Margi Clarke

Margi Clarke (born 25 May 1954) is an English actress and radio and television presenter. She had a leading role in the film Letter to Brezhnev (1985), a low-budget film which had an international release. Later, Clarke became known for playing Jackie Dobbs in Coronation Street, from 1998 to 1999 and again from 2008 to 2010.

Margi Clarke
Born (1954-05-25) 25 May 1954 (age 66)
Kirkby, Liverpool, England
Other namesMargox
OccupationActress, radio & television presenter
EmployerCity Talk 105.9
Known forLetter to Brezhnev (1985) Coronation Street (1998-1999, 2008-2010)
TelevisionMaking Out (1989–1991);
The Good Sex Guide (1991);
Coronation Street (1998–1999, 2008–2010)
Partner(s)Jamie Reid (former)[1]
FamilyFrank Clarke (brother)
Angela Clarke (sister)

Early life and careerEdit

Clarke was born and raised in Kirkby near Liverpool.[2] Her career as a presenter began in 1978 on the late-night television magazine show, What's On, which was only shown in the Granada region. She was known as Margox in the early 1980s when performing in punk bands.[2]

In 1983, Clarke appeared as Fran in two early episodes of the Liverpool-set Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, credited as Margi MacGregor.[3] Her brother Frank wrote her in, because, as she later said, she "had a gas bill which I couldn't pay"[citation needed].

She received greater attention when she featured in the low-budget film Letter to Brezhnev (1985), the screenplay being adapted by her brother from his own play.[2] It concerns two working class Liverpool girls who meet two Russian sailors. The film was made for around £50,000 (Clarke called this "the cocaine budget on Rambo"), and became an international hit. At the next Evening Standard British Film Awards, Clarke was awarded the prize for "Most Promising Newcomer".[2] Margi originated her role of Theresa in Letter to Brezhnev a few years earlier when she played the role in a modest run at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983.

Clarke followed Letter to Brezhnev with the European art-house trilogy for Finnish brothers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki[2] (Helsinki Napoli All Night Long, I Hired a Contract Killer and L.A. Without a Map).

Film actress and TV presenterEdit

Clarke had a lead role in the films The Dressmaker (1988) and Strike It Rich (1990), and appeared in the Pet Shop Boys' video for their 1987 single,"Rent". She was the stand-in host for Paula Yates on Channel 4's The Tube on several occasions.[2] Clarke was also the voice for the character of Bixie in the Weetabix adverts at this time.

In 1989, she was cast as Queenie in the long running BBC series Making Out, set in a Manchester electronics factory and written by Debbie Horsfield. The show ran for three series. In 1991, she returned to presenting, this time on the late night ITV show The Good Sex Guide which gained an audience figures of 13 million. She received a Royal Television Society (RTS) Award[2] for "Best Female Presenter" in 1994. A second series and third series followed. the last entitled The Good Sex Guide Abroad. Clarke turned down an offer to take the series into a late night chat show format, the host eventually being Toyah Willcox.

In 1991, Clarke performed with Half Man Half Biscuit on the single "No Regrets", a cover of the song, "Non, je ne regrette rien", best known from the version recorded by Édith Piaf. In the same year, she also portrayed Ronnie O'Dowd, a 'sexy' female boxer who follows her father into the world of 'pugilism' and rescues him from being 'on the skids' in New York to bring him back to Liverpool with her winnings in Blonde Fist.

Following the success of The Good Sex Guide, the ITV franchise holder Carlton offered Clarke her own day-time show, and the resulting programme, Swank, co-presented with fashion designer David Emanuel,[2] ran for two series. In 1994, Clarke tried a new venture, stand-up comedy, and took her one-woman show 21st Century Scutt around the country - the tour included a stint at the Edinburgh Film Festival and the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank. She was a regular guest on Channel 4's music show The Word, including one occasion where she tricked presenter Terry Christian into showing his testicles in a hidden camera set-up.

Around this time, Clarke's partner was the artist Jamie Reid and she was paid an undisclosed sum to pose nude while nine months pregnant with their daughter Rowan. (The couple split up around 1997.)[1] The resulting pictures were a response to the then recent Vanity Fair spread of actress Demi Moore, in which she was shown nude while also nine months pregnant. The pictures of Clarke were published in the Sunday People tabloid. She also published her own vegetarian cookery book, Margi Clarke's Better than Sex Cookbook. In 1994, Clarke teamed up with Welsh political band Anhrefn for the single "Clutter from the Gutter".

