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 to 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 in 2007/2008, John Murray in the UK and Simon & Schuster in the US began publishing The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, his series of Victorian murder mysteries featuring Oscar Wilde as an amateur detective and based on Wilde’s real-life friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. (‘One of the most intelligent, amusing and entertaining books of the year. If Oscar Wilde himself had been asked to write this book he could not have done it any better’, Alexander McCall Smith).
As a performer, Gyles Brandreth has been seen most recently in Zipp! One hundred musicals for less than the price of one at London’s 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. 2010 saw him back in Edinburgh and on tour once more with his own one-man show, The One to One Show. 2010 also saw his play, Wonderland, opening in Edinburgh. With music by Susannah Pearse, it stars Michael Maloney as Lewis Carroll and Flora Specer-Longhurst as Isa Bowman, the actress who played Alice in Wonderland on stage.
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), political diarist (Channel Four), journalist (British Press Awards), theatre producer (Olivier), and businessman (British Tourist Authority Come to Britain Trophy).
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. He is a former chairman and now vice-president of the National Playing Fields Association.
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. Today, Gyles Brandreth has family living in New York, Maryland, South Carolina and California. He has been London correspondent for “Up to the Minute” on CBS News and his books published in the United States include the New York Times best-seller, The Joy of Lex as well as Philip & Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage and The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries.