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Comedian, actor, and TV presenter Jack Whitehall is a firm favorite at home in the U.K. and a rising star in Hollywood. He’s already shown off his comic timing in the hit British sitcoms Fresh Meat and Bad Education, and capably covered for the main man on The Graham Norton Show, and now he has roles in the upcoming movie adaptation of Clifford the Big Red Dog and Disney’s Jungle Cruise. With his road trip series Travels with My Father returning to Netflix September 6, here’s the lowdown on the well-connected British multi-hyphenate.

1. At school, Whitehall used to sit next to… Robert Pattinson!

Whitehall has often joked about their supposed feud, which (allegedly) began when Pattinson kept beating him to the best parts in school plays. But these days, he’s not averse to playing his former classmate’s sidekick…

2. He auditioned for a role in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

“I was the first person in the world to audition for The Hobbit,” Whitehall told Shortlist in 2012. “The casting director told me that when I went in. That’s a lot of pressure, isn’t it? The first person in the world. That’s probably why I f**ked the audition up.” And the role he was reading for? “An elf, I think. No, a hobbit. One of the ‘dwarfy’ ones.”

3. He also auditioned to play Harry Potter around the same time as Daniel Radcliffe.

But didn’t make it past the first round of auditions.

4. He says “the worst death I’ve ever had” on stage was when he did a comedy gig in front of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Kensington Palace.

And made a joke about Prince Harry that, as Whitehall recalled on The Graham Norton Show, didn’t quite get the desired response.

5. His big TV break came when he hosted Big Brother’s Big Mouth, a spin-off show from the U.K. version of Big Brother.

Whitehall was only 21 when he began presenting the show, following in the footsteps of previous hosts including Russell Brand and James Corden.

6. Whitehall’s dad Michael, with whom he appears on Travels with My Father, is a TV producer and talent agent.

And a very successful one: Michael Whitehall’s past clients include Dame Judi Dench and Colin Firth.

7. His mum is an actress whose stage name is Hilary Gish.

She’s probably best known for her roles in the ’80s British sitcom Executive Stress and opposite Jack in Bad Education.

8. Richard Griffiths, the beloved British character actor known for his roles in The History Boys and the Harry Potter movies, was one of Whitehall’s Godparents.

“He was the best story-teller I have ever met,” Whitehall wrote shortly after Griffiths passed away in March 2013. “I am so fortunate to have had this inspirational man in my life. How I will miss him.”

9. He played a troll in Frozen… sort of.

But his sole line was cut, as he hilariously recalled on The Graham Norton Show.

10. Oh, and when he appeared on the U.K. version of Who Do You Think You Are, he wasn’t too impressed with what he discovered!

What’s your favorite Jack Whitehall TV show or movie to date?

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Filed Under: Jack Whitehall
By Nick Levine