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Brandreth, Gyles 1948–

Brandreth, Gyles 1948–

(Gyles Daubeney Brandreth)

PERSONAL: Born March 8, 1948, in England; son of Charles Daubeney (a lawyer) and Alice (a teacher; maiden name, Addison) Brandreth; married Michele Brown (a writer), June 8, 1973; children: Benet, Sa-ethryd, Aphra. Education: New College, Oxford, B.A., 1970. Hobbies and other interests: Long-time holder of world record for longest after-dinner speech (12 1/2 hours); former European Monopoly champion.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Ed Victor, Ltd., 6 Bayley St., Bedford Sq., London WC1B 3HE England.

CAREER: Writer, broadcaster, producer, and publisher. Member of Parliament representing Chester, England, 1992–97, offices held include Financial Secretary to the Treasury, 1993–94, Secretary of State for National Heritage, 1994–95, Secretary of State for Health, 1995, government whip, 1995–96, Lord Commissioner of H.M. Treasury, 1996–97; Andre Deutsch, London, England, children's book publisher; Whitaker's Almanack, editorial consultant; National Teddy Bear Museum, Stratford-on-Avon, England, cofounder; National Scrabble Championships, founder; Sunday Telegraph Review, editor-at-large; Spears (game manufacturer), former member of board. Has presented television and radio programs in England, Australia, and the United States, including Sunday with Gyles Brandreth, LBC FM radio, London, England; work in theatrical productions include Son et Lumiere at Royal Greenwich, and The Little Hut, The Dame of Sark, and Dear Daddy in London's West End; Oxford Theatre Festival, artistic director, 1974–; Speak-a-Poem, sponsor, 1984–.

MEMBER: British Pantomime Association (founder; director, 1971–), National Playing Fields Association (appeals chair, 1984–88; chair, 1989–93; vice president, 1993–).

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION; EXCEPT AS NOTED

Brandreth's Party Games, Eyre Methuen (London, England), 1972.

Created in Captivity, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1972.

Brandreth's Bedroom Book, Eyre Methuen (London, England), 1973.

Discovering Pantomime, Shire (Aylesbury, England), 1973.

Complete Book of Home Entertainment, Shire (Ayles-bury, England), 1974.

I Scream for Ice Cream, Eyre Methuen (London, England), 1974.

Brandreth's Book of Waiting Games, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1975.

Brandreth's Christmas Book, Van Nostrand (New York, NY), 1975.

Knight Book of Home Entertainment, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1976.

The Generation Quiz Book, Fontana (London, England), 1976.

Pears Family Quiz Book, Pelham (London, England), 1976.

Scrambled Exits: The Greatest Maze Book Ever, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY), 1976.

Yarooh!: A Feast of Frank Richards, Eyre Methuen (London, England), 1976.

A Royal Scrapbook: My Twenty-five Years on the Throne, M. Joseph (London, England), 1976.

The Biggest Tongue Twister Book in the World, Sterling (New York, NY), 1978.

The World's Best Indoor Games, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1981.

Eight-hundred and Seventy-one Famous Last Words, and Put-Downs, Insults, Squelches, Compliments, Rejoinders, Epigrams, and Epitaphs of Famous People, Bell (New York, NY), 1982.

Great Theatrical Disasters, illustrated by Timothy Jaques, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1982.

Wordplay, Severn House (London, England), 1982.

The Book of Solo Games, P. Bedrick Books (New York, NY), 1984.

Bedroom Bloopers, Prince Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1985.

One Thousand Firsts and Lasts, Transworld (London, England), 1985.

Cockburn's A-Z of After-Dinner Entertainment, Pelham Books (London, England), 1985.

Everyman's Classic Puzzles, Dent (London, England), 1986.

Everyman's Word Games, Dent (London, England), 1986, published as Word Games, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1987.

More Joy of Lex: An Amazing and Amusing Z to A and A to Z of Words, illustrated by George Moran, Morrow (New York, NY), 1987, published as The Joy of Lex: An Amazing and Amusing Z to A and A to Z of Words, Robson/Parkwest Publications (New York, NY), 2002.

The Word Book, foreword by Robert Burchfield, Rob-son (London, England), 1988.

Everyman's Modern Phrase and Fable, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1990.

Under the Jumper (autobiography), Robson (London, England), 1993.

The Politician's Quotation Book, Hale (London, England), 1993.

John Gielgud: A Celebration, Pavilion Books (London, England), 1994.

Who Is Nick Saint? (novel), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.

