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Julian Peter McDonald Clary

Clary performing in The Lovely Russell in June 2008.
Born 25 May 1959 (1959-05-25) (age 50)
Teddington, England, UK
Occupation Comedian, television presenter, writer
Years active 1988–present

Julian Peter McDonald Clary (born 25 May 1959) is an English comedian and novelist, known for his deliberately stereotypical camp style, with a heavy reliance on innuendo and double entendre.


Early life and education

Clary was born in Surbiton to Brenda [nee McDonald]], a probation officer, and Peter J. Clary, a policeman, and raised in Teddington with two older sisters. By his own words, he was conceived in broad daylight in Clacton-on-Sea in the autumn of 1958. He is partly of German descent.[1] [2]

Clary was educated at St Benedict's School, an independent Catholic school in Ealing, London. He studied English and Drama at Goldsmiths' College, University of London.

Stand-up comedy

Clary started his performing career as a fake keyboardist for pop band Thinkman (a recording project conceived by Rupert Hine) under the name Leo Hurll.[3][4] His comedy career started on the alternative comedy scene in the early 1980s, first under the alias Gillian Pieface and later as The Joan Collins Fanclub. He wore heavy glam make-up and dressed in outrageous fashions, usually involving leather and hinting at bondage. His pet dog "Fanny the Wonder Dog" also featured in performances.

Since then, Clary has undertaken several successful tours of his stage act, two of which have been released on video: The Mincing Machine Tour (1989) and My Glittering Passage (1993).

Clary's most recent UK tour, Lord Of The Mince, ran in autumn 2009 and has now been extended to March 2010.[5]

Television and theatre

After a number of appearances in the mid 1980s on Friday Night Live, he co-hosted the short-lived ITV game show Trick Or Treat (1989) with Mike Smith, before going on to greater success later in 1989 with his own high-camp gameshow Sticky Moments with Julian Clary for Channel 4. More of a vehicle for Clary's brand of humour than a genuine gameshow, Sticky Moments was a light-hearted "non-quiz" satire, with Clary often awarding points because he liked the contestants rather than for any particular skill or aptitude. He later starred in the 1992 "audience participation sitcom" Terry and Julian with Lee Simpson, again for Channel 4. His next series was the BBC's studio-based All Rise for Julian Clary in 1996, in which he played a judge in a mock courtroom setting.

In 1992, he played a cameo guest star part in the BBC drama, Virtual Murder. In his episode, "A Dream of Dracula", he played an undertaker, alongside other guest stars including Alfred Marks, Jill Gascoine, Ronald Fraser and Peggy Mount. The same year he also played a role in Carry On Columbus, an unsuccessful revival of the Carry On films (see below). He also appeared in an episode of the improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?

In 1999, he became a team captain on the quiz show It's Only TV... But I Like It along with Phill Jupitus and Jonathan Ross.

In 2004, Clary took part in the BBC series Strictly Come Dancing, finishing third with his partner Erin Boag.

In 2005, Clary hosted Come and Have A Go for the National Lottery.

On 1 February 2006, he appeared on the BBC 2 programme Who Do You Think You Are?, a genealogy series which traced his ancestors to a World War I flight engineer and German immigrants among both his mother's and father's forebears. In May 2006, Clary hosted the topical quiz show Have I Got News for You.

In September 2006, Clary returned to primetime TV as presenter and judge on Channel 5's brand new celebrity performance programme The All Star Talent Show. He was joined by two guest judges every week to assess celebrity performances and co-presented with Myleene Klass and Andi Peters. He also voices the Channel 5 children's series The Little Princess with Jane Horrocks.

In November 2006, Clary joined the panel of QI, a panel game/comedy show hosted by Stephen Fry and also appeared on an episode of The New Paul O'Grady Show.

In 2007, he made a cameo appearance in the Australian soap opera, Neighbours, in scenes filmed in London with Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

From 20 March 2007, Clary presented a brand new show for the BBC called The Underdog Show. Celebrities and children were paired up with rescue dogs. They then commenced training and competed against each other in obedience and agility trials in a live arena. The show ran until 26 April 2007 Some of the celebrities let viewers adopt the dog which they rescued, while others kept their dog because they couldn't let them go.

