At the age of 8 CJ was cast as the lead in his school's musical production of Rooster Rag. His love of entertaining was born at that moment.
He 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, a terrible situation which lasted 3 years. Naturally his career ambitions had to be abandoned during this immensely distressing time. He first lived and slept rough in the so called Cardboard City of central London and endured 18 months on a staircase in Amsterdam central train station.
As German was the only foreign language he was fluent in, CJ decided to spend his last teenage weeks somewhere he could at least hold a conversation and found himself in Cologne. This proved prescient as on his very first weekend a chance meeting resulted in the offer of a modelling contract. A local agency signed him up and he remained in the city for 5 years. After leaving, he returned to Amsterdam and stayed long enough to become fluent in Dutch and fall in love with the city.
In 2000, feeling a little restless, CJ decided to apply to a few television game and quiz shows. His first contestant appearance was a mediocre showing on Pass the Buck but this was succeeded by a lucky win on Fifteen to One. Then came 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 freedom 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 has gone on to become a phenomenon with over 1200 shows, 2 spin off series and a sell out book and board game. After taking 2 years out to establish his acting career, CJ returned to the show and was given his own series, Revenge of the Egghead where his shirts and acid wit were allowed free rein!
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 homeless and HIV sectors. Human rights, equality and childcare are other areas of keen interest and he often combines these with his love of long distance running. In 2012 he ran solo from Brighton to London and in 2014 won the celebrity race at the London Marathon.
However, CJ's overwhelming desire remains acting. Several roles in London's west end, tours, musicals and films feature amongst his credits and 2015 is set to be a big year for him with further plays and national tours already lined up.
He happily admits to having been incredibly lucky over the last decade and is humbled by the wonderful opportunities he's been given. Irrespective of what direction his career takes him, he'll of course forever be associated with quizzing. He writes questions and hosts quizzes for television, charity and corporate events and still enjoys learning and being fascinated by new facts. Almost as much as he enjoys teaing other people with them.
CJ is looking forward to the challenges of the future. Welcome to his site and hopefully you'll find it enlightening, intriguing and enjoyable!