Stephen Dixon



I WAS born on the borders of Cheshire and Derbyshire, and after leaving school studied ceramic art in Manchester. After a bad car crash when I was 19 ended my studies, I turned to journalism, and after brief experience on weekly and provincial daily newspapers joined The Guardian in 1969. Though hired as a trainee production journalist, I quickly became a feature writer and critic, and it was during my seven years on the staff that I met these veterans of variety. I left the paper in 1976 but still contribute as a freelance writer, mostly obituaries of comedians and ex-variety performers.

I also worked in Manchester for The Daily Mirror and The News of the World, and was part of the launch team for The Daily Star. In 1980 I moved to Ireland for personal and professional reasons, and have lived in Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin, since the 1990s.

Variety Gift

Irish stand-up.

In Ireland I have been Arts Editor of The Sunday Tribune, Deputy Features Editor of The Irish Independent and Editor of RTE Guide (the Irish equivalent of Radio Times). I have freelanced as a book reviewer and feature writer for The Irish Times for many years and have also written for Rolling Stone, Penthouse and various film magazines.

With my wife Deirdre Falvey (also a journalist) I wrote what has been called the definitive book on modern Irish stand-up comedy, Gift of the Gag (BlackStaff, 1998), which contains interviews with Dylan Moran, Dara O Briain,  Graham Norton, the Father Ted creators and many others (including a last interview with the great Dave Allen), and was Consultant Contributor on comedy for The Encyclopaedia of Ireland (Gill and Macmillan, 2002). My work has also been anthologized in The Bedside Guardian and The Guardian Book of Obituaries.

I have also been a regular broadcaster on Irish radio, doing spots based around my collection of Variety and Novelty records, and writing and presenting my own series for RTE Lyric.

Here’s one of my RTE Radio shows, from 2006.

For the past 15 years I have mostly worked in my successful dual career as a porcelain sculptor under the name Stephen Dee (see

Variety WKandB

Wilson Keppel and Betty, by Stephen Dee, Dublin Theatre Festival, 1996.

Recent Feedback

Greg Butler


Thanks Stephen, Would be good to get your voice into the show – I can travel down and meet up with you when you’re on the mainland for an interview – my email is call (44) 01223872937



Hi Greg. Great idea – Sarony was a brilliant character and so multi-talented. I’m happy to help any way I can but I live in Dublin and in a couple of months I’ll be moving to the US for the best part of a year. I will be in the UK for three days from Oct 25th but in London and Winchester. If I can’t contribute directly, please feel free to use whatever you like from Voices of Variety – just give the site a mention. When you have a transmission date maybe you could let me know – I’m sure I can access Cambridge radio wherever I am. Best and hope all goes well – Stephen

Greg Butler


Hi Steven, we are about to put together a two hour radio show playing 78s and recalling the life and early career of Leslie Sarony, His 3 sons are all on board with the project as are a large number of 78s collectors and music hall enthusiasts – Is this a project that we could tempt you also to get involved with