Margi Clarke

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Margi Clarke
Born 1954 (age 60–61)
Liverpool, Merseyside,[1] England, UK
Occupation Actress/radio presenter/dance music
Employer City Talk 105.9
Children Laurence Easeman
Rowan Reid

Margi Clarke (born 1954) is an English actress (her name is pronounced with a hard 'g'). She was born in Liverpool, Lancashire,[2] and brought up in nearby Kirkby, and is known for her Scouse accent and platinum-blonde hair.

Early career[edit]

Her launch into show business came in 1978, as a presenter on the late-night entertainment magazine show, What's On, which was just shown in the ITV Granada region. She was known then simply as Margox.

In 1983 Clarke appeared as 'Fran' in episodes 54 and 66 of the Liverpool-set Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, credited as Margi MacGregor.[3] Her brother Frank wrote her in, because, as she later said, she "had a gas bill which I couldn't pay".

She first came to prominence in 1985 after starring in the low-budget cult film Letter to Brezhnev about two working class Liverpool girls who meet two Russian sailors. The film was made for approximately £50,000 (Clarke called this "the cocaine budget on Rambo"), and became a huge international hit. Margi originated her role of Theresa in Letter to Brezhnev some three years earlier when she played the role in a modest run at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983.

In 1986, at the Evening Standard British Film Awards, Clarke took the prize for "Most Promising Newcomer". She followed this with the European art-house trilogy for the Kaurismäki brothers (I Hired a Contract Killer, Helsinki Napoli All Night Long and L.A. Without a Map).

Film actress and TV presenter[edit]

Clarke went on to star in the films The Dressmaker (1988) and Strike It Rich (1990), and had a well-known role in the Pet Shop Boys' video for their 1987 single, Rent. She was the stand-in host for Paula Yates on Channel 4's The Tube on several occasions. Clarke was also the voice for the character of "Bixie" in the Weetabix adverts at this time. In the late '80s Clarke scored a Top Ten hit in the Welsh charts with Clutter from the Gutter.

In 1989 she landed the part of 'Queenie' in the long running BBC series Making Out, set in a Manchester electronics factory and written by Debbie Horsfield. The show ran for three series, and there have been rumours ever since that the series will return again at some point. In 1991 she returned to presenting, on the late night ITV show The Good Sex Guide which gained unheard-of audience figures of 13 million for a show that aired at 10.35pm. She was rewarded with a win at the RTS Awards for "Best Female Presenter" in 1994. A second series was equally successful, and a third, The Good Sex Guide Abroad, soon followed. Clarke turned down an offer to take the series into a late night chat show format, the host eventually being Toyah Willcox.

In 1991 Clarke performed with Half Man Half Biscuit on the single "No Regrets", a cover of the classic song, "Non, je ne regrette rien", by Édith Piaf. At the same year she also portrayed Ronnie O'Dowd, a sexy female boxer in Blonde Fist.

Following the success of The Good Sex Guide, Carlton TV offered Clarke her own day-time show, and the resulting Swank ran for two series. In 1994 Clarke tried a new venture, stand-up comedy, and took her one-woman show 21st Century Scutt around the country - the tour included a stint at the Edinburgh Film Festival and the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank. She was a regular guest on Channel 4's notorious music show The Word, including one occasion where she tricked presenter Terry Christian into showing his testicles in a hidden camera set-up.

Around this time Clarke's boyfriend was the artist Jamie Reid, and she was paid an undisclosed sum to pose nude while nine months pregnant with their daughter Rowan. The resulting pictures were a response to the recent Vanity Fair spread of actress Demi Moore, in which she was shown nude while nine months pregnant. The pictures of Clarke were published in Sunday tabloid The Sunday People. She also published her own vegetarian cookery book, Margi Clarke's Better than Sex Cookbook.

