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Brian Paul Conley (born 7 August 1961) is an English comedian, television presenter, singer and actor. As a presenter he is arguably best known as the host of The Brian Conley Show, as well as presenting the Royal Variety Performance on eight occasions. In his 40-year television career, he has starred in multiple award-winning television sitcoms including Time After Time and The Grimleys. In the West End, he has played the lead role in musicals such as Me and My Girl, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hairspray, Oliver!, The Music Man, Barnum and Jolson for which he was nominated for a prestigious Laurence Olivier Award. As a musician, he has recorded three albums Brian Conley Sings, Let the Good Times Roll, and Stage to Stage.
British comedian, singer and actor Brian Conley backstage at the Dorchester Hotel in London October 2018 performing for the Caron Keating Foundation.
Brian Paul Conley
7 August 1961
|Occupation||Comedian, singer, actor|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Spouse(s)||Anne-Marie (m. 1996)|
Conley was born in Paddington, London. His father was a taxi driver. He was brought up in West London and studied Performing Arts at the Barbara Speake Stage School. As a teenager, Conley had a few minor television appearances, including an advert for hot dogs and a small role in a 1977 episode of the science fiction series Survivors. At the age of 16, by lying about his age, Conley started work as a Pontin's Bluecoat.
Conley's first major show business success was fronting a comedy showband called Tomfoolery, who performed in pubs and clubs across England and Wales, sometimes as a support act for artists such as Johnny Mathis and the Nolans. Although the group broke up due to internal disputes when Conley was 19, his work with the band led to him being talent spotted by agent Bob Voice. As a result of this, Conley started working as a warm-up man for television personalities such as the Krankies, Kenny Everett and Terry Wogan.
Conley's career was then advanced by TVS casting director Bill Hatterley, who secured him onscreen appearances on comedy shows such as Make Me Laugh (1982), The Laughter Show (1984-1985), Live from Her Majesty's (1984–87) and Five Alive (1987). In 1989, with the support of London Weekend Television (LWT)'s light entertainment controller, Conley starred in his own comedy sketch show, Brian Conley: This Way Up. This programme was popular, but not hugely successful.
In 1992, LWT offered him another opportunity to star in his own comedy programme, with The Brian Conley Show. At the suggestion of producer and director Nigel Lythgoe, this new show had a variety format rather than being purely sketches. This different format proved popular, and the show became Britain's most-watched light entertainment programme. Conley's next success was a sitcom entitled Time After Time, in which he played the lead role. The show was named 'Best ITV Sitcom' at the 1994 British Comedy Awards.
Conley recorded a live show in 1996 titled "Brian Conley: Alive and Dangerous", which was televised and featured stand-up plus special Nick Frisby/Larry the Loafer and Dangerous Brian sketches. The show was put on VHS and later on DVD.
Around 2000, Conley was given a new show for ITV consisting of chat and music called, once again, The Brian Conley Show. The show lasted for three series. The show's guests included some major Hollywood names like Kathleen Turner and Leslie Nielsen.
Conley also worked at the BBC for a couple of shows. His first being We've Got Your Number, a game show part of a long series of National Lottery game shows. Conley would later return to the BBC to present Let Me Entertain You in 2006.
In 2006, Conley returned to television, hosting a daytime variety show called Let Me Entertain You, a Lion TV production for BBC Two where 13-year-old operatic baritone Matthew Crane was the first series champion. On 1 December of the same year, he appeared as a guest presenter on The New Paul O'Grady Show on Channel 4, where Larry the Loafer made an appearance in the beginning, and Brian referred himself to "Dangerous Brian" as he was about to enter the "Tank of Doom" as part of a Bushtucker trial.
Later in 2007, Conley presented a second series of Let Me Entertain You on BBC Two, and presented a gameshow, Dirty Rotten Cheater for the BBC. Twenty shows were recorded in May at the Maidstone Studios in Kent.
Conley presented the Midweek Lottery show on BBC One in 2008. On 24 April 2008, Brian took over from ill presenter Paul O'Grady on The Paul O'Grady Show on Channel 4, where he starred once again as 'Dangerous Brian' and he contested against 'Nearly Dangerous Joyce'. Larry the Loafer also made an appearance. On 22 June 2008, Brian performed a cameo role in Last of the Summer Wine as "Boothroyd", Barry's fitness mad neighbour.
