Graham McCann

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Graham McCann is a British author and historian[1] who has written extensively on film and television stars and British comedy series. He is a former lecturer and fellow at the University of Cambridge where he taught social and political theory. McCann has become noted for his biographies on figures such as Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, John Le Mesurier, Woody Allen and Terry-Thomas, and books about British television comedy such as Dad's Army, Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty Towers. He also contributes to various newspapers.

Teaching career[edit]

McCann earned a doctorate at Cambridge University and, before becoming a full-time writer, was a fellow and lecturer in social and political theory at King's College, Cambridge.[2][3][4][5][6] Among his fields of expertise is American culture, and in 1993 he lectured on "Aspects of American Culture" at the university.[7] He also taught in the university's continuing education programme, primarily in the subject of the history of British political thought.[2]

Writing career[edit]

McCann has published at least 17 books.[8] His 1988 biography of Marilyn Monroe was the first to approach her life from a sociological perspective.[9][10] This subject was revisited in his chapter "Biographical Boundaries: Sociology and Marilyn Monroe" in The Body: Social Processes and Cultural Theory published in 1991. He followed this with a biography of Woody Allen (1991),[11] and with Rebel Males (1993), an analysis of the influence of Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando and James Dean and their transformative role in moving the masculine heroic role in American popular culture closer to a sensitivity associated with bisexuality.[12] He received praise for his 1997 biography of Cary Grant, A Class Apart.[13][14] Andrea Highbie of The New York Times described the book as "well-researched",[15] while Publishers Weekly considered it a more comprehensive account than Geoffrey Wansell's Cary Grant: Dark Angel book.[16]

Many of McCann's books concern British television, especially comedians and comedy series. HarperCollins describe him as "Britain's leading writer about film and TV".[17] He has published biographies of Morecambe and Wise (1998),[3][18][19] John Le Mesurier (Do You Think That's Wise?, 2010) and Terry-Thomas (Bounder!, 2008).[20] In 2004, he published a biography of comic Frankie Howerd. Simon Callow writing for The Guardian noted the book's "occasional tantalising glimpses of his friendships" and "gamely attempts to sketch the broad outlines of Howerd's sex-life".[21] In 2001 he published Dad's Army – The Story of a Classic Television Show.[17][22] He has also authored Only Fools and Horses: The Untold Story of Britain's Favourite Comedy (2011), Fawlty Towers (2012),[5] and A Very Courageous Decision: The Inside Story of Yes Minister (2014),[23] and has edited a book containing material by the comedian Dave Allen (The Essential Dave Allen, 2005).[24]

McCann has written numerous articles about politics and popular culture for The Guardian,[25] Evening Standard,[26][27] the Daily Mail,[28] The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Washington Post, The Times Literary Supplement, The Modern Review, Sight & Sound, Radical Philosophy and the New Statesman.[4] He has acted as a consultant to programme makers;[29] during the early 2000s he was the television critic for the Financial Times.[30][31] In May 2015 he was awarded the "Best Correspondents prize" at the Leicester Comedy Festival on a writing piece which documented his discovery that Roy Clarke had been commissioned to write a sitcom for Morecambe and Wise, a project which was never finalised.[1]

Wikipedia Article Controversy[edit]

Controversy ensued when McCann viewed his own Wikipedia page and discovered a series of inaccuracies on the page. He was however unable to correct these since he could provide no proof, and was accordingly suspected of vandalising his own page. A website dispute between McCann and several Wikipedia editors escalated and McCann was abused several times.[32]

Published works (Alphabetical by title)[edit]

