For over thirty years, writer and performer Julian Dutton has been forging a repertoire of comedy characters which has made him one of the most versatile Impressionists in Britain. After leaving school, Dutton attended the University of Leeds where he studied English and History. It was here that he discovered the art of performing after participating in the university theatre group. This was pivotal to the direction of Julian’s career and after graduation he established his own theatrical company, organising his first play The Candidate at the New End Theatre in Hampstead in the mid 1980’s. Having the unique ability to always write his own material was a massive advantage when attempting to further his career and put him on the path to success as he always had another string to his bow. Something that had originally been a side talent has now taken up around 80% of his career making Julian a very proud man.
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Writing for radio within the late 1980’s, By 1990 Julian promptly made the decision to pursue the comedy route and joined forces with who would go onto become the cream of British comedy for the next twenty years. Week Ending was a brand new satirical sketch show from BBC Radio 4 which united the talents of upcoming writers and performers and gave birth to stars such as Harry Hill, Stewart Lee and Armando Iannucci as they took a irreverent look at the week’s most pressing news stories. From the cutting edge of comedy, Julian was able to straddle both sides of the entertainment scene when he contributed material to the long running Radio 2 series The News Huddlines starring Roy Hudd, June Whitfield and Chris Emmett. Working with Roy Hudd gave Julian a perfect introduction to the world of comedy and his generosity as a performer was incredible. At each recording, he would always acknowledge the writers in his warm-up which would bring a togetherness to the show and his welcoming manner made him the perfect performer to write for. This may be another reason for Julian to insist that radio comedy was the best route to get into the business in the early nineties and believes that it inspired a whole generation of writers and performers.
Roy Hudd wasn’t the only comedy legend whom Julian had the pleasure to work with during his early career. Asked to appear on a BBC Light Entertainment show entitled The Bore Of The Year Awards during the early nineties, Julian was taken aback when he discovered that he was performing a live sketch with the legendary Peter Cook. Collaborating with one of his comedy heroes was a fantastic achievement for the young comic who had also appeared alongside another one of his heroes Frankie Howerd on an advertisement as the secret lemonade drinker just before the legendary comedian passed away.
Meeting Alistair McGowan, a fellow graduate of the University of Leeds was another turning point in Julian’s career. Appearing together on various Radio 4 series of the nineties helped them develop a chemistry which later made a successful transition to television. In 1999 the BBC created its first impressions series since The Mike Yarwood Show over twenty years previously. Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression began life as a series of ten minute segments within the BBC1 schedule but it wasn’t long before the popularity of the series demanded a full thirty minute slot and a change of title to simply The Big Impression. Whilst on The Big Impression, Julian perfected his impersonation of the great John Le Mesurier when it was decided that cult characters would pop up in Albert Square and interact with heightened creations of the current cast. What arose from this was a fused character of Dot Cotton and Sergeant Wilson which posed Julian an idea….
In the summer of 2018 Julian premiered his brand new one man show Do You Think That’s Wise Sir now on a nationwide tour where he performs a 90 minute show in the character of John Le Mesurier. The life of Le Mesurier was full of light and dark both personally and professionally following the break-up of his first marriage to Hattie Jaques before marrying second wife Joan who notoriously had a very public affair with his great friend Tony Hancock. When devising the show, Julian was struck with a dilemma: did he just write a tribute to Le Mesurier depicting his greatest moments from Dad’s Army? Or did he create an accurate representation of the man himself? For the benefit of his audience he chose to do the latter and judging the public reaction we can safely say that it’s paying off! It was great to meet and interview the great Julian Dutton and wish him all the very best for the rest of his remarkable career.