Having just returned from a late honeymoon in the Maldives, after completing a gruelling schedule which included stand-up tours in the UK and Australia, a West End panto and his own wedding, Julian Clary is hoping for a quieter year.
“When you’re really tired and can barely speak to each other, the Maldives is the place to go,” the softly-spoken comedian observes.
In November, Clary - master of the double entendre, winner of 2012 Celebrity Big Brother, and all-round popular funny man - married his long-term partner Ian Mackley, in a small, private ceremony at Camden Town Hall register office.
Now the happy couple are back at their home in Aldington, Kent - a 15th century manor house once owned by Noel Coward - and Clary, 57, is busy promoting The Bolds On Holiday, his third children’s book in The Bolds series, about the adventures of a family of laughing hyenas who live in suburban Teddington, disguised as humans.
While Clary has no children of his own, he has a brood of great-nieces and nephews to test his novels on.
“My nephews and nieces have all now had children. There are about six children around between one and eight, so there’s plenty of scope,” he says. “We’re quite a funny family. We all laugh a lot. They understand my humour.”
Did he ever want kids himself?
“Not really,” he muses. “I’ve thought about it. I had a little pang the other day when I saw that Madonna might be adopting two more children. I thought, we could do that. But I’m a bit old now.
“My husband is younger than me and he’s quite interested in the idea, but I think it’s just talk, really. I don’t think we are quite committed enough to do it.”
But they were committed enough to get married last year - a celebration that Clary posted to his 215,000 Twitter followers, with a picture of the happy couple dressed in formal suits with floral corsages, as Clary signed the register. He and Mackley have been together 11 years, and Clary said it was a mutual decision to tie the knot.
“Ten years ago, I don’t think we could have got married. I was always interested in marriage rather than a civil partnership, which didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t want a separate thing. If you think gay relationships are on a par with heterosexual relationships then we should have the same ceremony.’’
He wants to devote this year to writing two further Bolds books: he always imagined there’d be five in the series.
Clary, who’s also written a memoir and three adult novels, says his mind’s in a different place when he’s writing children’s books, compared with performing live comedy.
“I’m not trying to squeeze innuendos and graphic sexual references into it. I like the innocence of it,” he explains.
After two punishing stand-up tours last year with The Joy Of Mincing, he’ll give himself some time off from live performing, he says.
However, it’s important he keeps performing.
“It’s imperative,” Clary admits. “It’s what I started out doing and there’s something very addictive about making people laugh. I can do that in the privacy of my own home, but there’s something about getting out there, the creative process of touring and things evolving and occurring to you in the moment. I like all that.”
l The Bolds On Holiday by Julian Clary, illustrated by David Roberts, is published by Andersen Press, priced £10.99 in hardback.