mitchell hosted with Jimmy Carr, Charlie Brooker and Lauren Laverne, the four presented 10 O'Clock Live, a series of live shows looking at the week's affairs. It has run for two series.
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