Clive Anderson

Clive Anderson
Clive Anderson

Anderson at Selwyn May Ball (2008)
Born 10 December 1952 (1952-12-10) (age 58)
Middlesex, England, UK
Nationality English
Citizenship British
Education Law
Alma mater Selwyn College, Cambridge
Occupation Comedy writer, game show host, lawyer, radio presenter, television presenter
Years active 1979–present
Known for Hosting Whose Line Is It Anyway?, appearing on and writing for various TV and radio programs
Spouse Jane (a doctor)
Children 3

Clive Anderson (born 10 December 1952) is a British former barrister, best known for being a comedy writer as well as a radio and television presenter in the United Kingdom. Winner of a British Comedy Award in 1991,[1] Anderson began his success during his 15-year law career with stand-up comedy and comedic script writing, before starring in Whose Line Is It Anyway? on BBC Radio 4, then later, Channel 4. He was also successful with a number of radio programmes, television interviews and guest appearances on Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, QI and The Bubble.[2]


Early life

Anderson was educated at Stanburn Primary School and Harrow County School for Boys in London,[3] where his group of friends included Geoffrey Perkins and Michael Portillo. His Scottish father was manager of the Midland Bank's Wembley branch.[4] Anderson attended Selwyn College, Cambridge where, from 1974 to 1975, he was President of Footlights.[5] He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1976 and became a practising barrister, specialising in criminal law.



Anderson was involved in the fledgling alternative comedy scene in the early 1980s and was the first act to come on stage at The Comedy Store when it opened in 1979.[6] He made his name as host of the improvised television comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which ran for 10 series.[7]

Anderson hosted his own chat-show, Clive Anderson Talks Back, on Channel 4, which ran for 10 series. Anderson moved to the BBC in 1996 and the show's name changed to Clive Anderson All Talk and was aired on BBC One. In one famous incident in 1997, Anderson interviewed the Bee Gees, and throughout the interview he repeatedly joked about their life and career, ultimately prompting them to walk out.[7] Anderson once had a glass of water poured over his head by a perturbed Richard Branson. He also famously asked Jeffrey Archer, "Is there no beginning to your talents?" Archer retorted that "The old jokes are always the best," for Anderson to reply "Yes, I've read your books!" The last series of Clive Anderson All Talk aired in 2001.

He has been a frequent participant on Have I Got News for You, notching up ten appearances in total. He has also frequently appeared on QI. In 2007, he featured as a regular panelist on the ITV comedy show News Knight. One of his most memorable exchanges on HIGNFY occurred when he scathingly joked to fellow guest Piers Morgan that the Daily Mirror was now, thanks to Morgan (then its editor), almost as good as The Sun. When asked by Morgan, "What do you know about editing newspapers?", he swiftly replied, "About as much as you do."

As a journalist for the BBC, he travelled around the world looking at problems "in out-of-the-way places," though mostly arguing about whether they could film there. Our Man in... featured episodes on monkeywrenching in American logging and 419 scams in Nigeria.

In 2005 he presented the short-lived Celador panel game, Back in the Day for Channel 4.

In January 2008, he appeared on the second episode of Thank God You're Here and won.

On 25 February 2008, he started presenting Brainbox Challenge, a new game show, for BBC Two.

In 2008, he presented a reality TV talent show-themed television series produced by the BBC entitled Maestro, starring eight celebrities who are "famous amateurs with a passion for classical music."

In 2009, Anderson was the television host of the BBC's Last Night of the Proms.

TV presenting

Shows he has presented include:


In recent years, Clive Anderson has combined his continuing interest in the law with his role as a radio presenter in the regular series Unreliable Evidence on Radio 4. He also covered the Sunday morning 11 AM-1 PM show on BBC Radio 2 through the end of January 2008.[8] He presented a Radio 4 programme, The Wikipedia Story,[9] about Wikipedia and other encyclopedias, which featured Anderson making this correcting edit to Wikipedia's article on the UK politician Michael Portillo. It was announced in April 2008 that Anderson, who had previously filled in for host Ned Sherrin from 2006 until his death from throat cancer in 2007, would be taking over as permanent host of Loose Ends.[10] He also hosts Clive Anderson's Chat Room on BBC Radio 2. Clive Anderson has appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Unbelievable Truth hosted by David Mitchell. He currently is presenting the 6th series of Clive Anderson's Chatroom.

Comedy and newspaper writing

Anderson is a comedy sketch writer who has written for Frankie Howerd, Not the Nine O'Clock News, and Griff Rhys Jones/Mel Smith.[6] One of his early comedy writing projects was Black Cinderella Two Goes East with Rory McGrath for BBC Radio 4 in 1978. He is famous for his fast, nervous delivery and close-to-the-knuckle witticisms.

As well as writing comedy, Anderson is also a frequent contributor to newspapers, and was a regular columnist in the Sunday Correspondent.[7]

Personal life

Anderson lives in Highbury, north London, with his wife and three children; Isabella, Flora and Edmund. He supports Arsenal,[11] and Rangers FC and is President of the Woodland Trust[12] and Vice Patron of the Solicitors' Benevolent Association[13]. He also has a holiday home in Dalmally, Argyll.


The show Whose Line is it Anyway? won a BAFTA award in 1990.[14] Later, Clive Anderson won both the "Top Entertainment Presenter" and "Top Radio Comedy Personality" at the British Comedy Awards in 1991.[15]


Clive Anderson features as a cameo character in Postcards from God - The Sister Wendy Musical, interviewing Sister Wendy on the subject of silence.[16]


  1. ^ Clive Anderson awards at IMDB retrieved 27 August 2007
  2. ^ Clive Anderson at BBC Radio 4 retrieved 27 August 2007
  3. ^ Maynard, Jeff. "Some Gaytonians". Virtual Gaytonian. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  4. ^ What Became of the Bank Manager?, BBC Radio 4, 22 November 2009
  5. ^ "Footlights: Alumni". Cambridge Footlights. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  6. ^ a b "Clive Anderson's Chat Room". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  7. ^ a b c "UKTV G2 Stars: Profile: Clive Anderson". UKTV Interactive Limited. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  8. ^ "Unreliable Evidence". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  9. ^ Anderson, Clive (24 July 2007). "The Wikipedia Story". BBC Radio 4. 
  10. ^ Dowell, Ben (2008-04-07). "Anderson goes full time on Radio 4's Loose Ends". London: MediaGuardian. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  11. ^ "Arsenal's A to Z: Famous fans". Arsenal Broadband Limited. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30.'s+A+to+Z. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  12. ^ "New advocate for native woodland: Woodland Trust welcomes Clive Anderson as president". The Woodland Trust. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Television and Television Craft Awards winners and nominees" (Pdf). British Academy of Film and Television Arts. p. 36. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  15. ^ "Past winners: 1991". Michael Hurll Television. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  16. ^
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Jon Canter
Footlights President
1974 – 1975
Succeeded by
Chris Keightley

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.