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Well now let me see.... it all started when my lovely singing teacher noticed me belting out the hymns in the school choir (which makes my school sound posh - the choir was made up of all the kids who couldn't afford Potato Puffs at playtime, so we'd sing instead), and got her hippy son toaccompany me on an excruciating rendition of "The Sound of Silence" at a school assembly. It was terrible, and I secretly vowed never to sing in Public again. But I grew up in Harlow, and there's bugger all to do there except sniff glue or get involved in the excellent youth theatre. I chose the latter - glue is very unforgiving on the complexion.
I then studied Drama at Kent University, which was great because it was the 80's and I wore really loud clothes and pranced about thinking I was IT for 4 years. I wasn't.
After that I came to Hackney - it's where all the dykes went in the late 80's - a strange kind of homing instinct brought us stomping here by the thousands in heavy boots and biker's jackets. A very attractive look which I notice is still favoured amongst some of the over-30's. Bless.
I then hooked up with some pals and formed Red Rag Women's Theatre Company, which ended up being a lesbian collective. We had a lot of fun, scrounged off the state and dodged Restart interviews. Oh yes, and drank a lot of beer. Meanwhile I worked part time at the Hackney Empire, and got really into the comedy scene. I started performing with musicians (worthy benefits, tiny pubs etc) and found that in between songs I liked to chat and make people laugh. I never felt it was enough just to sing. Someone told me I sounded like Karen Carpenter, and the whole 'Easy Listening' thing was kicking in, so I worked up an act and spent the next three years doing the circuit in a crimplene dress. I got a bit of a name for myself, especially as around that time I was also a full time lecturer in Drama at Royal Holloway College. It was pretty mad. But I missed acting, so I got my friend Dan Rebellato to write me a play...
SHOWSTOPPER (Edinburgh Festival and London Arts Theatre)- about the life of Marni Nixon, the woman who secretly provided the singing voices of Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr and Nathalie Wood. People loved the show, but wanted more songs, so the next year we wrote...
CHICKS WITH FLICKS (Edinburgh and Kings Head, London) which got rave reviews and toured for a total of 2 years on and off.
IT'S JACKIE came next (Edinburgh and Drill Hall London) which was my tribute to Burt Baccarach (featuring demon pianist Janette Mason).
FOLLOW THE STAR! Was my last show (Drill Hall), which fulfilled a longstanding ambition to sing cheesey songs in a log cabin. Nearly all of this show featured original songs written with my writing partner Al Collingwood. We are currently working on a new piece for Edinburgh called AN AUDIENCE WITH JACKIE CLUNE, which will be a celebrity-studded extravaganza (at least in my head...).
So that's the live stuff In between all that I did bits and bobs on telly. . . COMEDY NATION being the most fun as I got to write and perform my own characters - Gay Lady was a particular favourite! I also wrote a few bits for the first series of SMACK THE PONY, as well as recording the vocal on the theme tune (an old Dusty hit). I then got a small part in EASTENDERS, which was a scream. Easily the nicest job I ever had. Then came THE STAYING IN SHOW, which I loved, but sadly is not being recomissioned even though it was nominated for a Golden Rose Award this year!
I also spent several happy years at GLR (now London Live or something) doing the queer programme (The Lavender Lounge) and a Saturday & Sunday breakfast show, which I also loved to bits.
At the moment, as well as chatting up TV execs, I am touring with the excellent SING-A-LONG-A SOUND OF MUSIC. We've been all over the country with it, with me as the host and compere for the evening. Watch out for it near you!