Gyles Brandreth, 74, is an author, broadcaster and former politician. A renowned storyteller, he tours the UK with his one-man show. When he’s not travelling, he lives in south-west London with his wife Michèle Brown and writes books including his autobiography Odd Boy Out. He is also a mainstay on television programs such as The One Show and This Morning.
What was your first job and how much did you get paid?
My first job was as a choirboy when I was very young. I have worked in three different churches but the best was Holy Trinity Brompton. I loved this job because I got half a crown for weddings and five shillings for funerals, so I remember really wishing there were more funerals.
We choirboys knelt and surveyed the congregation through our fingers and agreed on who was the oldest member. And we prayed to God to kill them and God answered our prayers. I loved the fact that God was on the entrepreneur’s side.
When did you decide on your career choice and did everything develop as expected?
I’m still waiting for my basic career choice. My wife tells me that there hasn’t been any development in my life. She tells me that now I’m doing what I used to do as a kid, and she’s right.
As a boy I edited the school newspaper, performed in school plays and was in the debating club. And what am I supposed to do now? I write articles for newspapers and am touring in a stage show called Break a Leg! and I went from debating society to MP. I think the truth is that I never had a specific goal.
When I was a little kid, my mother wanted me to go on stage, I wanted to be prime minister, and maybe some people reading this wish I was prime minister more. I got involved in politics in the 1990s. The thing was, I wanted to do everything.
When I was at my first boarding school, a private school in Kent, the headmaster, Mr Stocks, said to me ‘Brandreth, busy people are happy people’ and I have kept that motto all my life.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/fame-fortune/gyles-brandreth-neighbours-noisy-bought-house-mistake/ ‘My neighbours were so noisy I bought their house – but it was a mistake’