Dad dot info form. Ask questions, get answers

Exclusive interview: Julian Clary on his new children’s book

Julian Clary, one of the UK’s best loved entertainers, turns his talents to children’s books

From Nature Nuts to Celebrity Big Brother, Julian Clary has become something of a national trinket on television with his perfectly-timed one-liners and waspish wit. Already a best-selling author for adults, he recently turned his talents to children’s fiction. His debut novel, The Bolds, is an hilarious account of a family of hyenas holed up in suburban Teddington, illustrated by Dirty Bertie creator David Roberts.


Julian, what inspired you to venture into children’s writing?

Contacting my inner-child and writing The Bolds has been a source of great joy for me. I loved writing it and have just finished a sequel. It’s hard to be taken seriously as a writer when you’re a comedian so it made sense to write a funny book. As a comedian my inner child is perhaps better preserved than some, but it was very easy and indeed enjoyable, to slip back into being my younger, imaginative self, and the story of The Bolds tumbled out of me with hardly any effort or prodding.

 Why did you decide to write about animals?

Children like and understand animals. My own childhood imagination was filled with the idea that animals are just as clever as human beings, just misunderstood. This seems an idea worth pursuing.

 And why hyenas? They don’t often crop up in children’s books…

I like hyenas because they laugh so much – I loved the idea of laughter being their primary concern. Much like myself. There are lots of other animals in the book too, though.

 …and why Teddington?

I grew up in Teddington. It is a pleasant, cheerful place, eminently middle class.

 You’re a big animal lover. What pets do you have and how did they inspire the way you characterised Mr and Mrs Bold?

I have dogs and chickens. I did have ducks, too, but Mr Fox paid a visit. I won’t upset your readers with the grizzly details. It is quite clear to me that animals can communicate, experience emotions and express themselves with an intelligence that is different from, but equal to, ours. Human beings assume superiority and The Bolds aim is to restore the balance. The fact that animals are as smart as us is the big secret. Children will understand this because they haven’t yet been conditioned.

The book is beautifully illustrated by David Roberts. How did that collaboration come about?

David is famous and much sought after in the world of children’s illustration. He was my first choice for The Bolds and I was thrilled when he agreed to do the book. He understands my humour and his drawings have added a whole new dimension to the text.

As a children’s author, do you worry that books will be replaced by iPads and other technology?

You can’t beat holding an actual, physical book in your mitts. The advantage books have over technology is obvious: texture, smell, being able to flick pages backwards and forwards – enjoying the look of them on a shelf, being able to return to them and relive the experience once again. iPads cannot compete with this. Long live books!

 An ordinary, everyday suburban family. Only they're hyenas

The Bolds is published by Andersen Press. Age: 8+

Related entries

Review: Rapunzel and The Strongest Mum

Review: Rapunzel and The Strongest Mum

Father of two, Simon Harris, reviews two new Macmillan books for kids, Rapunzel and The Strongest Mum... Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin My wife is always telling our girls that ‘mummy is strong’ whilst flexing her muscles – and I’m sure she’s not the only mama to do...

Why You Should Never Buy A Dog From A Puppy Farm

Why You Should Never Buy A Dog From A Puppy Farm

In her new children's book, Viola Vincent Reporting... Underdog, investigative-journalist-turned-author, Anna Kenna, looks at the growing global problem of puppy mills. Here, she tells why pet-owners-to-be should avoid buying a dog that's been bred on one of...

Latest entries

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

As a parent of a 10 year old who is rapidly approaching the age where he will be getting his own phone, I’m concerned about ensuring he isn’t exposed to a cavalcade of disturbing things online. I’m worrying about bullying, about him being contacted or making friends...

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

The Olympics have started! Despite a lack of fans (crowd noise will be piped into the stadiums instead) the event is still as important as ever and makes for great summer viewing. So at Dad.Info we have rounded up 21 interesting facts about Japan to both liberally...

How To Have A Holiday At Home

How To Have A Holiday At Home

If you’re anything like me and flip flopped about for ages, unsure what to do about booking a summer holiday this year amid constantly- changing Covid news, then you’ll be finding yourself at home for the summer. But while we may not be able to dip our toes in the...

Pin It on Pinterest