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Lionel Blair

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2003-09-10

Lionel Blair

Lionel Blair

Think of Lionel Blair and you’ll either think of his tap-dancing prowess or his long-running stint as team captain on the ‘celebrity charades’ show Give Us A Clue.

Born in Montreal, Canada, in 1934, he began his acting career in the early 50s, turned up in such films as A Hard Day’s Night in the 60s and became a panellist on talent show New Faces in the 70s – although it was Give Us A Clue that really made him a household name. But what became of the man of whom comedian and fellow Jew David Baddiel once said, “Lionel Blair – his trousers flare?”
 
Well, Blair has made something of a comeback in recent years, and if you watch daytime TV chances are you’ll have seen him rear his head somewhere. Notable appearances include such shows as This Morning,  Loose Women and five’s The Terry And Gaby Show (which he guest hosted for a week in July) – and he even faced the wrath of Anne Robinson in The Weakest Link Gameshow Hosts special.
 
Earlier this year, however, Blair took the great leap into soap territory, appearing as the wonderfully-named Valentine Starwood in the revamped version of Crossroads. The role proved to be short-lived as the show was axed over the summer – but Blair is still determined to be taken seriously as an actor. "I want to be accepted by the wider public, I don't want them to see me as just a singer and dancer. He’s also revealed the sort of roles he would love to play.

“I want to play villains, people do not expect that of me. I would love to play a Bond villain and I want to be the next Dr Who – I’d play the same way that my favourite Jon Pertwee did.”