Whitstable Famous Face – Matthew Holness

Matthew Holness is a comedian, writer, director and actor who is best known for creating and playing the fictional horror author Garth Marenghi.


With Halloween creeping ever closer, Garth Marenghi’s Incarcerat 14-date book tour kicks off October 30th so we thought it would be fitting to pay homage to the career of the Whitstable born comedian.

Born in 1975, Matthew loved Hammer horror films from a very young age, even asking Whitstable resident and Hammer star Peter Cushing for his autograph at just 6 years of age. Educated at Chaucer Technology School in Canterbury, the future comedian would go on to read English at Trinity Hall in Cambridge where he would meet and, later, work with many noticeable figures across the British comedy scene.

Holness would become a member of student sketch comedy troupe The Cambridge Footlights, appearing in a number of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. During this period across the mid-90s, Matthew also served as Vice President of the Footlights when David Mitchell was President. Other members of the troupe whilst Matthew was there were Robert Webb, Richard Ayoade and John Oliver.

Matthew’s first role in television came in 2000, playing various roles across 6 episodes in the BBC Two comedy sketch show Bruiser. Holness also wrote additional material for this show alongside Richard Ayoade. David Mitchell and Robert Webb were the principle writers of Bruiser with Ricky Gervais also writing additional material on the series.

The comedian’s work with Ricky would see him play the role of Simon in an episode of The Office two years later but despite his work on BBC it would be Channel 4 who would air Matthew’s co-created series (alongside Richard Ayoade) of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace in 2004.

The spoof comedy series echoes 1980s television drama, specifically horror, sci-fi, and “the rampant egotism of self-appointed ‘mastermind’ authors”. Despite Rotten Tomatoes giving the series an 86% rating, only one series was produced.

Matthew’s recent work has seen him feature in 2022’s Toast of Tinseltown as Richard Chickentoss and, as Garth Marenghi, publishing the book TerrorTome which sees horror novelist Nick Steen forced to fight his escaping imagination after getting sucked into a cursed typewriter. The sequel and book tour Incarcerat is touring across the country this Halloween and its plot sees Nick abducted and imprisoned at Nulltec, a shadowy technological research facility with excellent conference parking, concealed deep on the Stalkford Downs.


To purchase tickets for Incarcerat, go online and visit www.livenation.co.uk before typing Garth Marenghi in the search bar. Keep up to date with Matthew’s latest goings on by following him on Twitter/X @MrHolness and Instagram @mattholness.

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