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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of UK in Australia

7th October 2014

British comedy fits the Bill

Bill Bailey and HE Paul Madden

Australians and Brits share a very similar sense of humour. The much loved comedian, musician and self-styled hippy Bill Bailey is well known here from his Black Books sitcom and appearances on many panel shows like QI. He came to lunch at my Residence on Saturday before performing a sell-out show in Canberra as part of his latest Australian Tour, which also takes in New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Bill Bailey and HE Paul Madden
Bill Bailey and HE Paul Madden

It was his usual mix of whimsy and hilarious musical pastiche played on a bewildering range of instruments. Reflecting on the British tendency to report that life is “not too bad, all things considered” provokes him to question whether all things – the moons of Venus, the hanging gardens of Babylon, and a long list of other phenomena – really have been considered. And his version of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” in the style of German 70s electronic band Kraftwerk, and a reggae version of the Downton Abbey theme tune had the audience in shrieks of laughter. As a fellow West Countryman, my personal favourite was his West Country version of Gaga’s “Poker Face”, or Pokurrrr Vace as it came out.

Away from the stage Bill is a keen and expert naturalist and great company. Over lunch, which included several of Australia’s top government officials, he told us about the filming of his documentary on Alfred Wallace, the 19th century biogeographer and explorer of SE Asia.

It was also good to see that Brits were prominent in the National Rugby League (NRL) final in Sydney this weekend. Yorkshireman Sam Burgess was voted man of the match in the South Sydney Rabbitohs win over the Canterbury Bulldogs, playing on despite breaking his cheekbone in the opening minutes. Three of his brothers also play for Souths, so it was no wonder mum Julie looked proud after the match. And the Bulldogs were co-captained by Brit James Graham. The cup, which Souths had not picked up for 43 years, was presented by my friend Dave Smith, the British CEO of the NRL.

About Paul Madden

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017. He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia…

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017.

He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011.

A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.

As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan

He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.

Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.

He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.

Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.