  • Amnesty International (4 October 2012). Graham McCann, ed. A Poke in the Eye (With a Sharp Stick): Amnesty Presents the Best of the Secret Policeman's Ball (Main ed.). Canongate Books. ISBN 978-0857867346. – 2 editions
  • A Very Courageous Decision: The Inside Story of Yes Minister. Aurum Press Ltd. 1 November 2014. ISBN 978-1781311899. – 5 editions
  • Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas. Aurum Press. 2009. ISBN 9781845134419. – 5 editions
  • Cary Grant: A Class Apart. Columbia University Press. 15 March 1998. ISBN 978-0231108850.
  • Eisler, Hanns; Adorno, Theodor W.; McCann, Graham (Introduction) (11 December 2007) [1947]. Composing for Films (Illustrated ed.). Continuum. ISBN 9780826499028. – 10 editions
  • Dad's Army: The Story of a Very British Comedy: The Story of a Classic Television Show (New ed.). Fourth Estate. 1 September 2002. ISBN 978-1841153094.
  • Do You Think That's Wise?: The Life of John Le Mesurier. Aurum Press. 8 November 2010. ASIN B0077FAV8W. ISBN 978-1845136529. – 5 editions
  • Fawlty Towers (First ed.). Hodder & Stoughton. 18 October 2007. ISBN 0-340-89811-9. – 6 editions
  • Frankie Howerd: Stand-Up Comic (illustrated ed.). HarperCollins UK. 1 October 2004. ISBN 1841153109. – 2 editions
  • Marilyn Monroe. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press. 1988. ISBN 978-0813513027. – 4 editions
  • Morecambe and Wise. Robson Books Ltd. 1998. ISBN 9780860519027. – 2 editions
  • Only Fools and Horses. Splendid. 1 September 2011. ISBN 978-0955891694. – 5 editions
  • Rebel Males: Brando, Clift and Dean. London: Hamish Hamilton. 1991. ISBN 9780241128848. – 4 editions
  • Spike & Co: Inside the House of Fun with Milligan, Sykes, Galton & Simpson. Hodder & Stoughton Paperbacks. 11 January 2006. ISBN 9780340898093. – 4 editions
  • Still Open All Hours: The Story of a Classic Comedy. BBC Books. 30 October 2014. ISBN 1849908869. – 4 editions
  • The Comedy Carpet Blackpool: The Making of a World Class Monument to Comedy. Booth Clibborn. 1 November 2013. ISBN 978-1861543394.
  • The Essential Dave Allen. Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. 7 November 2005. ISBN 0340899433. – 5 editions
  • Woody Allen: New Yorker. Polity Press. 1990. ISBN 9780745608907. – 2 editions[8]


  1. ^ a b "US critics hail Amy Schumer". Chortle. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Dr Graham McCann". University of Cambridge Continuing Education. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Graham McCann". HarperCollins Publishers (US). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Author details". Graham McCann. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b Dugdale, John. "Fawlty Towers". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  6. ^ Quinn, Kathleen (1 July 1990). "In Short, Nonfiction; Love, Death and 'When Do We Eat?'". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  7. ^ Inglis, F. (31 March 2004). Education and the Good Society. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-230-52344-9.
  8. ^ a b "Author: McCann, Graham". WorldCat. OCLC. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  9. ^ Cantor, Muriel G. (January 1989). "Review of Marilyn Monroe by Graham McCann". Contemporary Sociology. 18 (1): 115–16. JSTOR 2071984.
  10. ^ Churchwell, Sarah Bartlett (2005). The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe. New York: Metropolitan Books / Henry Holt. p. 91. ISBN 9780805078183.
  11. ^ Rickman, Gregg (Summer 1991). "Review of Woody Allen by Graham McCann". Film Quarterly. 44 (4): 43–44. JSTOR 1212776.
  12. ^ Girgus, Sam B. (Fall 1996). "Review: Minimal Males: Men in the Movies". American Studies. 37 (2): 175–84. JSTOR 40642832.
  13. ^ Yardley, Jonathan (12 February 1997). "A Smooth Transition; How Archie Leach Became Cary Grant". The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  14. ^ Thompson-Noel, Michael (29 January 1997). "Biographer Saves Grant From Scrutiny's Light". The Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  15. ^ Highbie, Andrea (13 April 1997). "The One and Only". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Cary Grant: Dark Angel". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Graham McCann". Harper Collins (UK). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Graham McCann – The Guardian Profile". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  19. ^ Goldie, David (15 April 1999). "Sunshine". London Review of Books. 21 (8): 34–35.
  20. ^ McCann, Graham (1 December 2011). Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas. Aurum Press. ISBN 978-1-84513-756-4.
  21. ^ Callow, Simon (26 November 2004). "Titter ye not". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  22. ^ Morgan-Russell, Simon (2004). Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Manchester University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7190-6556-9.
  23. ^ Inglis, Fred (15 January 2015). "A Very Courageous Decision: The Inside Story of Yes Minister, by Graham McCann". Times Higher Education Supplement. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  24. ^ "About the Author – Graham McCann". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  25. ^ McCann, Graham (27 November 2004). "Frankie Howerd: Stand Up Comic". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  26. ^ McCann, Graham (27 November 2001). "Time to Stop the Ghastliest Show in Town". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  27. ^ McCann, Graham (11 January 2002). "Why Men Don't Want to Present the News". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  28. ^ McCann, Graham (5 July 2012). "Comic Genius Who Couldn't Hear the Laughter of a Nation That Adored Him". Daily Mail. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Graham McCann". British Film Institute.
  30. ^ "Just like Irene, she won't be owned". The Sunday Times. 21 April 2002. p. 34.
  31. ^ King, Conrad (1 September 2000). "King of the Road". Daily Record. Scotland. p. 10.
  32. ^

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