Venice Midnight (novel), F.A. Thorpe (Leicester, England), 1998.

Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries, May, 1990–May, 1997, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1999.

John Gielgud: An Actor's Life, Sutton (New York, NY), 2001.

Brief Encounters: Meetings with Remarkable People, Politico (London, England), 2001.

The Word Book; or, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the English Language but Had Neither the Verbal Dexterity nor the Linguistic Flexiloquence to Ask!, Robson/Parkwest Publications (New York, NY), 2002.

Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2005.

Charles and Camilla: Portrait of an Affair, Random House (London, England), 2005.

FOR CHILDREN

(Editor and adaptor) H.J. Byron, Cinderella, Davis-Poynter (London, England), 1973.

(Editor and adaptor) H.J. Byron, Aladdin, Davis-Poynter (London, England), 1973.

Knight Book of Christmas Fun, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1974.

(Adaptor and author of introduction) J. Hickory Wood, Mother Goose, Macmillan (London, England), 1974.

Knight Book of Party Games, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1974.

Knight Book of Scrabble, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1974.

Games for Trains, Planes, and Wet Days, William Luscombe (London, England), 1974.

Domino Games and Puzzles, Carousel (London, England), 1975.

Knight Book of Mazes, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1975.

Knight Book of Hospital Fun and Games, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1975.

Knight Book of Holiday Fun and Games, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1975.

Knight Book of Easter Fun, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1975.

Pencil and Paper Games and Puzzles, Carousel (London, England), 1976.

Games and Puzzles with Coins and Matches, Carousel (London, England), 1976.

Knight Book of Fun and Games for Journeys, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1976.

Knight Book of Fun and Games for a Rainy Day, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1976.

The How and Why Bumper Wonder Book, Transworld (London, England), 1976.

The Royal Quiz Book, Carousel (London, England), 1976.

Hotchpotch, Carousel (London, England), 1976.

Fun for Every Day of the Year, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1976.

What Nonsense, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1978.

The Daft Dictionary, Corgi (London, England), 1978.

The Great Big Funny Book, Corgi (London, England), 1979.

The Funniest Man on Earth: The Story of Dan Leno, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1979.

A Joke-a-Day Book, Derrydale (New York, NY), 1979.

Brain-Teasers and Mind-Benders, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.

Brain Power, Hodder (London, England), 1980.

A Game-a-Day Book, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1980.

Cinderella's Indoor Activity Book, Corgi (London, England), 1980.

Amazing Facts about Animals: Wonders of the Animal World, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1980.

Amazing Facts about Our Earth, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1980.

Amazing Facts about Prehistoric Animals, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1980.

This Is Your Body, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1980.

Sinbad's Round the World Activity Book, Corgi (London, England), 1980.

Robinson Crusoe's Activity Book, Corgi (London, England), 1980.

Robin Hood's Outdoor Activity Book, Corgi (London, England), 1980.

The Last Word, Oak Tree Press (London, England), 1980.

Amazing Facts about the Body, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1981.

The Puzzle Mountain, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1981.

Big Book of Magic, Corgi (London, England), 1981.

How to Be Funny: An A to Z of Amazing and Astonishing Ways to Make People Laugh, illustrated by Colin Hawkins, Hippo (London, England), 1981.

Total Nonsense Z to A, illustrations by Lucy Robinson, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1981.

The Crazy Word Book, illustrated by Jacqui Sinclair, Transworld (London, England), 1981.

Big Book of Jokes, Macdonald (London, England), 1982.

What Do You Know?, illustrated by Terry Burton, Carousel (London, England), 1982.

The Super Joke Book, illustrated by Nick Berringer, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.

The Christmas Book, illustrated by Sue Scullard, R. Hale (London, England), 1984.

The Ghost at Number Thirteen, Puffin Books (London, England), 1985.

The Big Book of Amazing Names, Corgi (London, England), 1985.

Everyman's Book of Children's Games, Dent (London, England), 1985.

The Biggest Tongue Twister Book in the World, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1985.

Bet You Can, Bet You Can't, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1985.

The Big Book of Silly Riddles, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1985.

Pranks, Tricks, and Practical Jokes, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1986.

Your Vital Statistics, Lyle Stuart (New York, NY), 1986.

Writing Secret Codes and Sending Hidden Messages, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1986.

The Great Book of Optical Illusions, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1986.

Facts Factory, Knight Books (Leicester, England), 1986.

My Diary, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1986.

Word Games, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1987.

