He born in the UK and completed his school education in Invercargill after his family moved to New Zealand.

His first foray into TV was alongside long-time collaborator David McPhail on A Week of It! The pair then developed the hit comedy McPhail and Gadsby. He went on to perform, write and produce television comedy for more than 30 years.

He was also a noted author, writing and co-writing 45 children's books.