Gyles Brandreth Biography

(English Writer, Broadcaster, and Former Politician)

Birthday: March 8, 1948 (Pisces)

Born In: Wuppertal, Germany

English TV and radio broadcaster, author, and former politician Gyles Brandreth gained fame for presenting reality, game, or factual shows such as Good Morning Britain, The One Show, and Countdown. He also had a successful stint on LBC and BBC Radio, with shows such as Just a Minute. A renowned author too, he has penned books on English grammar and poetry, children’s books, detective tales, and several royal biographies, apart from his own memoir. A former Conservative Party member, he has also been a Member of Parliament for the City of Chester and the Lord Commissioner of the Treasury. The former Oxford scholar is the current Chancellor of the University of Chester. He once created a record for the longest after-dinner speech. He has also collaborated with his wife and his children on a number of writing and charitable projects and a podcast, too.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In March

Also Known As: Gyles Daubeney Brandreth

Age: 75 Years, 75 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Michèle Brown (m. 1973)

father: Charles Brandreth

siblings: Benjamin Lance Brandreth, Hester Brandreth, Jennifer Woolfenden, Virginia Allkins

children: Aphra Brandreth, Benet Brandreth, Saethryd Brandreth

Born Country: Germany

Political Leaders British Men

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males

political ideology: Conservative

Notable Alumni: New College, Oxford

More Facts

education: New College, Oxford

Early Life & Education

Gyles Brandreth was born on March 8, 1948, in Wuppertal, Allied-occupied Germany. His father, Charles Brandreth, was a lawyer, while his mother, Alice, was a teacher.

When Brandreth was born, his father was working as a legal officer with the Allied Control Commission in West Germany. He was 3 when he moved to London with his family.

He initially studied at the Lycée Français in South Kensington and then at the Bedales School in Petersfield, Hampshire. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in Modern History and Modern Languages from New College, Oxford, in 1970. At Oxford, he was the director of the Oxford University Dramatic Society and also served as the president of the Oxford Union.

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Broadcast Career: TV, Radio, & Podcasts

A veteran broadcaster, Gyles Brandreth is known for a series of reality and factual shows and even proved to be a skilled interviewer (primarily for The Sunday Telegraph). He gained fame as the host of Good Morning Britain in the 1980s and then of BBC’s The One Show.

He appeared in the word and number game show Countdown over 300 times, making a record in terms of appearances as a guest. In 2004, he hosted the game show Public Opinion, while in 2009, he hosted Knowitalls on BBC Two. In 2005, he appeared in the comedy series Room 101.

He became more popular with the British reality show Celebrity Gogglebox in 2019 and returned to the show in its subsequent seasons in 2020 and 2022. In 2020, he appeared in the travel and adventure series Great Canal Journeys and made an appearance in the next season in 2021. He is also known for his appearances on TV panel shows such as QI and Have I Got News for You, and the consumer technology series The Gadget Show.

Before he became a TV star, Brandreth started his career with LBC radio in the 1970s. In the 1980s, he became a star of the comedy panel show Just a Minute on BBC Radio.

He later appeared in the BBC Radio programs The Westminster Hour and Living with the Enemy, the latter being co-written by him. He also hosted the radio show Wordaholics (since 2012) and appeared on The Museum of Curiosity (2017). He has also been part of the award-winning weekly podcast Something Rhymes with Purple with Susie Dent, and another with his daughter Aphra, known as the Commonwealth Poetry Podcast.

Stage Career

In 2022-23, Gyles Brandreth appeared on stage at London’s Gielgud Theatre with Dame Judi Dench. He has also toured England with his one-man stage show Break a Leg! since 2019. His West End musical revue, Zipp! One Hundred Musicals for Less than the Price of One, opened at the Duchess Theatre and was on tour throughout country.

He was seen as Malvolio and the Sea Captain in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s production of Twelfth Night: The Musical. In 2011-12, he appeared as Lady Bracknell in a musical version of The Importance of Being Earnest. In 2017, he was seen as Hamlet at London’s the Park Theatre.

Writing Career

Brandreth is also a celebrated author. His books include the best-seller Have You Eaten Grandma? (2018) and the best-selling anthology of poems, Dancing by the Light of the Moon (2019).

He has also penned the royal biographies Philip & Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage (2004), Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair (2005), and The Queen: Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait (2022).

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The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, his series of Victorian detective tales, was published in 22 countries. He has also written The Sunday Times bestsellers Word Play (2015) and The 7 Secrets of Happiness (2013).

He has authored an online course on Happiness and co-authored a course on mastering public speaking with his rhetoric coach and barrister son, Benet Brandreth. He has penned the New York Times bestseller The Joy of Lex (2002) and a childhood autobiography and a Sunday Times best-seller Odd Boy Out (2021).

Political Career

From April 1992 to April 1997, Gyles Brandreth served as a Conservative MP from the City of Chester. One of his bills was later made into a law as the Marriage Act 1994.

On December 11, 1996, he joined the Lord of the Treasury as a whip, under John Major’s administration. He continued in the post till May 2, 1997. In August 2014, Brandreth became one of 200 public figures to sign a letter to The Guardian, opposing Scottish independence.

In May 2016, Brandreth expressed his desire to vote for the UK to remain in the European Union in the upcoming referendum on the issue. In 2019, Brandreth stated he had voted to remain in the EU but believed Brexit had to be done if the government wanted it that way.

Other Initiatives

In 2014, Gyles Brandreth received an honorary degree (DLitt) from the University of Chester. On March 17, 2017, he took over as the Chancellor of the University of Chester, succeeding the late Duke of Westminster.

He founded the Poetry Together project to make schoolchildren and older people read poetry together. He has also been the London correspondent for the CBS program Up to the Minute.

A talented after-dinner speaker, he once held the world record for the longest continuous after-dinner speech, which ran up to 12 and a half hours. He has also served as the chairman and then vice-president of the National Playing Fields Association.

Personal Life

Gyles Brandreth married renowned writer and publisher Michèle Brown five years after he met her at Oxford. However, they had a no-frills wedding at the Marylebone Registry Office on June 8, 1973.

The couple has three children: their son, Benet, who is a barrister, an author, and an award-winning speaker; their daughter, Aphra, who is an environmental economist, a politician, a former Conservative councillor, and a podcaster; and their other daughter, Saethryd, who is an author.

Brandreth also has seven grandchildren. He has teamed up with Saethryd and his grandson, Rory, to write The Lost Art of Having Fun, a collection of family games, whereas he has also authored a book named Novelty Knits, based on the colorful jumpers he has worn on TV, with Saethryd.

He and his wife now live in Barnes, southwest London. With his wife, Michèle, he has co-curated an exhibition of children’s authors at the National Portrait Gallery and established the Teddy Bear Museum, located at Newby Hall in North Yorkshire.

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