At the age of 8 CJ was chosen as the lead in his school's musical production of Rooster Rag. That's when his love of entertaining was born.
He soon became an active member of the Crucible and National Youth Theatres and appeared in many productions with both. Courses at school and college confirmed acting as the path he wanted his life to take and all his extra curricular studies were geared towards this.
However, just after his 17th birthday, CJ was suddenly forced to become homeless and began 3 years of sleeping rough. Naturally his career ambitions had to be abandoned during this difficult and distressing time.
After living in train stations in London and Amsterdam, CJ found himself in Cologne. As German was the only foreign language he could speak, he decided to spend his last teenage weeks somewhere he could at least converse fluently. This proved prescient as on his very first weekend a chance meeting resulted in a totally unexpected offer of a modelling contract. The local agency took him on and he remained in the city for 5 years. After taking this job as far as he thought he could, a further 18 months in Amsterdam beckoned. This was sufficient time to become fluent in Dutch too (and fall in love with the city!) before returning to the UK.
In 2000, after feeling a little restless, CJ decided to apply to a few television game and quiz shows as a contestant. His first appearance on Pass the Buck was spectacularly short of mediocrity but his next was a lucky win on Fifteen to One. This was followed by what he thought would be his last show, The Weakest Link. Despite consistently being the strongest player he was the third voted off and launched into his now infamous rant in his post game interview. This immediately attracted national attention and the programme asked him back for a Bad Losers' Special which he won. A further 12 programmes across the channels invited him to take part giving him free rein to exercise his general knowledge and, as one executive tactfully described it, his 'refreshing forthrightness of opinion'.
In the first week of 2003 CJ received a phone call about a new concept quiz show called Eggheads. Intrigued by the idea of 5 quiz champions competing against different daily challengers, he went along to the read through and happily agreed to take part. However, realising that only a tiny percentage of shows even reach the pilot stage, never mind the rarified heights of commissioning, he expected nothing further would develop. He was a little more than stunned by a second call in July advising him that not only had the new show been accepted, filming actually started in 3 weeks and he'd better get learning!
Eggheads went on to become a phenomenon with over 1100 shows, 2 spin off series and a sell out book and board game. Despite enjoying himself immensely for 8 years and being so grateful for the opportunities he had undeservedly been presented, all good things must come to an end and in December 2011, CJ announced he had left the show to pursue his acting career.
Such a long running and highly successful programme gave CJ a popular public profile and he naturally wanted to expand his horizons and explore other fields of interest to him. One of his passions is charity work, especially in the HIV sector where he's worked for over 20 years. HUman rights, equality and childcare are other areas of keen interest and he often combines these with his love of long distance running (in November 2012, he ran solo from Brighton to London) to fundraise by entering marathons and endurance events.
However, CJ's overwhelming desire remained acting. Roles in films, plays and musicals have reignited his fire and he knows this is completely where he wants to be. 2013 will bring challenges such as the lead in a feature film for cinema release, roles in London's West End and even producing a musical!
He happily admits to having been incredibly lucky over the last decade and is humbled by the wonderful opportunities he's been given. Acting has now become the major part of his professional life but he'll of course be associated with, and in demand for, quizzing for quite some time yet. He writes questions and hosts quizzes for television, charity and corporate events and still enjoys learning and being fascinated by new facts.
CJ is looking forward to the challenges of the future. Welcome to his site and hopefully you'll find it enlightening, intriguing and enjoyable!