Stephen James Merchant (born 24 November 1974) is a British Comedy Award-, BAFTA-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-award winning English writer, director, radio presenter, and comic actor. He may be best known as the co-writer of the popular British sitcoms The Office, as the co-writer and a co-star of Extras, and as the co-host of The Ricky Gervais Show in its radio (for which the show won a bronze Sony Award) and podcast forms.
Merchant was born in Bristol, England, the son of Jane Elaine (Hibbs), a nursery nurse, and Ronald John Merchant, an insurance representative and attended Hanham High School. As he has described in Xfm London shows and podcasts, Merchant was a very shy child, tending to focus more on school work as opposed to sport. His school yearbook predicted that he would enjoy success. Merchant has also described his relatively normal childhood, which is often contrasted with that of his associate Karl Pilkington.
Merchant is a graduate of the University of Warwick (it is rumoured that he resided in Knightcote Halls on Westwood Campus) and a former film reviewer on the student radio station, Radio Warwick where he began his broadcasting career. The station's 1995/96 yearbook tipped him for great things: