Gary Bell QC is one of England’s leading criminal barristers and the only one to have been to prison for fraud. His back catalogue also includes being a football hooligan, a BBC TV presenter, a columnist for The Spectator, an award winning stand-up comedian, pilot and a best-selling author of Animal QC. He is an outstanding after dinner speaker entertaining his audiences with his magical delivery.
TalentsAuthor, Expert, Presenter, Speaker
More about Gary Bell QC
The son of a coal miner Gary was born in Nottingham in 1959. He was in his last year at school when his father abandoned the family and his mother became ill so he left school without sitting any exams and, following his family tradition, he went down the pit. He soon moved on and did a plethora of jobs including fork lift truck driver, mechanic, bricklayer and fireman. For two years, between 1976 and 1978, he was one of Nottingham Forest’s leading football hooligans. Charged with a number of offences but never convicted until in 1978 he was sent to prison for six months (for fraud, not violence). He had worked out a way to play fruit machines for free with a 10p piece attached to a length of fishing line. He only spent twelve days in custody and the rest of his sentence was suspended. He then joined the massed ranks of the homeless living on the streets of Paris and London, before hitch-hiking to the south of France to seek fame and fortune. He spent two years in Europe, mostly in Cannes and Monaco, working on yachts, before returning to Nottingham to spend time with his mother who was critically ill.
At the age of 21 Gary decided to go back into education, sitting his O’ levels and he sat his A’ levels aged twenty three. In the evenings and at weekends he drove a fork lift truck at Asda. He then took a year out which her split equally between working in a McDonalds in Stuttgart and a camp site near Montpellier. He then decided the next step was to read law at Bristol University. He arrived with a very broad northern accent, white socks, Dunlop green flash, tight jeans (with a comb in the back pocket), a lumberjack shirt, short hair and a moustache. He didn’t fit in so decided to metamorphose. At the beginning of his second year he returned as an Old Etonian, with Church’s brogues, Burlington argyle socks, green cords, a stripy shirt, floppy hair, a shaven top lip and a carefully cultivated RP accent. He tested out his new image by going “back” to Eton to play for the OE’s versus the school field at the field game. (he started as bup but then moved to corner post).
Whilst at Bristol Gary won several national debating competitions including the English student debating championships at Oxford and came runner up in the world finals at Princeton (he claims he was robbed). On the strength of this he was selected by the English Speaking Union for a three month ambassadorial debating tour of America and whilst he was debating at the UCLA he was head hunted by a law firm from Beverly Hills, and spent a year with them as a business litigation lawyer. Gary returned to England in 1989, joined the Inner Temple and was called to the bar. He has now been a barrister for twenty three years and specialises in murder and complex fraud. He was appointed a QC in 2012.
He married in 1992, to Sophia FitzHugh and their first son Harry was born a year later. Their second child, Toby, was born in 1995 and they moved out of London to live in the Midlands, where their third child, Emily, was born in 1999. Gary settled down to country life with great enthusiasm becoming a reader in his village Church and was elected onto the Parish Council (where he served for 20 years). That said Gary insists he was still seemingly living through a perennial mid-life crisis and so decided to learn to fly a plane obtaining his pilot’s license in 2005. He then decided to try his hand as a stand-up comedian. It went very well and won several competitions, including being crowned the Midlands Comedian of the year 2006. And then the BBC approached him to present a show on BBC1 called “The Legalizer,” a scam busting consumer affairs show. It was aired in 2013 and broke all records for the morning 9-3 slot. He is currently negotiating with Channel 5 to present a new show.
He then turned to writing, initially journalism, writing for The Guardian, The Big Issue and the Mail on Sunday. He also has a regular column in The Spectator. And finally he started writing books. His first book, “Toby and the Great Stink” was a children’s book. The sequel, “Toby and the Great Fire” is soon to be published. I also published an autobiography, “Animal QC” which became a best-seller and is to be turned into a film/TV series.
TV & Radio
The Legalizer (BBC 1)
Toby and the Great Stink
Toby and the Great Fire