Her last role before taking a three-year sabbatical, following the death of her mother and birth of her daughter, was in the BBC1 serial, Soul Survivors co-starring Ian McShane. She returned to acting in 1998, joining the soap opera Coronation Street, playing Jackie Dobbs. She left in 1999, and joined the cast of Five soap opera Family Affairs, staying for just under a year, as well as guesting in an episode of the BBC's Casualty.

She also had roles in two films released in 2002, Revengers Tragedy (adapted from the 17th century play), directed by Alex Cox and 24 Hour Party People, the biopic of the Factory/Hacienda days in Manchester, which Clarke participated in during her 'Margox' days of the 1970s. In feature film The Boys from County Clare (2003) she played the role of Dove.

Since 2004Edit

In 2004, Clarke appeared on the Five reality TV show The Farm and had a leading role in the theatrical film School for Seduction co-starring Kelly Brook. In 2006, Clarke had a role in an episode of the Hollyoaks spin-off Hollyoaks: In the City and around the same time she was also a contestant on a celebrity version of the BBC gameshow The Weakest Link.

Clarke is often referred to as "The Queen of Liverpool" by the media. This tag was originally attributed to Clarke by music promoter Malcolm McLaren.[4] In 2005, she began her successful on-line health and beauty range "Soul Rinse" which she runs parallel to her acting career. In 2006/2007, she was heard on the airwaves of North-West radio station 105.4 Century Radio as co-presenter of the breakfast show and their late night phone-in shows.

In August 2007, Clarke was a guest on Big Brother's Big Mouth on Channel 4 with Pete Burns, a Liverpool-born friend and performer for many years. At the end of 2007 it was reported in the Liverpool Echo that Clarke would be playing the role of Kath in a revival of the Joe Orton play Entertaining Mr Sloane, as part of the city's Capital of Culture celebrations for 2008.

On 11 January 2008, as part of the opening night celebrations of Liverpool's European Capital of Culture year, Clarke was one of around a hundred local celebrities hoisted hidden in a blue container by a crane 30 feet into the air, landing on the main stage at St. George's Hall in the city. The celebrities stepped out of the container marked "Precious Cargo" to rapturous applause. The same evening Clarke appeared as a panel guest on the BBC Two late-night show Newsnight Review, talking about her home town's Capital of Culture celebrations.

In January 2008, Clarke joined Liverpool's newest talk radio station City Talk 105.9, presenting a late night show on Saturday evenings.

Clarke returned to a prime-time starring role in the second series of the British comedy Benidorm on ITV in 2008 and reprised her role as Jackie Dobbs in Coronation Street on 2 January 2009,[5] and again on 22 February 2010.

Also in February 2010, Clarke appeared with her daughter Rowan in an episode of the BBC's Celebrity Cash in the Attic.

Clarke appeared in Scousers in St Helens on 26 October 2010 alongside Tina Malone, Billy Butler and several others. In late 2010, she recorded numerous music tracks such as Like a Memory and Holographic Disco which are now available on iTunes and in November 2010 she released her autobiography Margi Clarke - Now You See Me. She has also appeared in an episode of the BBC series Waterloo Road in May 2011[6] and participated in Celebrity MasterChef in 2011. Clarke also appeared in the UK Christmas edition of Come Dine With Me in December 2012.


  1. ^ a b Sturges, Fiona (1 June 1997). "How We Met: Jon Savage and Margi Clarke". The Independent on Sunday. London. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Brooke, Michael. "Clarke, Margi (1954-)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 11 June 2020. sharp-tongued Scouse wit
  3. ^ "The Brookside Guide". 31 October 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  4. ^ "60 Second Interview - Margi Clarke". Metro. 10 November 2003. Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  5. ^ "Jackie Dobbs, John Stape return to Corrie". Digital Spy. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  6. ^ TV's Margi Clarke Bounces Back After Booze Battle. "TV's Margi Clarke Bounces Back After Booze Battle - Coventry Telegraph - Pass the Remote". Retrieved 5 January 2014.

External linksEdit