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Matthew Kelly (born David Kelly, 9 May 1950, Urmston, Lancashire, England) is an English actor, who made his name as a television presenter.


Early life

As a child, Kelly lived on Primrose Avenue in the town and became interested in acting at the Urmston Musical Theatre, most notably playing the role of Louis in a production of The King and I in 1963.[1]

After 1961, Kelly went to Urmston Grammar school. He trained as an actor at The Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre (Formally Manchester Polytechnic) and joined in a theatre group which included Julie Walters and Pete Postlethwaite. After graduation, he made his professional debut at the Pavilion Theatre in Rhyl. After this debut he appeared regularly at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre. He is a former member of the Workers' Revolutionary Party [2]


His first major TV appearances were as a panelist in the gameshow Punchlines hosted by Lennie Bennett (ITV) and in the ITV sitcom Holding The Fort but he became famous as part of the original team on Game for a Laugh for the same producers and network. For the next 14 years his work centered on light entertainment shows such as You Bet! (LWT/ITV) and, most notably, Stars in Their Eyes (Granada/ITV), which he took over from Leslie Crowther - initially on a temporary basis after Crowther had suffered serious head injuries in a car crash in October 1992. However, it later became apparent that Crowther would not be able to return. Thereafter, Kelly hosted the show until March 2004. He was also the first CITV presenter and continued to act occasionally, notably in the Channel 4 comedy, Relative Strangers, and in the theatre production of The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari.

After leaving Stars in their Eyes, Kelly declared that he would be returning to acting full time and would leave light entertainment behind. To this end he has appeared in a number of television and theatre productions. In 2005 he was a member of the cast in BBC One's Bleak House as Mr. Turveydrop. He also played a serial killer in 2005's Cold Blood and its 2007 sequel, as well as the explorer Giovanni Belzoni in BBC One's Egypt.

On the stage he won an Olivier Award in 2003 for his portrayal of Lenny in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men at the Savoy Theatre. Other work includes Ripafratta in Mirandolina at the Royal Exchange Theatre in August 2006 which he swiftly followed by appearing as a well-received Antonio Salieri in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus.

From December 2008 to January 2009, he joined Stefanie Powers, Craig McLachlan and Christopher Biggins at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton to play May, one of the Ugly sisters, in the pantomime Cinderella alongside his son Matthew Rixon.

In 2009 he was on stage to high critical acclaim, in Howard Barker's Victory [3]; Choices in Reaction at the Arcola Theatre, then as George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre, followed by a season at London's Trafalgar Studios. The summer was spent as Pandarus in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida at The Globe in London. He opened in Comedians at the Hammersmith Lyric in October 2009.

In January 2010 he replaced Simon Callow as Pozzo in the revival of Waiting for Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, alongside Ian McKellen (Estragon), Roger Rees (Vladimir) and Ronald Pickup (Lucky).


  1. ^ The Urmston Musical Theatre: "The King and I 1963", Retrieved on 13 November 2008
  2. ^ [1].
  3. ^ [2].

External links

Preceded by
Bruce Forsyth
Host of You Bet!
Succeeded by
Darren Day
Preceded by
Leslie Crowther
Host of Stars in their Eyes
Succeeded by
Cat Deeley

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