The Hiccups at Number Thirteen, Puffin Books (London, England), 1987.

The Big Book of Silly Riddles, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1987.

Fascinating Body Facts, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1988.

The Slippers that Talked, Puffin Books (London, England), 1992.

(Editor) The Book of Snubs, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Crazy Encyclopedia, Reed (London, England), 1995.

The Witch at Number Thirteen, Puffin Books (London, England), 1995.

Max, the Boy Who Made a Million, Collins (London, England), 1996.

The Mermaid at Number Thirteen, Puffin Books (London, England), 1996.

The Adventures of Bruno Bruin, illustrated by Peter Dennis, Andre Deutsch (London, England), 1998.

Bruno Bruin Discovers America, illustrated by Peter Dennis, Andre Deutsch (London, England), 1999.

Maisie, the Girl Who Lost Her Head, illustrated by John Lupton, Collins (London, England), 1999.

(With Katherine Joyce) Optical Illusion Flip Book: Astounding Optical Illusions Amazing Optical Tricks, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 2001.

The Little Giant Book of Cool Optical Illusions, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 2002.

Classic Optical Illusions, Main Street/Sterling (New York, NY), 2003.

Also author of Jokes Jokes Jokes, 1978, and Pears Book of Words, 1980.

OTHER

Author of musical review, Zipp!, 2003. Author of columns in Honey, 1969–70, Manchester Evening News, 1970–72, and Woman, 1972–73. Contributor to magazines, including Spectator, Punch, Home and Garden, Nova, She, and Woman's Own, and to newspapers. Editor of Isis, beginning 1970.

ADAPTATIONS: Film rights have been sold for Max: The Boy Who Made a Million and Maisie: The Girl Who Lost Her Head.

SIDELIGHTS: Gyles Brandreth has had a remarkably varied career. He has served in the British Parliament, edited and written for various newspapers and magazines, appeared on and hosted numerous radio and television programs, and published some 250 books for adults and children. He created the National Scrabble Championships, was European Monopoly champion in 1974, was represented in the Guinness Book of World Records for making the longest after-dinner speech in the world, founded the National Teddy Bear Museum, and has created greeting cards, wrapping paper, stationery, records, and children's board games, including "Gyles Brandreth's Fun and Games Diary," "The Treasure Island Game," "The Alice in Wonderland Game," and "Eight Pantomime Cards."

Speaking to Deborah Ross in the London Independent, Brandreth explained why he originally tried to set the world's record for longest after-dinner speech: "I did it for charity, initially. The record was three hours, and I did seven. But Nicholas Parsons was in the audience. Nicholas is very competitive. Nicholas then went out and broke my record. So I then had to break his."

After appearing on and hosting various television and radio programs during the 1970s and 1980s, Brandreth found himself in politics in 1992 when he became a Conservative Member of Parliament for Chester, England. During his five years in the John Major government, Brandreth held several positions, including Financial Secretary to the Treasury and government whip. He explained to Ross that upon being elected, he "bought ten suits in grey, charcoal grey, light charcoal grey, dark charcoal grey." Ross asked Bran-dreth if he regretted not having focused on a political career. "If I'd done that," Brandreth noted, "I wouldn't have done the things I wanted to do. I wanted to write novels, and did. I wanted to do fun things on telly, and did."

While Brandreth has written many books over the years, his biography John Gielgud: An Actor's Life received particular attention. Financial Times contributor Alastair Macaulay found that Brandreth's account of Gielgud's distinguished career as an actor and director for both films and stage plays is "as fresh as it is short." Furthermore, Brandreth's "critical opinions are shrewd, pithy and finely judged," noted Macaulay. London Review of Books critic Frank Kermode called John Gielgud a "lively tribute" to the British actor.

Brandreth also gained attention for a pair of books dealing with the British royal family. In Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage the author (and acquaintance of the couple) traces the long history of that marriage. The two met in 1939, when Philip was eighteen and the future queen only thirteen. Philip had to battle court intrigue, for though he was a descendent of Queen Victoria many thought him unsuitable for the role as consort to a queen. According to Brandreth, the marriage has proven a success not only because of mutual devotion, but also because of an understanding on Philip's part of what is required of him as the husband of the queen of England. Brandreth also goes to great lengths to dispel any rumors of infidelity on the part of Philip, an attempt that is "as unconvincing as it is irritating," according to Elizabeth Mellett in a Library Journal review. As a critic for Publishers Weekly noted: "The biggest surprise here is the portrayal of the royal couple as typical married folks."