From April - May 2007 Clary toured various theatres in the UK in An Evening with... Julian Clary.

From 2 October 2007 - 19 April 2008, Clary played the much coveted role of 'Emcee', in Rufus Norris’s Olivier Award winning production of Cabaret, in its second year in the West End of London.

In January 2008, Clary was drafted in as a relief presenter for This Morning, co-presenting alongside Fern Britton and Ruth Langsford during Phillip Schofield's absence.

On 25 April 2008, Clary again fronted the BBC 1 TV Show Have I Got News For You.

In May 2008, Clary filmed an appearance in Celebrity Bargain Hunt to be shown later this year.

Clary has been confirmed to be taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Tour in January and February 2009 with Lilia Kopylova and dancing a Quickstep and a Samba.

On 16 October 2008, Clary was a short-notice guest on The Paul O'Grady Show after Peter Andre and Katie Price couldn't appear.

From 12 December 2009 until 3 January 2010 Clary will star as Dandini in Cinderella at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley, West Sussex. The show has enjoyed rave reviews.


Clary appeared in the film Carry on Columbus (1992), an unsuccessful attempt to revive the "Carry On" series of films. It was widely panned by critics, but was more financially profitable than the two other 'Columbus' films released the same year: 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

Clary returned to film in 2001 in the film The Baby Juice Express which starred Lisa Faulkner, Samantha Janus, Ruth Jones and David Seaman, about a prisoner who is desperate to find some way of conceiving with his wife whilst he is prison, but the sperm ends up getting hijacked. It was released on DVD in 2004.


In 1992 Clary hosted a radio show for the BBC called Intimate Contact, the premise of which was for him to act as a genial 'Mr Fix-it' for a wide range of 'punter' problems. Clary attempted to solve these issues over the telephone, with the assistance of roving reporter "Hugh Jelly" (actor Philip Herbert). It originally aired on BBC Radio 1 for two series; the pilot and 6-part first series have since been repeated on BBC Radio 7 a number of times.

Clary had also appeared regularly in The Big Fun Show in 1988. He has also often been a guest on Just a Minute, the Radio 4 comedy show.


Clary has released two large format comedy books: "My Life With Fanny The Wonder Dog" (1989) and "How To Be A Man" (1992).

Since 2005, Clary has written a fortnightly column for New Statesman magazine. He has also published an autobiography, A Young Man's Passage, which covers his life and career up to the 1993 "Norman Lamont incident" at the British Comedy Awards (see below). In 2007, Clary released his first novel, Murder Most Fab, published by Ebury Press. His second novel, Devil in Disguise, was published in 2009.

Personal life

Clary owns a seven-bedroom farmhouse near Ashford, Kent, formerly owned by Noel Coward. His neighbour is Paul O'Grady. He owns a whippet-mongrel dog called Valerie who starred alongside Clary in The Underdog Show.

Clary is a close friend of fellow comedian Paul Merton, who was one of the writers for his 1989 show Sticky Moments, before Merton earned fame on Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Clary has appeared as a guest on an episode of W.L.I.I.A? and Merton is one of the regular panellists for Have I Got News For You). Clary also appeared on an episode of Room 101. For this episode, he was allowed to sit on the left, in Merton's usual spot, so that the right side of his face was facing the camera; he nominated his left side, which he believes to be un-photogenic, for Room 101.

On 7 September 2005, Goldsmiths College made Clary an honorary fellow.


In 1993, Clary courted much controversy after making a sexually explicit joke about Conservative politician and then-Chancellor Norman Lamont ("I've just been fisting Norman Lamont") during a live broadcast of the British Comedy Awards ceremony, before the nine o'clock watershed. The audience reaction was sufficiently raucous that his intended punchline ("Talk about a red box!") was almost entirely drowned out. The joke created considerable controversy including a failed campaign by tabloid TV critic Garry Bushell to prevent Clary from ever appearing on live television again. There is considerable debate as to how much (if at all) this incident affected his career. Regardless, Clary has continued to be a regular (if slightly less risqué) fixture on British television since.


External links

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