Her last role before taking three years off, following the death of her mother and birth of her daughter (Rowan), was in the BBC1 mini-series, Soul Survivors co-starring Ian McShane. She returned to acting in 1998, joining the top rated soap opera Coronation Street, playing Jackie Dobbs. She left in 1999, and went on to join the cast of Five soap opera Family Affairs, staying for just under a year, as well as guest starring in an episode of the BBC's Casualty.

She also had roles in two high-profile films in 2002, The Revenger's Tragedy, directed by Alex Cox and 24 Hour Party People, the biopic of the Factory/Hacienda days in Manchester, which Clarke participated in in her 'Margox' days of the 1970s. She appeared as a guest on the long-running BBC show Through the Keyhole where her home in Kirkby was revealed. The Boys from County Clare feature film followed in 2003, in which she played the role of Dove.

Recent years[edit]

In 2004 Clarke appeared on the Five reality TV show The Farm and had a leading role in the theatrical film School for Seduction co-starring Kelly Brook. In 2006, Clarke had a role in an episode of the Hollyoaks spin-off Hollyoaks: In the City. This year she was also a contestant on a celebrity version of the BBC gameshow The Weakest Link.

Margi is often referred to as "The Queen of Liverpool" by the media. This tag was originally attributed to Clarke by music promoter Malcolm McLaren.[4]

In 2005, she began her successful on-line health and beauty range "Soul Rinse" which she runs parallel to her acting career. In 2006/07, she was heard on the airwaves of North-West radio station 105.4 Century Radio as co-presenter of the breakfast show and their late night phone-in shows.

In August 2007, Margi was a guest on Big Brother's Big Mouth on Channel 4 with Pete Burns, a Liverpool-born friend and performer for many years. At the end of 2007 it was reported in the Liverpool Echo that Margi would be playing the role of Kath in the Joe Orton play Entertaining Mr Sloane, as part of the city's Capital of Culture celebrations for 2008, and would be writing her memoirs in the near future.

On 11 January 2008, as part of the opening night celebrations of Liverpool's European Capital of Culture year, Margi was one of around a hundred local celebrities hoisted hidden in a blue container by a crane 30 feet into the air, landing on the main stage at St. George's Hall in the city. The celebrities stepped out of the container marked "Precious Cargo" to rapturous applause. The same evening Margi appeared as a panel guest on the BBC2 late-night news review show Newsnight, talking about her home town's Capital of Culture celebrations.

In January 2008, Margi joined Liverpool's newest talk radio station City Talk 105.9, presenting a late night show on Saturday evenings from 10.00pm.

Margi returned to a prime-time starring role in the second series of the hit British comedy Benidorm on ITV in 2008 and reprised her role as Jackie Dobbs in Coronation Street on 2 January 2009,[5] and again on 22 February 2010.

Also in February 2010 Clarke appeared with her daughter Rowan in an episode of the BBC's Celebrity Cash in the Attic.

Margi appeared in 'Scousers in St Helens' on 26 October 2010 alongside Tina Malone, Billy Butler and several others. In late 2010, she recorded numerous music tracks such as Like a Memory and Holographic Disco which are now available on iTunes and in November 2010 she released her autobiography "Margi Clarke - Now You See Me". She has also appeared in an episode of the BBC show Waterloo Road in May 2011[6] and participated in the 2011 series of Celebrity MasterChef. Margi also appeared in the UK Christmas Come Dine With Me in December 2012.


  1. ^ "Lancashire" is correct. Merseyside did not exist prior to 1 April 1974
  2. ^ "Lancashire" is correct. Merseyside did not exist prior to 1 April 1974
  3. ^ "The Brookside Guide". 31 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-30. 
  4. ^ "60 Second Interview - Margi Clarke". Metro. 10 November 2003. Retrieved 2006-11-30. 
  5. ^ "Jackie Dobbs, John Stape return to Corrie". Digital Spy. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  6. ^ TV's Margi Clarke Bounces Back After Booze Battle. "TV's Margi Clarke Bounces Back After Booze Battle - Coventry Telegraph - Pass the Remote". Retrieved 2014-01-05. 

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