But the actor and comedian, best known for his roles in Ricky Gervais hits After life and Derek, is back on the front foot after winning over new fans – by taking up online cricket. The father-of-three has built up his own online community after taking on the role of England’s worst ever manager. He’s had up to 3,000 people watch and join in as he plays out matches on live streaming platform Twitch.
It has proved such a hit David is hosting what has been described as “virtually the biggest cricket game ever” to raise vital funds for a crisis-hit children’s charity.
Yesterday David told how he hadn’t played computer games for 20 years but joined the streaming platform for gamers at the suggestion of fellow comedian Iain Lee.
He said: “I like cricket so I thought I’d give it a go.
“I just got into it during lockdown. I lost quite a bit of work and I was trying to work out what to get involved in.
“I sold myself as England’s worst cricket manager and people sort of bought into it.
“The England manager is kind of me but a frustrated me – I don’t think I’ve won a match online since I’ve been doing it.
“I’ve bought a straw hat and a I’ve got a pipe and it’s fun getting annoyed when each player gets out or the umpire gives a decision.
“It’s been great fun. I didn’t quite understand it until I started playing it and having 3,000 people watching is bizarre.
“They can join a chat box which is where a lot of the fun happens.”
David – who has also appeared in Extras and the movie Cemetery Junction – will be taking on gamer Kurt Yoy in the England v Scotland T20 match which gets underway at 8pm on Saturday (July 18).
The pair will be raising funds for The Children’s Society which was left with a £1 million a month funding shortfall when it had to close all of its 106 charity shops during lockdown.
He told how Marcus Rashford’s free school meal vouchers campaign inspired him to step in.
David said: “It really affected me. I’ve got three children and I was thinking about other children and their situation during lockdown.
“Having read about the charity it upset me to think that there are innocent children suffering during these times. I wanted to do something about it, however small.”
As well as performing, David wrote the Sky1 comedy series Rovers and UKTV Gold’s The Cockfields with fellow comedian Joe Wilkinson.
The pair were due to start filming a sitcom in August which has been put back until next year, one of David’s projects hit by the crisis.
He said: “At the moment you just don’t know where the end is.
“I don’t think there’s any money to support stand up comedy clubs so I think that is going to fall down the wayside. I don’t know how people are surviving.
“I was lucky that I had fingers in other pies.”
The Children’s Society supports youngsters in care as well as those who go missing from home, those at risk of sexual exploitation and refugees.
The charity has warned that the coronavirus outbreak has left many vulnerable children and young people hidden from view, putting them at greater risk of exploitation and abuse.
As lockdown restrictions begin to lift the charity fears a dramatic rise in referrals, putting a strain on existing services.
Mark Russell, chief executive of The Children’s Society said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to David and Kurt for their support in these unprecedented times.
“With school closures and lockdown restrictions in place, vulnerable children are trapped at home and hidden from view, putting them at greater risk of neglect and abuse.
“During this time, we have seen a significant drop in income as we’ve had to cancel fundraising events and temporarily close our shops.
“Innovative fundraising ideas, such as this virtual cricket match, are vital to help us continue to support children and young people at their most urgent time of need.”