Brian appeared as part of Team Ant on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, and took over from Michael Ball in the musical Hairspray playing the role of Edna Turnblad at London's Shaftesbury Theatre. He also played the same role in the UK Tour of Hairspray, sharing the role with Michael Ball and actor Michael Starke, at selected UK venues. He has also partaken in his own live show, "The Best of Brian Conley", which showcases 'the best' of Brian's material from his past shows, interspersed with occasional showreels of either Larry the Loafer, Dangerous Brian (depending on who Brian is about to come on stage as) or a generic showreel of his work. Like the Brian Conley Show, the stage show invites guests to perform on stage alongside Brian. In 2010, the show went on tour again, covering more areas of the country.
He recently finished playing Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh's Oliver! and also finished a West End run as Edna Turnblad in Olivier Award-winning Hairspray. His recent stage career has included lead roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Music Man at the Chichester Festival, Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show (directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood) and Olivier Award-winning Jolson, in which he played Al Jolson.
In April 2014, Conley was a contestant on CBBC's Driving Academy programme. In 2014, he hosted a game show for Challenge called Timeline and he presented two series of the daytime BBC show The TV That Made Me in 2015 and 2016.
On 18 August 2017, it was announced that Conley would be taking part in the fifteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing. He was partnered with Welsh professional dancer Amy Dowden.. Conley and Dowden were voted off the show in Week 5 after their Jive to Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual.
Conley married Anne-Marie on 4 August 1996, in a ceremony at a Stoke Poges chapel, Buckinghamshire. Conley had proposed eight months earlier, while wearing a suit of armour. The wedding day itself also had comic elements, causing celebrity guest Linda Lusardi to remark that it was "the funniest wedding I've been to" — Conley made several memorable quips during the event, and the couple left the church in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car. The couple have two daughters.
Television, film and theatre creditsEdit
As title starEdit
- Brian Conley: This Way Up (1989–90)
- The Brian Conley Show (1992–95)
- Brian Conley: Alive and Dangerous (1996)
- Brian Conley's Crazy Christmas (1997)
- The Brian Conley Show (2000–02)
- An Audience with... (2002)
- Simply the Best! LWT'S Most Memorable Moments (1998)
- The National Lottery: We've Got Your Number (1999)
- Royal Variety Performance (1999)
- Judgement Day (2003)
- Let Me Entertain You (2006–2007)
- The New Paul O'Grady Show (2006, 2009; 2 episodes as guest presenter)
- Dirty Rotten Cheater (2007)
- Brian Conley's Timeline (2014)
- The TV That Made Me (2015–2016)
- Buy It Now (2018-present)
- Survivors (1977) — as Michael, episode 'The Peacemakers'
- Outside Chance (1993, pilot for Time After Time) — as Kenny Conway
- Time After Time (1994–95) — as Kenny Conway
- Privates (1999)
- The Grimleys (1999-2000) — as Doug 'Dynamo' Digby
- Busy Buses (2002-2005) - as the Narrator and the characters
- The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle (2007) — as Chris Connor
- Last of the Summer Wine (2008) — as Boothroyd, episode 'Enter the Finger'
- Make Me Laugh (1982)
- Punchlines! (1983–84, 2 episodes)
- Knees-Up (1983–84)
- The Laughter Show (1984–85)
- Live from Her Majesty's (1984–87, 4 episodes)
- The Keith Harris Show (1985, 1 episode)
- Five Alive (1987)
- Laughs from the Palladium (1987)
- You Bet! (1991, 1 episode)
- Telethon Night Out (1992)
- Royal Variety Performance (1993)
- Surprise Surprise (1993–94, 2 episodes)
- Children in Need (1996)
- Royal Variety Performance (1996)
- Family Fortunes (2001, 1 episode)
- SMTV Gold (2003, 1 episode)
- The Wright Stuff (2005, 1 episode)
- Comic Relief in da Bungalow (2005)
- Dick and Dom in da Bungalow (2006, 1 episode)
- The Best of the Royal Variety (2006)
- Grumpy Old New Year (2006)
- The Wright Stuff (2007–09, 16 episodes)
- Comedy Map of Britain (2007, 1 episode)
- The Grumpy Guide to... Youth Culture (2007)
- Cash in the Celebrity Attic (2008, 1 episode)
- Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (2009, 6 episodes)
Conley's appearances on chat shows include Aspel & Company (1993), This Morning (1993 & 2005), Open House with Gloria Hunniford (1998), The New Paul O'Grady Show (2005 & 2009), GMTV (2005), Breakfast (2008), The Alan Titchmarsh Show (2009), The One Show (2009), The 5 O'Clock Show (2010), The Michael Ball Show (2010) and Loose Women (2007–11, various episodes).
