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John Clarke grew up in Palmerston North and received his secondary education at Scots College and Victoria University (both institutions being in Wellington, New Zealand). At university, Clarke studied English, philosophy, economics and law, and became involved in university revues. Following his studies Clarke worked for the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation before travelling to India, Greece and England.

Clarke has worked extensively as a humourist and satirist in New Zealand and Australia. His original character was 'Fred Dagg'. One hundred and fifty thousand 'Dagg' record albums were sold in New Zealand and, after his arrival in Australia, Clarke continued to use the character on ABC radio.

Clarke's radio contract was discontinued in 1981 but in the next few years he co-wrote and performed in ABC television series 'The Gillies Report' and 'The Fast Lane,' the movie 'Lonely Hearts' and the play 'A Royal Commission into the Australian Economy.'

In 1987 he was back on radio and in 1989 he began the weekly 'Great Interviews' series on Channel 9 television with colleague, Bryan Dawe. In 2000 they moved to the ABC's 7.30 Report. In 1998 and 2000 Clarke co-wrote and produced 'The Games', which featured Gina Riley, Bryan Dawe, Nicholas Bell and himself as organisers of the Olympics.

In addition to his work in the media, Clarke has published poetry, drama and The Tournament, a novel in which the modernist movement is arranged as a tennis championship.

The tongue-in-cheek 'biography' appearing in Clarke's Complete Book of Australian Verse includes the information that Clarke 'completed his Ph.D. at Leipzig in 1963. He was Professor of Comparative Relevance at Princeton until 1983, when he took up an appointment as Reader in Extremis at Melbourne University. Since 1988 he has alternated between the Dept. of Negative Gearing at the Bond University in Queensland ... and his research project in agrarian reform. He has several hobbies, about which he prefers not to give details.'

Further Reading: Professor Anne Pender's essay on John Clarke.

Most Referenced Works


  • In The Complete Book of Australian Verse each poem is written under a pseudonym (e.g. Rabbi Burns, Thomas the Tank Hardy).
  • Shared an AWGIE in 1985 with others for the television script 'The Gillies Report'.

Awards for Works

The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom 2007 single work musical theatre children's
2007 nominated Helpmann Awards for Performing Arts in Australia Best New Australian Work Nominated for the 2007 Windmill Performing Arts / Company B co-production.
form y separately published work icon The Brush-Off ( dir. Sam Neill ) Australia : Ruby Entertainment Huntaway Films Seven Network , 2004 Z1125639 2004 single work film/TV crime humour (taught in 3 units)

'When Agnelli is demoted to Minister of Arts and Water, he decides to earn brownie points by raising funds for the next election campaign. Murray is on the case, meeting with philanthropists and arts connoisseurs. This is where the trouble begins.'

Source: Screen Australia. (Sighted: 5/4/2013)

2005 nominated Logie Awards Most Outstanding Miniseries or Telemovie
2004 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Telefeature or Mini-Series
2004 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Screenplay in Television
form y separately published work icon The Man Who Sued God ( dir. Mark Joffe ) Australia : Australian Film Finance Corporation New South Wales Film and Television Office Showtime , 2003 13529032 2003 single work film/TV humour

'Billy Connolly plays Steve Myers, a lawyer who became a fisherman from frustration. When his one piece of property, his boat, is struck by lightning and destroyed he is denied insurance money because it was 'an act of God'. He re-registers as a lawyer and sues the insurance company and the church under the guise of God, defending himself. The accident leads him to a friendship and eventual relationship with a journalist, Anna Redmond (Davis).' (Source: IMDB)

2002 nominated Australian Film Institute Awards Best Original Screenplay
Last amended 10 Apr 2017 12:28:08
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