An Interview With Gyles Brandreth
Which artist/comedian/entertainer do you most admire?
The most impressive speakers I have heard in person are Bill Clinton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. As far as comedy goes, I've had the privilege of seeing the likes of Bob Hope and Ken Dodd in their prime. I worked a lot with Kenneth Williams: he was a very funny man and a genius of a raconteur...
How did working in the corporate sector start?
It began 40 years ago when I was President of the Oxford Union and was taken up by the UK's leading speakers' agency at the time as a "student who can tell business what Britain's youth is all about"! Since then, I have gone on addressing corporate audiences - but obviously with the experience of my later working life within the media, as a businessman myself, as an MP and at the Treasury.
Can you remember your first speaking engagement?
Yes, I was 17 and addressed an educational conference at the New York Hilton. I was very excited to get a standing ovation.
And your last event?
Yesterday: 1700 senior business figures at the Grosvenor House Hotel. I was still very excited to get a standing ovation!.
Which event has been your favourite and why?
Probably sharing a platform with Tony Blair at the WI - when he was given the slow hand-clap and I got a standing ovation! Speaking at the Kremlin was memorable. Ditto speaking at Buckingham Palace...