Julian Clary ponders retiring ‘unseemly' material after ‘sobering 60'

The comedian is the latest entertainer to be inducted into the Wall of Fame at the London Palladium.

Julian Clary has said he often thinks about retiring from touring because he is worried it would be “unseemly” to be discussing his “graphic” subject matter in his 70s.

The comedian, who speaks frankly about gay life in his material, said he had found 60 to be a “sobering age”.

He told the PA news agency: “I often think that, I often think this is the last tour because no-one will want to see me any more or I won’t want to do it and I like being at home with my husband and the dogs.

“But once you’re actually on the road, I really love it, and this is my main function – to travel round and doing this. There is a lot of job satisfaction in touring.

“But how long? I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s unseemly after a certain age, given my main subject matter is so graphic, whether you can do that into your 70s.

Julian Clary joins the Palladium wall of fame
Julian Clary beside his image on the London Palladium Wall of Fame (Giles Anderson/PA)

“Dame Edna (Everage) does, 70s and beyond, so we will see.

“It helps the comedy in a way, the relentlessness of it, that you are still talking about it as you get older.”

Clary is the latest entertainer to be inducted into the Wall of Fame at the London Palladium by the theatre’s owner, Lord (Andrew) Lloyd Webber.

Julian Clary joins the Palladium wall of fame
Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber (Giles Anderson/PA)

He said: “I got a letter from Lord Andrew and his wife out of the blue and I had been admiring this wall because I’ve been here for a few years at Christmas and I sort of thought you had to be passed over to the other side before this happened but, no, Jimmy Tarbuck is still with us.

“It’s just a really lovely thing to think you’ll be there for a long time, if not forever, and it’s the Palladium. Who would have thought I would be on the wall at the Palladium?”

He added: “You forget how old you are, because I’m 60 now, which is quite a sobering age, and it’s probably all downhill from here.

“Then I think I’ve been doing panto for 20 years and camp old nonsense for about 35 so there is a sort of tipping point. This is what happens if you stick around long enough.”

Clary is currently playing The Ringmaster in Goldilocks And The Three Bears at the theatre and was joined by a number of his co-stars for the ceremony, including Matt Baker and Nigel Havers.

Asked if he found it strange that he was once considered to be so scandalous and outrageous but is now a household name, he said: “It is strange but I don’t think I’ve changed, I think it’s just the world is less easily shocked.

“I think my motivation was always to make people laugh, that is the reward if you’re a comedian.

“When I was on the alternative cabaret circuit in the mid-80s it wasn’t shocking to them because they were all nice left-wing supply teachers. Then, when you go on television and become mainstream, the Daily Mail and people like that are horrified, so I just went along with it really.

Julian Clary joins the Palladium wall of fame
Julian Clary (Giles Anderson/PA)

“I always think certain things need to be demystified to people and maybe gay life is one of them.”

Ahead of the unveiling, Lord Lloyd Webber said: “It’s a complete joy to be here today to introduce our latest addition to the London Palladium Wall of Fame.

“It’s roughly 30 artists so far and we had a committee and went through the extraordinary number of people who performed on this stage and we were really quite strict about it.

“You couldn’t be like The Beatles, who performed here once, that is not the criteria. You’ve got to have been part of this building and part of this building’s history and there is nobody who in recent years who has been more a part of this history than the person we are so delighted to have on the Wall of Fame today.”

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