X Factor-style rounds help Julian Clary narrow down choice to most suitable spouse

LOCK up your man – Julian Clary is out on the prowl and he’s not leaving town until he’s found luuurve.

Touring with hilarious new show Position Vacant, the grand dame of camp is currently scouring the land for a husband – and he vows to leave no straight unturned as he arrives at the (in this case aptly-named) Queen’s Hall on Saturday.

“The premise is a search for love, so I am auditioning men in the audience to be my husband,” says the softly-spoken star. “It turns out to be a bit of a riot.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“It’s like the X Factor auditions. I hoik eight or nine men up on stage – with either a cattle prod or a stun gun – and then go through a number of elimination rounds until I find the most suitable husband.

“Then we have a beautiful civil partnership before your very eyes on stage, with confetti and bridesmaids. It’s all very joyous, with a happy ending.”

While Clary admits it’s just a bit of fun – “passes the time” – Position Vacant actually stems from a period of angst in the comedian’s life when his long-term relationship looked like it could be coming to an end.

“My partner was working in Los Angeles and I decided that he probably wasn’t coming back,” explains the 53-year-old. “I thought that I was going to be single and looking for love again. So I guess the show, or at least the initial idea for it, was my idea for revenge. As it turns out, he did come back,” he adds, laughing again.

As such, Clary says Position Vacant is now “for showbusiness purposes only” – but what if he actually does fall in love?

“Well, I don’t know about that,” he says. “My world and persona on stage is one thing, but if you are seriously suggesting that will happen, well . . . I don’t know. I have a partner. So probably it is best to keep it all as fantasy.

“Anything could happen, though, so I suppose I am playing with fire.

“My partner hasn’t actually seen the show yet, but I am sure he’ll be amused.”

Having won Celebrity Big Brother this summer, Clary has acquired a whole new audience of young fans, just like he won a whole new audience of older fans after his stint on Strictly Come Dancing a few years ago.

“Life throws up unexpected things, such as Big Brother, and I dared myself to do it,” he says. “Because I won, I very quickly decided the whole experience was marvellous.

“Actually, though, it’s quite a tough thing to do. But am I glad I did the show? Yes, I am. Would I be saying that if I hadn’t won? No, probably not.”

Julian Clary, Position Vacant, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, Saturday, 8pm, £20, 0131-668 2019