Gyles Brandreth – in 60 words
Gyles Brandreth is a writer, broadcaster, former MP and Government Whip - and one of Britain's most sought-after
award ceremony hosts and after-dinner speakers. A reporter on The One Show on BBC1 and a regular on
Radio 4's Just a Minute, his many books include
The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries
and the No 1 best-seller: The 7 Secrets of Happiness.
Gyles Brandreth – in 600 words
A former Oxford Scholar, President of the Oxford Union and MP for the City of Chester, Gyles Brandreth’s career has
ranged from being a Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in John Major’s government to starring in his own
award-winning musical revue in London’s West End.
A prolific broadcaster (in programmes ranging from Just a Minute and Wordaholics to QI and
Have I Got News for You), an acclaimed interviewer (principally for the Sunday Telegraph), a novelist,
children’s author and biographer, he has published two volumes of diaries:
Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries (‘By far the best political diary of recent years, far more perceptive and
revealing than Alan Clark’s’, The Times) and
Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime (‘Witty, warm-hearted and deeply poignant’, Daily Mail).
He is the author of two acclaimed royal biographies:
Philip & Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage and
Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair, and a series of Victorian detective stories,
The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, now published in twenty-two countries around the world. His latest Sunday Times
best-seller – No 1 on Amazon – is The 7 Secrets of Happiness. His one-man show,
Looking for happiness, won multiple five star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and
is playing at the Leicester Square Theatre in London from 29 April 2014.
As a performer, Gyles Brandreth has been seen in the West End in Zipp! One hundred musicals for less than the price of
one at the Duchess Theatre and on tour throughout the UK, and as Malvolio and the Sea Captain in Twelfth Night: The
Musical at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2011/12 he appeared as Lady Bracknell in a new musical version of The
Importance of Being Earnest.
Gyles Brandreth is one of Britain’s busiest after-dinner speakers and award ceremony hosts. He has won awards himself,
and been nominated for awards, as a public speaker, novelist, children’s writer, broadcaster (Sony and Royal Television
Society), political diarist (Channel Four), journalist (British Press Awards), theatre producer (Olivier), and businessman
(British Tourist Authority Come to Britain Trophy). He has featured on This Is Your Life and Desert Island Discs and is
a former chairman and now vice-president of the National Playing Fields Association.
He is married to writer and publisher Michèle Brown, with whom he co-curated the exhibition of twentieth century children’s
authors at the National Portrait Gallery and founded the award-winning Teddy Bear Museum now based at the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon.
His son, Benet, is a barrister, award-winning speaker an authority on rhetoric – see artofrhetoric.com.
His daughter, Aphra, is an environmental economist. With his daughter Saethryd and grandson Rory, he is the author of a
compendium of family games, The Lost Art of Having Fun.
Gyles Brandreth’s forebears include George R Sims (the highest-paid journalist of his day, who wrote the ballad Christmas
Day in the Workhouse) and Jeremiah Brandreth (the last man in England to be beheaded for treason). His great-great-grandfather,
Benjamin Brandreth, promoted ‘Brandreth’s Pills’ (a medicine that cured everything!) and was a pioneer of modern advertising
and a New York state senator. Gyles Brandreth has been London correspondent for “Up to the Minute” on CBS News and his books
published in the USA include the New York Times best-seller,
The Joy of Lex, as well as The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries
(Simon & Schuster) and The 7 Secrets of Happiness (Open Road Media).
Gyles Brandreth – in 60,000 words
||Under the Jumper: Autobiographical Excursions
by Gyles Brandreth, published by Robson Books, 1993
Gyles Brandreth – in 600,000 words
Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries by Gyles Brandreth, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999
Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime, published by John Murray, 2009
Gyles Brandreth is a former appeals chairman, chairman and currently vice-president of the National Playing Fields Association,
now known as Fields in Trust: www.fieldsintrust.org.
In 1986 as chairman of the Barn Elms Protection Association, Gyles visited Sir Peter Scott to encourage the creation
of what became the London Wetlands Centre: www.wwt.org.uk/visit/london.
Gyles has served on the appeals committee of what used to be called Action Research for the Crippled Child, now www.action.org.uk.
He is the patron of PetSavers, a division of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association dedicated to improving the health of
pets, providing vets with a better understanding of the illnesses that affect animals: www.petsavers.org.uk.
He is also a patron of the Polka Theatre for children in Wimbledon: www.polkatheatre.com.
Other charities he supports include:
He is a patron, president or vice-president of a number of societies, including:
In 1971, Gyles Brandreth founded the National Scrabble Championships. He is the president of the Association of British
Scrabble Players: www.absp.org.uk
Gyles Brandreth: Contact
Gyles Brandreth: Newsletters
Newsletter - January 2014
Well, I had a happy end to 2013 with a second Number One best-seller. This time
I shared the honours with my daughter, Saethryd, and grandson, Rory. Just after
Christmas our joint compendium of 286 games to play with family and friends, The
Lost Art of Having Fun, published by John Murray, made it
to the top spot on Amazon.
