Planer is perhaps best known for his role as Neil, the hippie housemate of Vyvyan (Adrian Edmonson), Rick (Rik Mayall) and Mike (Christopher Ryan) in the cult BBC comedy The Young Ones, which ran from 1982-1984. Planer was one of the original cast of the The Comic Strip team, pioneers of the alternative comedy movement in the UK. Originally a nightclub stage show, he appeared with its creator Peter Richardson as part of the double act The Outer Limits. Planer and Richardson also wrote the That's Life! parody on Not The Nine O'Clock News.
His first break in the theatre was understudying David Essex as Che Guevara in the original West End run of Evita. Nigel was in the original London cast of Chicago, as Amos Hart. He was a member of the original West End cast of Ben Elton's Queen musical We Will Rock You. From 10-15 July 2006 he played the part of the Narrator in "The Rocky Horror Show" taking on the role in Manchester and Bromley. He most recently starred as The Wizard in the West-End production of Wicked at The Apollo Victoria Theatre. He ended his run on June 7, 2008 and was replaced by Desmond Barrit. He recently appeared on a BBC 4 programme under the guise of 'Nicholas Craig' to be interviewed by Mark Lawson.
Nigel was one of the 4 members of the 1980s spoof rock band, Bad News, playing Den Dennis. As Neil from The Young Ones, Nigel gained a number two hit single in 1984 in the form of "Hole in My Shoe", (originally a hit for sixties band Traffic). A cover of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" was a less successful follow up, only reaching number seventeen in the charts. After that, an album was produced, entitled Neil's Heavy Concept Album. Nigel also took Neil's stage act on the road in that year as Neil in the "Bad Karma in The UK" tour. This culminated in a month long run at St. Mary's Hall at the Edinburgh Fringe. The Young Ones also appeared on Cliff Richard's 1986 charity rerecording of "Living Doll", which spent three weeks at number one in the UK.
Nigel is the reader for the audiobook editions of many of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. He also appeared in the television adaptations of both Terry Pratchett's Hogfather and The Colour of Magic, as well as performing as a voice artist in the game Discworld Noir. Discworld Audiobooks narrated by Nigel Planer include (with number in parentheses indicating order of the book in the Discworld series):
- The Colour of Magic (1)
- The Light Fantastic (2)
- Mort (4)
- Sourcery (5)
- Wyrd Sisters (6)
- Pyramids (7)
- Guards! Guards! (8)
- Moving Pictures (10)
- Reaper Man (11)
- Witches Abroad (12)
- Small Gods (13)
- Lords and Ladies (14)
- Men at Arms (15)
- Soul Music (16)
- Interesting Times (17)
- Maskerade (18)
- Feet of Clay (19)
- Hogfather (20)
- Jingo (21)
- The Last Continent (22)
- Carpe Jugulum (23)
Nigel Planer and Toyah Wilcox are credited for an original cast recording of Cabaret.
He is arguably best known in Britain for his work in television comedy and satire, including:
- Boom Boom...Out Go The Lights (1980)
- Shine on Harvey Moon (1982)
- The Young Ones (1982-1984)
- Roll Over Beethoven (1983-1984)
- The Comic Strip Presents... (1983-2000)
- King & Castle (1986-1988)
- Filthy, Rich & Catflap (1987)
- Blackeyes by Dennis Potter (1989)
- Frankenstein's Baby (1990)
- Nicholas Craig - The Naked Actor (1990)
- Nicholas Craig's Interview Masterclass (1990)
- Nicholas Craig's Masterpiece Theatre (1992)
- The Nicholas Craig Masterclass (1992)
- Carry On Columbus (1992)
- The Magic Roundabout (English adaptation and narrator on previously unseen episodes)
- Sherlock Holmes (1993)
- Let's Get Divorced (1994)
- Wake Up! With Libby And Jonathan (1994)
- Blackadder the Third
- French & Saunders
- Jonathan Creek
- The Grimleys (1997-2001)
- Wicked (September 26, 2006 - June 7, 2008)
- Terry Pratchett's Hogfather (2006)
- Spongebob Squarepants (2006) (as Dr. Marmalade)
- Flood (2007)
- Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic (2008)
He has published several books including novels - The Right Man (2000) (ISBN 0-09-927227-X) and Faking It (2003) (ISBN 0-09-940986-0). , Nigel wrote A Good Enough Dad (1992) (ISBN 0-09-929661-6), after his first son was born, talking about coping with becoming a father.
- Nigel Planer Filmography and mini-biography from the Internet Movie Database.
- Wicked Biography Full Biography from official Wicked site.
- The Times Article September 2006 article about Nigel.
- Discounted Wicked Tickets