John Sessions: a brilliantly unhinged, self-effacing genius | Stephen Moss

John Sessions: a brilliantly unhinged, self-effacing genius | Stephen MossNovember 4, 2020

An outstanding mimic and actor, Sessions’ talent, honed in 1980s TV comedy, somehow failed to bring him superstardom

  • Actor and comedian John Sessions dies aged 67

What an enigma John Sessions was, and what a peculiar career. Not unsuccessful by any means – he was a fixture on the emerging comedy scene in the 1980s and kept popping up in screen parts, some good, some atrocious, over the next 30 years. But there was always a sense of what might have been: of what this glorious freewheeling talent could have achieved if he hadn’t been dogged by self-doubt or if the cards had fallen differently.

Sessions, who was Rada-trained, came to prominence on Whose Line Is It Anyway? in 1988, first on BBC radio alongside Stephen Fry, then on Channel 4. The improv series was the making and in some ways the breaking of him. It channelled his skills as actor and impressionist, and was the perfect vehicle for his fantastical humour.

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