Jenny Eclair

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Jenny Eclair
Eclair in 2013
Birth nameJenny Clare Hargreaves
Born (1960-03-16) 16 March 1960 (age 63)[1]
Kuala Lumpur, Federation of Malaya
(now Malaysia)
MediumComedian, author
Years active1983–present
GenresStand up, television
Spouse Geoff Powell (m. 2017)
Notable works and rolesGrumpy Old Women (2004–2007)
I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here (2010)
WebsiteOfficial site

Jenny Eclair (born Jenny Clare Hargreaves; 16 March 1960) is an English comedian, novelist, and actress, best known for her roles in Grumpy Old Women between 2004 and 2007 and in Loose Women in 2011 and 2012.

Early life[edit]

Eclair was born to English parents in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, where her father, Derek Hargreaves, a major in the British Army, had been posted in 1952.[2] Eclair returned to England when she was two years old,[3] and she started her education at Queen Mary school (now AKS Lytham, after two separate mergers) in Lytham St Annes.

She is said to have adopted the alternative surname Eclair (later her stage name) in her teens, when she was at a disco in Blackpool and pretended to be French.[4][5] She studied at the Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama (now Manchester Metropolitan University) and joined a cabaret group variously referred to as Kathy Lacreme and the Rum Babas, and Cathy La Crème and the Rum Babas.

After she moved to London, Eclair's first job was at Camberwell Arts College as a life model, which she did for about two terms. She then saw an advert in The Stage looking for novelty acts and found work doing punk poems. In 1989, when she was named the Time Out Cabaret Award winner, she said it "was nice because it's the first time I've ever won without having to run 100 metres balancing an egg on a spoon."[6] In 1995, Eclair was the first woman to win the Perrier Award, now known as the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


After an early appearance as a German hotel worker in Auf Wiedersehen Pet Eclair starred in the ITV drama The Bill and appeared in the early 1990s Channel 4 comedy series Packet of Three with Frank Skinner, as well as the follow-up series Packing Them In. In 1995, she became the first female solo winner of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival's Perrier Comedy Award. In 1997, she played "Josie" in the stage play Steaming by Nell Dunn. In 2001, she published her first novel Camberwell Beauty.

Eclair provided alternative commentary of the Eurovision Song Contest 2002 for BBC Choice viewers as part of the channel's Liquid Eurovision Party coverage, as a late replacement for broadcaster Christopher Price who died the month before the contest took place.[7][8]

Grumpy Old Women[edit]

Eclair helped develop, and appeared on, BBC Two's Grumpy Old Women and its various spin-off shows. In 2006, Eclair starred in the stage show Grumpy Old Women Live! with Dillie Keane and Linda Robson. The show was co-written by Eclair and Judith Holder. The spring saw a sell-out national tour, and June and July a run at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End, and the autumn saw another national tour.

Loose Women[edit]

From 2011 to 2012, Eclair returned as a panellist on Loose Women, a show she was a panellist on in 2003. On 30 May 2012, she appeared on her last Loose Women show and was replaced by actress Shobna Gulati.

As a contestant[edit]

In 2005, Eclair appeared in the reality show Comic Relief Does Fame Academy.[9]

On 18 November 2010, she joined the 2010 series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!,[10] finishing in third place behind Stacey Solomon and Shaun Ryder.

In August 2012, Eclair appeared in Celebrity MasterChef on BBC One.

Eclair is a contestant in the fifteenth series of Taskmaster alongside comedians Frankie Boyle, Mae Martin, Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Ivo Graham. The series started airing in March 2023.[11]

Eclair was a contestant in The Great Pottery Throw Down's December 2022 festive celebrity show. [12]


On 25 January 2014, Eclair took part in the second series of the ITV celebrity diving show Splash!, appearing in the fourth heat.

Stage Air date Dive Judges' scores Result
Andy Banks Jo Brand Leon Taylor Total
Heat 4 25 January 2014 Forward pike fall (5 metre) 7.0 8.0 6.5 21.5 Eliminated

Note* Scores are out of a possible 30 points in total.

Guest appearances[edit]


Until April 2008, Eclair hosted a weekend talk show on LBC 97.3. Her other radio credits include appearing on BBC Radio 4 in the Just a Minute quiz and afternoon plays, various comedy shows on BBC 7 and regularly has covered for Sandi Toksvig on LBC's weekday lunchtime chat show (now defunct).

She has also hosted her own show on the London radio station LBC Radio and starred in various stage productions.

Eclair sat in for Danny Baker on BBC London 94.9 from Tuesday 30 August until Friday 2 September 2011.[17]

Other work[edit]

Eclair fronts the Food Standards Agency's salt reduction campaign "Salt, is your food full of it?".[18]

Eclair became an Ambassador for audiobook charity Listening Books in 2019

Eclair appeared at Derby Playhouse in The Killing of Sister George from 13 September 2008 until 18 October 2008.


  • The Book of Bad Behaviour (non-fiction) Virgin, 1994. ISBN 0-86369-856-5; ISBN 978-0-86369-856-9
  • Camberwell Beauty (novel) Little, Brown, 2000. ISBN 0-316-85318-6; ISBN 978-0-316-85318-7
  • Sit-Down Comedy (contributor to anthology, ed Malcolm Hardee & John Fleming) Ebury Press/Random House, 2003. ISBN 0-09-188924-3; ISBN 978-0-09-188924-1
  • Having a Lovely Time (novel) Little, Brown, 2005. ISBN 0-7515-3605-9; ISBN 978-0-7515-3605-8
  • Life, Death and Vanilla Slices (novel) Sphere, 2012. ISBN 1847444938; ISBN 978-1847444936
  • Moving (novel) Sphere, 2015. ISBN 9780751550955 (Italian translation: Le stanze dei ricordi, Sperling & Kupfer, 2017. ISBN 978-8820061531)

Personal life[edit]

Eclair is married to Geoff Powell as of July 2017. She previously stated that marriages are naff.[19] She is the mother of the playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell (b. 1990).


  1. ^ "Researcha profile". Retrieved 23 September 2011.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Naughty but nice". The Independent. 13 May 1997.
  3. ^ Channel 4, Empire's Children
  4. ^ Lawrence, Janie (13 May 1997). "Naughty but nice". The Independent. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  5. ^ "The Facts: Jenny Eclair". BBC. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  6. ^ Programme notes, Thirty Somehow, Gilded Balloon Edinburgh 1990
  7. ^ "Comic Eclair takes on Eurovision". 15 May 2002. Retrieved 1 February 2021 – via
  8. ^ Granger, Anthony (5 November 2020). "United Kingdom: Former Head of Delegation Dominic Smith Has Passed Away". Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Comic Relief Does Fame Academy – Jenny Éclair profile". Manchester Evening News. 19 February 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  10. ^ "Two more stars confirmed for 'I'm A Celeb' – I'm A Celebrity News – TV". Digital Spy. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  11. ^ Twitter Retrieved 2 December 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Retrieved 25 December 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose on Channel 4 at 9:00am May 17th, 2014". 17 May 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  14. ^ "Draw it! on Channel 4 at 4:30pm May 19th, 2014". 19 May 2014. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  15. ^ "TV listings guide". Radio Times.
  16. ^ "Fifty Shades Uncovered (2015) - IMDb" – via
  17. ^ "Eclair sitting in for Danny Baker on BBC london 94.9". BBC. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  18. ^ "Salt TV ads". 6 November 2009. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  19. ^ Interview by Stuart Husband (7 December 2008). "This much I know". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 23 September 2011.

External links[edit]