Yee-haw! You’ve heard of The Man With No Name? Well, here’s The Man With No Shame. Julian Clary is heading back out on the road with a new solo stand-up show with a Western theme - A Fistful of Clary. Before he heads to the North West next week, he answered a few questions

Julian, you’re back on the road this Spring with a brand-new stand-up tour titled ‘A Fistful Of Clary’, your first tour since 2022. What do you most look forward to when heading out on a new tour?

Am I? I do wish my agent would tell me these things.

I love touring, it is a very lovely, creative process. Every night is different. I look forward to seeing how things evolve: a tiny spontaneous idea one-night can become a 20 minute routine after a few shows. That sort of thing can only happen on stage – no amount of thinking in the comfort of your own home can bring it about.

I also love travelling around with my tour manager Bertha. She has been by my side for 25 years. We have a laugh, or lapse into a nice, comfortable silence as the mood takes us. Bliss.

The Bolton News: Julian Clary (Picture: Andy Hollingworth)

The tour is set to have a Western theme. What inspired the theme for this tour and will you be going full method Western?

Placing myself in the macho world of the Western seems like a jolly wheeze. All those un-washed cowboys, spitting and swearing. Not to mention the clothes. There are rich pickings for a camp comic to plunder, I’m sure of it.

You’re well-known for your love of bringing unsuspecting audience members on to stage with you. How do you go about picking out the audience members that you think are going to be the most entertaining?

I’ll be creating a new Western drama called The Magnificent Seven Inches. For that I’ll need a posse. Sadly I don’t have one with me so I shall have to rely on the kindness of unsuspecting punters. Yes, I’ll be needing some male members.

I seem to have a psychic ability to pick the right people 99 per cent of the time. I need to look them in the eye and then I know. Heterosexual men are best fodder for my purposes. They are, after all, responsible for most of the troubles in this world and I see it as my duty to make them pay.

You’re also renowned for your fabulous costumes. Without revealing too much, what have you got up your sleeve for this tour?

I can’t give too much away but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I’ve always wanted to slip into a pair of chaps.

My costumes are designed by Hugh Durrant who creates all my panto extravaganza. If you’ve seen the London Palladium panto you’ll know that Hugh doesn’t go for subtlety. I’ve said too much.

On the tour, you’ll be returning to your ‘spiritual pantomime home’, having just headlined your eight consecutive run at the London Palladium. What does it mean to you to be so closely aligned with such an iconic venue and are you looking forward to your two nights there in May?

I can’t believe my luck! At this time of life I thought I might be doing the odd gig in a room above a pub somewhere provincial. The Palladium is a truly magical place. And two nights! I feel truly blessed. As soon as I walk through the stage door of the Palladium I feel overcome with happiness.

2023 saw you join the line-up of Channel 4’s Taskmaster, and you have said since that it was one of the most enjoyable television shows you’ve been on. How was that experience for you? Did you find yourself becoming more and more eager to impress Taskmaster Greg Davies as the series progressed?

Greg is an Alpha Male, so of course one wants to please him however possible. He’s like Big Brother, all seeing, all important. He might be the second coming, even. I love Taskmaster. It is so silly, so trivial, but I was swept along by it. Alex is funny, too, in a nerdy way.

You also made a surprise appearance on the Christmas Special of ITV’s The Masked Singer, which you had to keep incredibly secret. Did you enjoy the process of being undercover and surprising your fans?

The secrecy was half the fun. I can’t tell you – balaclavas, visors, hoodies, gloves even – every time you left your dressing room. Then for the performance being inside your costume is a strangely liberating experience.

I was most upset to be knocked out by Carol Vorderman dressed as a Reindeer. What a camp show!

The Bolton News: Julian Clary (Picture: Andy Hollingworth)

As well as your return to stand-up in 2024, what else do you have lined up for this year?

How long have you got? I’m still touring here and there with Jesus Christ Superstar, giving my Herod. I can’t get enough of the show and the talented cast. Very life-affirming.

My children’s books ‘The Bolds’ are being re-issued as a box-set, so I’ll be promoting that in Edinburgh and elsewhere. And at last I’ve managed to write another adult novel – ‘Curtain Call to Murder’, which comes out in October.

Then maybe panto again… I am multi-tasking, I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s a wonder I have time for this interview, frankly.

Julian Clary is at Lancaster Grand Theatre on Wednesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 2 and Manchester Opera House on Tuesday, May 7. Recommended for 16+