Donning his hard hat, steel cap boots and the infamous purple polo, last night Rhod Gilbert appeared on DIY SOS’ Children in Need special as its guest host.
Following reports that Nick Knowles was allegedly absent from the show after breaking BBC rules by starring in a Nestle advert, the funny man took over the reigns and was reduced to tears after watching the children of St Michael's Youth Project in Hull enjoy their new adventure park
As a regular guest on panel shows, an award-winning comedian and a documentary maker, Rhod is a firm favourite on our screens. But how did he find fame and what’s his unlikely tattoo all about?
How he became famous
Before finding success in the world of comedy, Carmarthen born Rhod took time out after graduating from Exeter University to travel around Australia and Asia.
But after his girlfriend at the time nagged the star to complete a comedy course, Rhod soon found his feet and 18 months later was nominated for the Perrier Newcomer Award for his first solo show at the Edinburgh Festival in 2005.
Since then, the Welshman has embarked on sell-out comedy tours across the country, has performed at the Royal Variety Performance and has become a regular face on Have I Got News For You? and Would I Lie To You?
His family life
Rhod’s experience with male infertility has featured in his comedy routines, even prompting him to make the BBC documentary Rhod Gilbert: Stand Up To Infertility.
As part of the documentary, Rhod – who has been married to his long-term partner, comedy writer, Sian Harris, since 2013 – revealed that he and Sian had been undergoing fertility treatment.
But like thousands of couples in the UK, the pandemic had put a halt to this.
Speaking to WalesOnline about his experience, he said: “Most men don’t want to talk about this, and that isn’t going to change overnight because of this documentary, it’s going to take a long long time.”
His battle with social anxiety
Despite performing in front of thousands of people, Rhod has disclosed his battle with social anxiety which had left him skipping school, afraid of ordering coffee and sleeping on the streets of Spain after being too scared to share accommodation with other people.
In the BBC documentary Stand Up to Shyness, the 53 year old said: "I used to get this knot in the pit of my stomach… there was nothing wrong with me medically, it was anxiety.”
His strange tattoo choice
During an appearance on Saturday Kitchen in 2017, Rhod revealed that a baked potato with cottage cheese was his favourite meal, much to the dismay of TV chef and host Matt Tebbutt.
After Matt called him up on his dedication to the spud, the comedian took off his top and showed viewers that he had a baked potato tattooed at the top of his back on his left shoulder blade.
His family tragedy
In November last year, wife Sian shared the sad news that Rhod’s father Malcom had passed away at the age of 88.
In the past, Rhod had spoken about how his father had suffered from a heart attack that had left him blind and with limited movement. As a result, he was looked after in a care home.
But as the first lockdown saw heavy restrictions placed on care homes across the UK, Rhod rushed back to Wales.
“The care home locked down earlier than most and we got a message saying not to visit,” he told The Mirror.
“Whether we’ll see him again, I don’t know.
“He knows that if the virus gets into the care home he’s extremely vulnerable. In his words: ‘If it gets in here then I’m a gonner’.”
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