Richard Coles

Richard Coles - ©

born on 26/3/1962 in Northampton, England, United Kingdom

Richard Coles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Richard Coles (born 26 March 1962[1]) is a musician, journalist and Church of England priest. He is known for having been the multi-instrumentalist who partnered Jimmy Somerville in the 1980s band The Communards, who achieved three Top Ten hits, including the Number 1 record and best-selling single of 1986, a Hi-NRG version of "Don't Leave Me This Way". He also appears frequently on radio and television as well as in newspapers. In March 2011 he became the regular host of BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live.[2]

Early life

Coles was born in Northampton, England and educated at Wellingborough School (where he was a choirboy)[3] and King's College London where he studied theology from 1990.[3]

Musical career

Coles had learned to play the saxophone, clarinet and keyboards and moved to London in 1980 where he played in theatre.[3] In 1983 he appeared with Jimmy Somerville in the Lesbian and Gay Youth Video Project film Framed Youth: Revenge of The Teenage Perverts,[4] which won the Grierson Awards.[5] Coles also played clarinet on "It Ain't Necessarily So", which was a hit single in 1984 for Bronski Beat.

In 1984 Somerville left Bronski Beat and he and Coles formed The Communards,[3] who were together for just over three years and had three UK Top 10 hits, including the biggest-selling single of 1986 with a version of "Don't Leave Me This Way", which was at Number 1 for four weeks. They split in 1988 and Somerville went solo.

Post-pop and church career

Coles provided narration for The Style Council's film JerUSAlem in 1994.[6] and also started a career as a writer and journalist, most notably with the Times Literary Supplement and the Catholic Herald. He has stated of this period in his life that "I went on all the right marches, went to all the right clubs, read Marxism Today and the New Statesman."[7] After a successful career in the media, Coles came to the Christian faith after attending his first AIDS funeral of a close friend.[7] From 1991 to 1994 Coles read for a BA in theology at King's College London. He was selected for training for priesthood in the Church of England and entered his training at the monastic College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, in 2003[8] before being ordained in 2005.[3]

Of the career transition, Coles has said

After ordination Coles worked as curate at St Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire,[9] and subsequently at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, in London with his dachshund, Daisy as his "faithful assistant".[1] He has been chaplain of the Royal Academy of Music[3][10] and has also played Dr Frank N Furter in a local concert and conducted an atheist funeral for Mo Mowlam in 2006.[11]

Coles was an inspiration for the character of Adam Smallbone (played by Tom Hollander) in the 2010 BBC Two sitcom "Rev.".[12]

In January 2011 Coles was appointed as the parish priest of St Mary the Virgin, Finedon in the Diocese of Peterborough.[13]

Coles is openly gay[14] and lives with his partner in a celibate relationship, in respect for the current rules within the Church of England. Commenting on the current Church of England policy on same-sex relationships for clergy, Coles told The Daily Telegraph, Its not as I would have it, but then its not about me.[14]


Coles still does broadcasting work, which he describes as "just showing off",[15] including Nightwaves on BBC Radio 3 which he formerly presented, and Newsnight Review on BBC Two. On 15 May 2008 he was on the BBC Radio 4 panel game show Heresy and he has twice appeared as a guest on the topical BBC Television news quiz Have I Got News for You, first in 1994 and then in May 2009. Coles presented a special edition of Songs of Praise on 10 January 2010.[1] He was a guest on the BBC Radio 4 comedy Heresy in May 2010[16] and a Children in Need special of the BBC Four quiz Only Connect in November of the same year. Having regularly guest-hosted the Radio 4 programme Saturday Live, while regular host Fi Glover was on maternity leave from 2008 to 2009, Coles replaced Glover permanently in 2011.

On 1 September 2011, he presented a short piece on his home town and parish of Finedon for the Radio 4 programme You and Yours.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Richard Coles, My week: Richard Coles, 2009-12-06. URL accessed on 2010-06-17.
  2. Changes to BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live. Retrieved on 2011-03-18.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Newsnight Review - Richard Coles,, 2008-03-06. URL accessed on 2010-06-17.
  4. JIMMY SOMERVILLE - Biography. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
  5. BFI. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
  6. Reverend Richard Coles - JLA. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Richard Coles, Real Life: In the end, a certain grace: Richard Coles, a pop musician, decided that he could be a Christian, despite its 'untrendiness'. Then a friend's death tested his faith, 6 March 1994. URL accessed on 2010-06-17.
  8. Church Times - More Petertide ordinations. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
  9. BBC - Lincolnshire - Faith - Christmas for Richard. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
  10. Richard Coles on the best musical motifs of all time,, 2008-07-22. URL accessed on 2010-06-17.
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Times
  12. More BBC vicar? Popstar Reverend Richard Coles inspires sitcom, 28 Jun 2010.
  13. Rev. Alan Gyle (11 Jan 2011). Fr Richard to move to New Parish.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Craig, Olga, Rev Richard Coles: from pop star to pulpit, The Daily Telegraph, 3 April 2011.
  15. Stanford, Peter, Revved up: Richard Coles, a very modern vicar - Profiles, People - The Independent,, 2010-01-10. URL accessed on 2010-06-17.
  16. BBC Radio 4: Heresy. Retrieved on 2010-09-05.
This page was last modified 29.10.2011 09:37:18

This article uses material from the article Richard Coles from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.