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Jackie Clune : biography

13 December 1965 -

Jackie Clune (born 13 December 1965) is a British entertainer and writer. She became established through her Edinburgh Fringe cabaret shows and 1995 Karen Carpenter tribute act before graduating to mainstream acting. She can have a dry anecdotal approach to comedy material.


On graduation from university, she became a full-time drama lecturer at the Royal Holloway College for at least six years and a BBC London radio journalist. She started singing in bands part-time, but at stages between sets as a DJ she developed a line of patter. This led a friend to suggest that she could create a performance based around a tribute act which promoted the liquid elegance of the late Karen Carpenter's vocals;this she worked on and took to the Edinburgh Festival in 1995, where she was spotted by a West End producer.

Giving up her lecturing career, she co-founded the Red Rag Women’s Theatre Company, and fell into stand-up comedy while working at the Hackney Empire. Her many credits include the BBC soap drama EastEnders and also ITV's The Bill. Since hosting the Stonewall Society equality shows at the Royal Albert Hall, she has developed a multi-media career. She has been a TV/radio panellist on many shows, not least QI, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, What the Dickens? and The Staying-in Show and has been invited onto shows like Loose Women.

She had a part in Showstopper(1997), Bryony Lavery's play A Wedding Story (1999)and portrayed Julie Burchill, at the time a columnist for The Guardian, in the one-woman play Julie Burchill Is Away by Tim Fountain at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and in the West End (2003). In 2006-7, she played the lead female role of 'Donna' in the Abba songs-based musical Mamma Mia! international tour until 17 March 2007., Edinburgh Evening News, 30 January 2006. On 4 June 2007, she went into musicals and took over the role of the dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot the Musical in London. She gave her final performance on 22 November 2008 prior to rejoining the Mamma Mia! International Tour (2009–2011) again as leading role Donna (portrayed by Meryl Streep in the film), and the show will be doing a summer season (2014) in the NW seaside resort of Blackpool. She has online credits including images courtesy of the Daily Mail, Word Press and Twitter, Facebook etc She has also done the Race For Life.

She sang the Dusty Springfield theme tune, and contributed script to the popular alternative TV show Smack the Pony. After becoming involved in the revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber & Don Black musical Tell Me On A Sunday, she met Denise van Outen with whom she co-wrote the show Blondes in which van Outen performed for the Festival Fringe Edinburgh in August 2009 and in the six preview performances at the New End Theatre in Hampstead.

She promoted an album Love Songs (Dress Circle) courtesy of a show at Soho Theatre in London's West End from 15–17 July 2010, and has also been involved in several musical projects including the 2010 memorial concert for the late Kirsty MacColl who worked with The Pogues and is remembered through Music for Cuba Fund. She sang with Billy Bragg on that occasion but has also worked with many celebrities including in the cast of The Vagina Monologues.

She has also published two books, Man of the Month Club and Extreme Motherhood, diaries relating how her lifestyle changed when she found herself pregnant with triplets little more than a year after having her first child., Gulf Daily News, 8 April 2007 She is also a freelance journalist and a columnist.

In 2011 she performed as the rambunctious Miss Ogle in the play The Belle's Stratagem, a revival of a script by Hannah Cowley from the Georgian period at the Southwark Playhouse.

She has been a regular warm-up act for the Singalonga Sound of Music and the Puppetry of the Penis shows.

In 2012, she toured nationally in the leading role of Amanda, the troubled teacher, in the cast of a controversial and groundbreaking play about bullying and racism issues for teachers, 'Mogadishu' (14+) which received a nomination for the Olivier Awards 2012.

From October 2012 Clune played the part of Violet in the national tour of 9 to 5: The Musical, launched at Manchester Opera House, in a cast which also included Bonnie Langford, Amy Lennox, Natalie Casey and Ben Richards. Bonnie Langford is also working in Spamalot.

Early life

Jackie Clune was the third of four children born in Harlow, Essex, to Irish Roman Catholic parents: her late father Don Clune (died August 2010) was a buyer for a computer firm, her mother a nurse. The writer Maggie Clune is her sister. Jackie graduated with a degree in drama from the University of Kent.

Personal life

During her 20s and 30s, Clune identified as a lesbian. In 2001 she met actor and stunt performer Richard Hannant, who was the fire officer at the Arts Theatre where she was performing, and started a relationship with him. 11 months later, she became pregnant with their first child, a daughter. The couple went on to have naturally conceived triplets, and married in 2008. The oldest child is now 10.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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