Early Years

Margi Clarke was, in the words of Peter McGovern’s well known song, “born in Liverpool down by the docks”, in Sandhills to be exact, in a tenement complex known locally as ‘The Billogs’.

She was born into a traditional working class family, one of ten children raised by parents Michael and Frances. Her father Michael worked as a docker on the Liverpool waterfront.

The Mayor Of Knowsley

Margi’s mother Frances went on to become the Mayor of Knowsley, and later penned her autobiography entitled ‘At The Heart Of It All’.

Sunday Drama School

Margi and her siblings were imbued with a deep seated sense of self-confidence, and an acute awareness of the importance of family values by their parents, who like all Liverpool people were good raconteurs and natural entertainers. In that secure loving environment Sunday afternoons were their ‘drama school’, as they were all encouraged to ‘do a turn’ singing the latest 60’s pop song on top of the kitchen table!

After leaving school at 15 years of age Margi worked in a variety of factory, office, and retail jobs. It was then she decided to form a band, and when the raw energy of punk rock finally emerged they were ready to grab it with both hands as ‘Margox and the Zinc’.

Tony Wilson

They graduated to the world famous Eric’s in Mathew Street, and it was there that Margi was spotted by the legendary Manchester TV presenter/music promoter the late great Tony Wilson.

In 1979 and under Tony’s guidance, Margi with her bright red hair was launched with stunning effect on an unsuspecting public, as TV presenter Margox on Granada television’s ‘What’s On’.

Holly Johnson

Liverpool in the 80’s was a crucible of artistic talent, Margi who was playing regularly at Eric’s hung out with friends Holly Johnson, Pete Burns, Jayne Casey, and Pete Wylie. In fact it was Holly who lent Margi a white tuxedo for the first episode of ‘What’s On’.

What’s On

Margi went on to interview many people on the show including Kate Bush, George Melly, April Ashley, Lena Lovitch, and Demis Roussos who she famously billed as “the man who looks like he’s swallowed a couch”.

Liverpool Beat Poets

Beat poets Adrian Henri and Roger McGough, screenwriter Willy Russell, and Carol Ann Duffy, were influencing Margi artistically more and more. In fact it was Carol (who later became Poet Laureate) who wrote the scripts for Margi when she presented ‘What’s On, and it turns out that Margi inspired the character Rita of Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’ fame, which 10 years later she got to play at The Century theatre Keswick, and interestingly Margi’s sister Angela played the part also!

Joy Division

Through Tony Wilson Margi met and mixed with some of the most iconic bands from Manchester, such as Joy Division, Happy Mondays, and Magazine.

Paris

After success with Margox and Granada Television Margi set sail for Paris with artist Jamie Reid on the romantic adventure of a lifetime. They had a recording deal with the French arm of Polydor, and during their stay in Paris they recorded the single Beauty and the Thief with producer Stephane Pietri. Later in their Parisian adventure Margi recorded Don’t Look Back with the same producer.

Malcolm McLaren

Margi sang ‘Beauty And The Thief’ in both French and English with the help of Jamie’s co-conspirator and initiator of UK Punk Malcolm McLaren, who was fluent in French. It was Malcolm who dubbed her ‘The Queen Of Liverpool’.

Boy George

On trips back and forth to Liverpool, London, and Paris, Margi hung out on the Kings Road with Jamie, and one day met up with Boy George in Vivienne Westwood’s shop ‘World’s End’. George, who was yet to find fame, wanted to know all the latest gossip about Pete Burns, who was his rival up in Liverpool. Margi and George hit it off immediately, and speculated whether they shared Ancestors, as Margi’s grandmother’s maiden name was O’Dowd.

Letter To Brezhnev

She starred in Letter To Brezhnev, a seminal 80’s film that changed the British film industry almost overnight. With a tiny budget, shot in Liverpool, and written by her brother Frank, it went on to make multiple millions at box office.

She also worked on a trilogy of art films and followed that with Blonde Fist, which still has a cult following, appearing as the very first actress to box in a film.

The Word

She went on to co present The Word, and is still one of only a handful of presenters to interview Morrissey. She appeared in The Pet Shop Boys music video ‘Rent’, which was directed by Derek Jarman.

The Good Sex Guide

Margi presented Carlton TV’s The Good Sex Guide, for which she quite rightly won Best TV Presenter.

Soul Survivors

After that she starred in Soul Survivors with Ian McShane, and TV dramas including the classic series Making Out. Later on she starred in Coronation Street, Family Affairs, Benidorm, Hollyoaks, the list goes on and on.

School For Seduction

Later there was School For Seduction with Kelly Brook and Tim Healey, then a stream of TV shows such as The Weakest Link, The Farm, Celebrity Total Wipeout, Britain’s Best Dish, Cash In The Celebrity Attic, and Puppy Love.