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John Clarke

1948 – 2017

John Clarke (1948-2017), satirist and humourist, moved to Australia in the 1970s from New Zealand, where he had begun performing in university revues and was named Entertainer of the Year in 1976. Within a few years he had become well known here in the persona of laconic farmer Fred Dagg. Dagg’s monologues aired six days a week for three years on the ABC. In 1981-1982 Clarke published The Fred Dagg Scripts and Daggshead Revisited, which soon sold over 20 000 copies. In March 1982, the year he was nominated for an AFI award for co-writing the Paul Cox film Lonely Hearts, Clarke and the ABC fell out over suitable topics for satire, but in 1984 Clarke resurfaced on the ABC in The Gillies Report, in which he presented deadpan reports on the fictional sport of farnarkeling. In 1989, 1990 and 1993 he co-wrote three ‘Royal Commissions’ with Ross Campbell. From 1989 to 1997 he appeared regularly with Bryan Dawe on A Current Affair, and in 1998 he returned to ABC screens in a hilarious mocumentary about the Sydney Olympics, The Games. In 2003 he wrote the screenplay adaptation of the Shane Maloney novel Stiff; in 2004, he wrote and appeared in the adaptation of The Brush-Off by the same author. He recently wrote, presented and co-produced the documentary series Sporting Nation. His interviews with Bryan Dawe spanning 25 years have been released on CD, DVD and in book form; he has published many other humorous books.

Updated 2018