Additionally, Conley has appeared as a talking head on many compilation shows and documentaries including: The 100 Greatest Musicals (2003), Bob Monkhouse's Comedy Heroes (2004), Who Killed Saturday Night TV? (2004), The Story of Light Entertainment (2006), 100 Greatest Stand-Ups (2007), 50 Greatest Comedy Catchphrases (2008) and The Nolans: In the Mood for Dancing (2009).
- Cinderella: The Show Must Go On (1986, TV) – as Dandini
- West is West (1987) – as Sue's friend
- Circus (2000) – as Bruno
- Hotel! (2001, TV) – as Inspector Cochrane
- Dream (2001) – as Charlie Allen
- Arthur's Dyke (2001) – as Dave
- Cruise of the Gods (2002) – as self
- Equilibrium (2002) – as Reading Room Proprietor
- Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs (2006, TV) – as Eric Johnson
- I Am Bob (2007) – as the Compere
- (1978-1979) — Dick Whittington (as Idle Jack), The Hexagon, Reading
- 1979–1980 — Robinson Crusoe (as part of Tomfoolery), Swansea Grand Theatre
- 1984–1985 — Mother Goose, Churchill Theatre, Bromley
- 1989–1990 — Dick Whittington (as a villager), Nottingham Theatre Royal
- 1992–1993 — Aladdin, Birmingham Hippodrome
- 1993–1994 — Cinderella (as Buttons), The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
- 1997–1998 — Cinderella (as Buttons), The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
- 1998–1999 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Birmingham Hippodrome
- 1999–2000 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Theatre Royal, Plymouth
- 2001–2002 — Dick Whittington (as Dick Whittington), Birmingham Hippodrome
- 2002–2003 — Cinderella (as Buttons), The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
- 2003–2004 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Manchester Opera House
- 2004–2005 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Theatre Royal, Plymouth
- 2005–2006 — Aladdin (as Aladdin), The Orchard Theatre, Dartford
- 2006–2007 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Birmingham Hippodrome
- 2007–2008 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Wycombe Swan Theatre, High Wycombe
- 2008–2009 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Nottingham Theatre Royal
- 2009–2010 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea
- 2010–2011 — Cinderella (as Buttons), The New Theatre, Cardiff
- 2011–2012 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Birmingham Hippodrome
- 2012–2013 — Robinson Crusoe (as Robinson Crusoe), Birmingham Hippodrome
- 2013–2014 — Robinson Crusoe (as Robinson Crusoe), The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
- 2014–2015 — Cinderella (as Buttons), The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
- 2015–2016 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea
- 2016–2017 — Robinson Crusoe (as Robinson Crusoe), Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea
- 2017–2018 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Milton Keynes Theatre
- 2018–2019 — Cinderella (as Buttons), Bristol Hippodrome
- Me and My Girl (as Bill Snibson), Adelphi Theatre, 1991.
- Jolson (as Al Jolson), Victoria Palace Theatre, 1995-98.
- Elton John's Glasses (as Bill), Queen's Theatre, 1998.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (as Caractacus Potts), London Palladium, 2005 and Palace Theatre, Manchester & Birmingham Hippodrome 2006.
- The Music Man (as Professor Harold Hill), Chichester Festival Theatre, 2008.
- Hairspray (as Edna Turnblad), Shaftesbury Theatre, 2009-10 and UK tour, 2010.
- Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show (as Brother Love), UK tour, 2011.
- Oliver! (as Fagin), UK tour, 2012.
- Barnum (as P.T. Barnum), UK Tour, 2014–15
- 9 to 5 (as Franklin Hart Jr), Savoy Theatre, 2019
- Brian Conley: Alive + Extra Dangerous (Universal, 1996)
Awards and nominationsEdit
- 1995 National Television Awards, Most Popular Comedy Performer
- 2004 Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards, Most Popular Performer
- 2008 TMA Best Performance in a Musical Award (for The Music Man)
- "National Television Awards Results".
- Leedham, Robert (31 October 1993). "The laugh of Brian: Brian Conley". The Sunday Times.
- "Celebrities | I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!". Itv.com. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- "Strictly Come Dancing - Amy Dowden". BBC. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
- Parker, Nick; Kandohla, Tracey (5 August 1996). "When she said `I will' it reminded me of our first date! - Laugh a minute as comic Brain weds". The Sun.