Benjamin Charles Elton was born on the 3rd of May 1959 in Catford, London. His family are extremely academic, including university professors and historians. He is the youngest of four children.
He attended Stillness Junior School, and then Godalming Grammar School where he joined the amateur dramatics society and wrote his first play. Although he wanted to become a stagehand at a local theatre, he decided to pursue dramatic arts more academically, and studied drama at Manchester University from 1977 to 1980. It was here that he encountered Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson.
He began his career in standup comedy soon after graduating from university. He also began writing comedy, and quickly became one of the central figures in the alternative British comedy scene of the 1980s. He also became a successful comedic novelist, placing political messages within his earlier novels and more recently, social critiques.
Elton has won several awards, including the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain Gold Dagger Award for fiction for his novel Popcorn, WH Smith's People Choice Fiction Award for his novel High Society, the TMA Barclays Theatre Award for best new play and the Olivier Award for best comedy for the stage play Popcorn. Ben Elton was also made a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2007.