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 BBC1 TV presenter, a columnist for The Spectator, an award winning stand-up comedian, pilot and a best-selling author. He is an outstanding speaker and entertains his audiences with his magical delivery.
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Gary Bell QC grew up in Nottingham and left school just before his O’levels to work in the local pit. His father had walked out on the family and he needed to support his mum who was very ill.
He hated the pit so left and drifted though a number of jobs which included him being a fork lift truck driver, mechanic, bricklayer and fireman. From 1976 and 1978, he was also one of Nottingham Forest’s leading football hooligans. He got into trouble on a regular basis but managed to avoid conviction until he was sent to prison for six months for fraud in 1978. He had worked out a way to play fruit machines for free with a 10p piece attached to a length of fishing line. Only 12 days were actually spent in custody as the rest of his sentence was suspended.
Out of work and fed up he decided to travel and found himself 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 by this time critically ill. At the age of 21 Gary decided to sit his O’ levels and A’ levels whilst working as a fork lift driver for Asda in the evenings and at weekends and then took a year out to work in a McDonalds in Stuttgart and a camp site near Montpellier.
He then decided to read law at Bristol University. With a broad Nottinghamshire accent and what he thought was a snazzy look he quickly realised he didn’t fit in so he decided change was way he sounded and looked. By the beginning of the 2nd year he has metamorphosed into an Old Etonian, with a very middle class style and a carefully cultivated 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. (starting as a bup but then moving to corner post). Never happy doing one thing at a time he entered and won several national debating competitions including the English student debating championships at Oxford and came runner up in the world finals at Princeton.
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. Since settling into country life Gary has been a reader in his village Church, a Parish Councillor, he has learned to fly and became a stand up comedian winning several competitions which culminated in him being crowned the Midlands Comedian of the year 2006. He then started writing for The Guardian, The Big Issue and the Mail on Sunday and still has a regular column in The Spectator
He loved presenting the BBC1 series “The Legalizer,” a scam busting consumer affairs show which aired in 2013 and broke all records for the morning 9-3 slot. And finally he started writing books. His first book, “Toby and the Great Stink” was a children’s book and the sequel, “Toby and the Great Fire” is soon to follow. His autobiography, “Animal QC” became a best-seller and Gary hopes plans to take it to the big screen will materialise very soon.