It followed on from another Amazon Number One best-seller - also featured in the
Sunday Times best-seller list: The 7 Secrets of Happiness,
published in the UK by Short Books and in the US by Open Road Media. The 7 Secrets
is the book of the show, but while the show is more larky than serious, the book
is more serious than larky. The tour of the one-man show it’s called
Looking for happiness - continues to the beginning of March and then
pitches up in the West End at the beginning of May. If you haven’t seen it, I
hope you will. You can book now for one of the London performances at
Apart from the stage show, it’s business as usual for 2014 – except that The One
Show is now coming from its new studio at New Broadcasting House in Portland Place
and Just A Minute is being presented by a host who is now in his tenth decade –
and an example to us all.
Happy New Year!
Newsletter - 15 April 2013
I’ve been away on a Uniworld River Cruise along the Mekong River, visiting
Vietnam and Cambodia. It was organized by Titan Travel and beyond
amazing. A full report will follow. Meanwhile, to get a flavour of it all check out
I’m back and I’m busy. I am travelling the length and breadth of the UK for The
One Show; I’m back in Dictionary Corner on Countdown in May; Wordaholics is
currently airing on Radio 4 at 11.30 am on Wednesday mornings; I am taking
part in some more episodes of Just A Minute quite soon – including a couple from
And all’s set for my new one-man show. It’s called Looking for happiness. Click
here for details. I am planning a few previews to “workshop” the show and the
first is happening at my local church, St Mary’s in Barnes. I thought it a good idea
to start in a church: the audience can hope for a miracle and I can pray for one.
There will be other previews (at Mylor in Cornwall on 2 June; at Framlingham
College on 13 June; at the Udderbelly on London’s South Bank on 15 June; at the
Watermill Theatre in Berkshire on 30 June) and on 17 June I am due to deliver
the ‘Happiness Lecture’ at Birmingham University. Catch the show if you can.
It opens in Edinburgh on 31 July and runs for a month. More soon.
All the best,
Newsletter – 1 January 2013
Happy New Year!
What’s my news for 2013?
On the BOOK FRONT, I am happy to report that Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol has had some lovely reviews.
It is the sixth in my series of Victorian murder mysteries featuring Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle and their circle. –
and it has just been optioned for TV. In the UK the book is available as a hardback from John Murray and the paperback
is due out in the spring – when the US hardback is published by Simon & Schuster. More details here:
The next – the seventh – in the series of Oscar Wilde mysteries won’t be appearing before 2014. (I’ve got the plot: I just need
to find the time to write the book. Once I have done the research, with a clear run on a good day I can manage a thousand words –
but that means I need at least one hundred uninterrupted days to write each one.) Meanwhile: I have succeeded the late, great Ned
Sherrin as the editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations – with the new edition due for publication in October 2013.
If you have gems that you think are “musts” for inclusion, please send them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the THEATRE FRONT, I am working on a new one-man show for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I have been to Edinburgh three
times: first with Zipp! (One hundred musicals in one hundred minutes or your money back); then with Twelfth Night – The Musical; and,
most recently, with The One to One Show – produced by Bound & Gagged Comedy who are presenting the new show. It’s going to be called
Looking for happiness . . . Details – plus the dates for Edinburgh and the tour that follows – from
www.boundandgaggedcomedy.com in duecourse – and in the Newsletter.
Watch this space.
Watch this space, too, for more news of the musical of The Importance of Being Earnest. There’s talk of a London season next Christmas . . .
Of course, there is always ‘talk’. so we’ll see . . . Meanwhile, if you’d like to take a look at (or even buy – a couple of people have!)
‘The Bronze Lady’, the remarkable sculpture of my Lady Bracknell executed by the brilliant James Matthews go to:
On the TV and RADIO FRONT, I’m busy criss-crossing the UK as a reporter for The One Show (BBC1 on weeknights at 6.59 pm); I have just
recorded a couple of editions of Just A Minute that are scheduled for transmission on BBC Radio 4 from February sometime and I am currently
recording the second series of Wordaholics which will go out on Radio 4 in the summer (I think). It’s half an hour where we have fun with
words and the line-up includes Alun Cochrane, Susie Dent, Milton Jones, Natalie Haynes, Milton Jones, Lloyd Langdord. They’re very good.
I hope our paths cross in the coming year. In recent weeks my travels have taken me to Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Cardiff,
Sheffield, Solihull, Chepstow, Manchester, Oxford, Birmingham, Lavenham, and Tenbury Wells. When I know for sure where I’ll be this year,
there will be a Newsletter with full details. For now, Happy 2013.
All the best,
PS: Royce Mills as a matchless Widow Twankey in the wonderful Aladdin at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford: ‘Thank goodness for Tesco.
It keeps the riff-raff out of Waitrose.’