Eastbourne Ashridge Circle|Founded 1947

Lecture Date: December 16, 2024

AN AUDIENCE WITH…

Speaker: THE REVEREND RICHARD COLES

The former pop star-turned priest, now a TV personality and acclaimed novelist, tells it how it was in his unusual journey through life.

As a retired Church of England priest Richard is pretty unusual; indeed probably unique in having also been the instrumentalist half of a successful 1980s pop band with three UK Top Ten hits to its credit.

His journey through life to major celebrity status has been colourful, to say the least. Born in 1962, Richard grew up in Northamptonshire and was a chorister at school until adolescence, on his own admission, wrecked his voice and defined his sexuality.

After his spell in the bright lights of the pop world, he developed a different passion. A visit to a London church inspired in him a new faith, prompting him to study for a theology degree at King’s College, London. Returning to Northamptonshire, he says he ‘avoided’ getting ordained by presenting programmes for Radio 3 – until he could avoid it no longer. Then, for some light relief, he spent two years at a monastic college writing an ‘impenetrable’ thesis on the Greek text of the Epistle to the Ephesians.

In all, he served in the priesthood for 17 years both in Northamptonshire and central London. He also resumed his broadcasting career on Radio 4 and became famous all over again as a guest panellist on popular TV shows. He was the inspiration for the main character in the comedy “Rev” and more recently participated (fairly briefly!) in Strictly Come Dancing.

Nowadays he is a best-selling author of 12 books, including the crime series “The Canon Clement Mysteries.” A full life indeed.