In a previous incarnation the priest of St Mary the Virgin and genial co-host of Radio 4’s Saturday Live scored chart success with Don’t Leave Me This Way. After dinner he admits lurid excess as a Communard, reveals how he got through the interview to train as a vicar, and how they avoid poisoning on Bake Off.
The Reverend Richard Coles is a broadcaster, writer and Church of England priest - but he’s best known for having been one half of the 1980s band, The Communards. They enjoyed three UK Top 10 hits, including the biggest-selling single of 1986: Don't Leave Me This Way.
The multi-talented Richard turned his hand to acting, penned music for film and TV, served up advice as ‘agony uncle’ on BBC London and won a Sony Gold as presenter of The Mix on Radio 5 Live.
With a successful media career already established, Richard trained for a priesthood in the Church of England - becoming what could only be described as a ‘very modern’ vicar. He was Curate at St Boltoph’s in Lincolnshire before moving to St Paul's Knightsbridge and becoming Chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music. His career in the church inspired the hit BBC2 comedy Rev. (he also advised the makers of the series.)
Richard continues to work in broadcasting, as an opera reviewer and frequent contributor to Newsnight Review/The Review Show. He has featured as a panellist on Have I Got News For You a number of times, co-presents Radio 4’s Saturday Live, and has competed in Masterchef. He also makes time for the odd Songs of Praise special, appearances on QI, This Week and Chris Evans’ Radio 2 show, and he’s won Celebrity Mastermind.
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Richard's speech is one of the warmest I’ve heard in 10 years at JLA. After a glance back to his days as a pop star, he describes the shock of wearing cassocks and sharing a dormitory at the age of 40. If you’re a fan of Rev. (for which he is the inspiration), Richard will leave you in fits of giggles. JLA Agent Jeremy Frewer