Brandreth created a kind of sequel to the story of the royal couple in his 2005 title, Charles and Camilla: Portrait of an Affair. The book is an attempt to portray the relationship between Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles, a scandal that rocked the nation and which still garners media attention, even after the marriage of the pair in 2005. Byron Rogers, reviewing Charles and Camilla in the Spectator, called the book "a magical mystery tour of royal shenanigans."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Brandreth, Gyles, Under the Jumper, Robson (London, England), 1993.

PERIODICALS

Best Sellers, December, 1982, review of More Joy of Lex: An Amazing and Amusing Z to A and A to Z of Words, p. 357.

Booklist, December 1, 1978, review of The Biggest Tongue Twister Book in the World, p. 613; February 1, 1980, review of The Last Word, p. 750; January 1, 1981, review of The Joy of Lex: An Amazing and Amusing Z to A and A to Z of Words, p. 604; April 15, 1982, review of The World's Best Indoor Games, p. 1058; October 15, 1982, review of More Joy of Lex, p. 287; September 1, 1983, review of Great Theatrical Disasters, p. 16; May 1, 1984, review of John Gielgud: A Celebration, p. 1218; December 1, 1984, review of The Book of Solo Games, p. 475; January 1, 1985, review of Writing Secret Codes and Sending Hidden Messages, p. 637; June 15, 1987, review of The Big Book of Silly Riddles, p. 1597.

Book Report, September, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 30; May, 1986, review of Writing Secret Codes and Sending Hidden Messages, p. 35; January, 1987, review of Pranks, Tricks, and Practical Jokes, p. 39.

Books & Bookmen, December, 1984, review of The Christmas Book, p. 13.

Books for Your Children, autumn, 1986, review of Facts Factory, p. 7.

Books Magazine, September, 1996, review of Who Is Nick Saint?, p. 12.

Book World, February 8, 1981, review of The Joy of Lex, p. 4; July 8, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 5.

British Book News, July, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 423; June, 1987, review of The Hiccups at Number Thirteen, p. 58.

Catholic Library World, May, 1986, review of A Game-a-Day Book, p. 280.

Childhood Education, May, 1985, review of The Biggest Tongue Twister Book in the World, p. 364.

Children's Book Review Service, winter, 1981, review of A Game-a-Day Book, p. 42.

Choice, May, 1979, review of The Funniest Man on Earth, p. 398; September, 1984, review of John Gielgud: A Celebration, p. 112.

Contemporary Review, January, 1994, review of The Politician's Quotation Book, p. 56.

Curriculum Review, April, 1980, review of This Is Your Body, p. 124.

Drama, summer, 1983, review of Great Theatrical Disasters, p. 28.

Economist, December 11, 1982, review of Great Theatrical Disasters, p. 109.

Encounter, January, 1989, review of The Word Book, p. 53.

Film Quarterly, summer, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 31.

Films in Review, April, 1985, review of John Gielgud, p. 244.

Financial Times, May 26, 2001, Alastair Macaulay, "Drama of an Elegant Life," p. 4.

Growing Point, July, 1978, review of The Daft Dictionary, p. 3347; May, 1981, review of A Game-a-Day Book, p. 3895; November, 1985, review of The Ghost at Number Thirteen, p. 4536.

Independent (London, England), July 23, 2001, Deborah Ross, "Gyles Brandreth—Top of the Popinjays," pp. S1-S2.

Junior Bookshelf, February, 1983, review of Big Book of Jokes, p. 19.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 283.

Kliatt, spring, 1982, review of The World's Best Indoor Games, p. 66; spring, 1986, review of Your Vital Statistics, p. 56; winter, 1986, review of The Book of Solo Games, p. 69; September, 1987, review of Word Games, p. 68.

Learning, April, 1986, review of The Great Book of Optical Illusions, p. 105.

Library Journal, April 1, 1982, review of The World's Best Indoor Games, p. 742; November 1, 1982, review of More Joy of Lex, p. 2097; May 15, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 993; September 15, 2005, Elizabeth Mellett, review of Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage, p. 72.

London Review of Books, June 21, 2001, Frank Kermode, "Meaningless Legs," p. 25.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 23, 1982, review of The World's Best Indoor Games, p. 6; October 28, 1984, review of The Book of Solo Games, p. 13.

Magpies, July, 1992, review of The Slippers that Talked, p. 37; September, 1995, review of The Witch at Number Thirteen, p. 28.

