Attended the Brentwood School with writer Douglas Adams. Was vice-president of the Footlights Club while at University of Cambridge. Met his wife Jo Jones on Not The Nine O'Clock News in 1979 when she had to throw a bucket of water over him. Along with 1,000 students, successfully helped stop the closure of Cambridge's 100-year old architecture department in 2004. Was awarded honorary degrees from Anglia Ruskin University in 2004 and the University of Essex in 2010, for his outstanding contributions to television and the cause of national heritage. In 2011, he became the President of Civic Voice, a charity which campaigns for better places and civic pride.