Gyles Brandreth biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Gyles Brandreth.

Author Biography  |  Interview  |  Books by this Author  |  Readalikes

Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth Biography

Gyles Brandreth was born in a British Forces Hospital in Germany, where, in the aftermath of the Second World War, his father, Charles Brandreth, was serving as a legal officer with the Allied Control Commission and counted among his colleagues, H Montgomery Hyde, who, in 1948, published the first full account of the trials of Oscar Wilde. In 1974, at the Oxford Theatre Festival, Brandreth produced the first stage version of The Trials of Oscar Wilde, with Tom Baker as Wilde, and, in 2000, he edited the transcripts of the trials for an audio production starring Martin Jarvis.

He was educated at the Lycée Français de Londres, at Betteshanger School in Kent, and at Bedales School in Hampshire. Like Robert Sherard, Brandreth went on to New College, Oxford, where he was a scholar, President of the Union and editor of the university magazine, and then, again like Sherard, embarked on a career as an author and journalist. His first book, Created in Captivity (1972), was a study of prison reform; his first biography, The Funniest Man on Earth (1974), was a portrait of the Victorian music-hall star, Dan Leno. More recently he has published a biography of the actor, Sir John Gielgud, as well as an acclaimed diary of his years as an MP and government whip (Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries 1990-97) and two best-selling royal biographies: Philip & Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage and Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair.

Robert Sherard's forebears included William Wordsworth. Gyles Brandreth's include the somewhat less eminent poet, George R Sims (1847-1922), who wrote the ballads Billy's dead and gone to glory and Christmas Day in the workhouse. Sims was also the first journalist to claim to know the true identity of 'Jack the Ripper'. Sims, a kinsman of the Empress Eugénie and an acquaintance of both Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle, was arguably the first 'celebrity columnist' and well-known in his day for his endorsement of an 'infallible cure for baldness': 'Tatcho - The Geo R Sims Hair Restorer'.

As a broadcaster, Gyles Brandreth has presented numerous series for BBC Radio 4, including A Rhyme in Time, Sound Advice and Whispers - coincidentally the title of Robert Sherard's first collection of poetry. A regular guest on Just a Minute and Countdown, his television appearances have ranged from being the guest host of Have I Got News for You to being the subject of This Is Your Life. On stage he has starred in an award-winning revue in the West End and appeared as Malvolio in a musical version of Twelfth Night in Edinburgh. With Hinge & Bracket he scripted the TV series, Dear Ladies; with Julian Slade he wrote a play about A A Milne (featuring Aled Jones as Christopher Robin); and, with Susannah Pearse, he has written a new musical about Lewis Carroll, The Last Photograph.

He is married to the writer and publisher Michèle Brown. They have three children: a barrister, a writer and an environmental economist.

Link to Gyles's website

This biography was last updated on 08/05/2011.

A note about the biographies
We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate. However, with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, please send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Interview

Gyles Brandreth Answers Questions about the Oscar Wilde Mysteries


How did the idea to write a murder mystery series, with Oscar Wilde as one of the main characters, come about?


How did it come about? It's a long story, so I'll try to keep it short.

Since I was a boy, I have been an avid admirer of both the works of Oscar Wilde and the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. (For the first ten years of my life I lived a stone's throw from Tite Street, the London home of Sherlock Holmes. When I was ten, my family moved to Baker Street and we lived on the block that includes 221B.)

Anyway...about ten years ago, in the late 1990s, by chance, I picked up a copy of Memories and Adventures, the autobiography of Arthur Conan Doyle, published in 1924, and discovered, on page 94, that Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde were friends. I was amazed. It would be hard to imagine an odder couple.

They met in 1889, at the newly built Langham Hotel in Portland Place in London's West End. They were brought together by an American publisher, J. M. Stoddart, who happened to be in England commissioning material for Lippincott's Magazine. Evidently, Oscar, then thirty-five, was on song that night and Conan Doyle, thirty, was ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Gyles Brandreth at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance
Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance

by Gyles Brandreth

Lovers of historical mystery will relish this chilling Victorian tale based on real events and cloaked in authenticity. Best of all, it casts British literature's most fascinating and controversial figure as the lead sleuth. (UK title: Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders). Published in the USA simultaneously in hardcover and paperback.
Read More

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Gyles Brandreth but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

We recommend 9 similar authors

View all 9 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...
  • Book Jacket: Toms River
    Toms River
    by Dan Fagin
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    In Toms River, investigative journalist Dan Fagin ...
  • Book Jacket: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    by Gabrielle Zevin
    I feel like Gabrielle Zevin wrote this wonderful book, about a lonely New England bookstore owner ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois
  2.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin

All Discussions

Who Said...

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.