New Statesman, December 4, 1981, review of How to Be Funny: An A to Z of Amazing and Astonishing Ways to Make People Laugh, p. 18; November 8, 1985, review of The Ghost at Number Thirteen, p. 26.

New York Times Book Review, June 19, 1977, review of Scrambled Exits: The Greatest Maze Book Ever, p. 47.

Observer (London, England), November 28, 1993, review of The Politician's Quotation Book, p. 19.

Publishers Weekly, July 9, 1979, review of Brain-Teasers and Mind-Benders, p. 106; June 19, 1981, review of Total Nonsense Z To A, p. 100; September 10, 1982, review of More Joy of Lex, p. 68; February 28, 1986, review of Your Vital Statistics, p. 120; July 18, 1994, review of John Gielgud, p. 242; August 22, 2005, review of Philip and Elizabeth, p. 50.

Punch, June 27, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 62.

School Librarian, March, 1980, review of Pears Book of Words, p. 89; June, 1981, review of The Crazy Encyclopedia, p. 142; June, 1984, review of Everyman's Book of Solo Games, p. 185; March, 1985, review of Everyman's Book of Children's Games, p. 46; March, 1986, review of Everyman's Classic Puzzles, p. 104; August, 1990, review of Everyman's Modern Phrase and Fable, p. 126; May, 1996, reviews of The Mermaid at Number Thirteen and The Ghost at Number Thirteen, p. 60; summer, 1999, review of The Amazing Adventure of Bruno Bruin, p. 79.

School Library Journal, February, 1979, review of The Great Big Funny Book, p. 38; December, 1979, review of Brain-Teasers and Mind-Benders, p. 80, review of A Joke-a-Day Book, p. 81; April, 1980, review of Pranks, Tricks, and Practical Jokes, p. 104; September, 1980, review of Seeing Is Not Believing, p. 67; October, 1980, reviews of This Is Your Body, Sinbad's Round the World Activity Book, Robin Hood's Outdoor Activity Book, Cinderella's Indoor Activity Book, and Robinson Crusoe's Activity Book, p. 142; November, 1980, review of A Game-a-Day Book, p. 70; November, 1981, review of Total Nonsense Z to A, p. 88; December, 1983, review of The Super Joke Book, p. 63; October, 1984, review of Writing Secret Codes and Sending Hidden Messages, p. 154.

Science Books & Films, November, 1988, review of Fascinating Body Facts, p. 103.

Spectator, January 1, 1977, review of Pears Family Quiz Book, p. 7; June 5, 1999, Michael Sim-monds, review of Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries, May, 1990–May, 1997, p. 36; November 5, 2005, Byron Rogers, "Not Bloody Likely," review of Charles and Camilla: Portrait of an Affair, p. 70.

Teaching Children Mathematics, April, 2002, review of Optical Illusion Flip Book: Astounding Optical Illusions Amazing Optical Tricks, p. 496.

Theatre Journal, December, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 559.

Time International, February 10, 2003, Chris Redman, "And Now for His Next Act," p. 77.

Times Educational Supplement, September 22, 1978, reviews of Jokes Jokes Jokes and What Nonsense, p. 23; September, 19, 1980, review of Brain Power, p. 30; February 27, 1981, review of The Crazy Encyclopedia, p. 39; May 15, 1981, review of Big Book of Magic, p. 29; October 9, 1981, review of The Crazy Word Book, p. 29; December 10, 1982, review of What Do You Know?, p. 34; August 10, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 18; March 1, 1985, review of Bet You Can, Bet You Can't, p. 29; November 1, 1985, review of The Big Book of Amazing Names, p. 26, review of The Ghost at Number Thirteen, p. 38; August 15, 1986, review of Everyman's Classic Puzzles, p. 19; December 12, 1986, review of My Diary, p. 35; June 5, 1987, review of The Hiccups at Number Thirteen, p. 58; March 2, 1990, review of Everyman's Modern Phrase and Fable, p. 38.

Times Literary Supplement, September 3, 1982, review of Wordplay, p. 952; December 7, 1984, review of John Gielgud, p. 1418; December 20, 1985, review of Cockburn's A-Z of After-Dinner Entertainment, p. 1453; November 26, 1993, review of The Politician's Quotation Book, p. 32; July 23, 1999, Michael Harrington, review of Breaking the Code, p. 25; September 14, 2001, John Ure, review of Brief Encounters: Meetings with Remarkable People, p. 30.

West Coast Review of Books, September, 1984, review of More Joy of Lex, p. 59.

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