Roger McGough

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Front cover of the 1983 revised edition of The Mersey Sound. Left to right: Brian Patten, Adrian Henri, Roger McGough.
Front cover of the 1983 revised edition of The Mersey Sound. Left to right: Brian Patten, Adrian Henri, Roger McGough.

Roger Joseph McGough OBE (born November 9, 1937) is a well-known English performance poet. He presents the BBC Radio 4 programme Poetry Please and records voice-overs for commercials, as well as performing his own poetry regularly. He is a Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University and a member of the Executive Council of the Poetry Society.


  • 1 Life and work
  • 2 Books
  • 3 See also
  • 4 External links

Life and work

McGough was born in Litherland in north Liverpool, a city with which he is firmly associated according to most people. He was educated at the University of Hull at a time when the chief librarian was Philip Larkin. Returning to Merseyside in the early 1960s, he met Mike McGear and John Gorman, both multi-talented entertainers; together they formed a comedy group called The Scaffold, reaching number one in the UK Singles Chart in 1968 with their version of "Lily The Pink". McGough also co-wrote many of their songs.

McGough was also responsible for much of the humorous dialogue in The Beatles' animated film, Yellow Submarine, although he did not receive an on-screen credit for it.

With Adrian Henri and Brian Patten, he published two best-selling volumes of verse entitled The Mersey Sound, and came to prominence as one of the "Liverpool poets" of the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1978, McGough appeared in All You Need Is Cash, a mockumentary detailing the career of a Beatles-like group called The Rutles; in McGough's scene, his introduction takes so long that he is only asked one question ('Did you know the Rutles?' to which McGough cheerfully responds 'Oh yes') before the documentary is forced to move along to other events.

One of McGough's more unusual compositions was created in 1981, when he co-wrote an "electronic poem" called Now Press Return with the programmer Richard Warner for inclusion with the Welcome Tape of the BBC Micro home computer. Now Press Return incorporated several novel themes, including user-defined elements to the poem, lines which changed their order (and meaning) every few seconds, and text which wrote itself in a spiral around the screen.

McGough won a Cholmondeley Award in 1999, and was awarded the CBE in June 2004. He holds an honorary MA from Nene College of Further Education, and was awarded an honorary degree from Roehampton University in 2006 as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Liverpool on July 3, 2006. He was Fellow of Poetry at the University of Loughborough (1973-5) and Honorary Professor at Thames Valley University (1993).

Most recently, he appeared on an episode of QI (Series 'D', episode 11).


  • Summer With Monika (1967) (in record form, 1978])
  • Out Of Sequence (1972)
  • Sporting Relations (1974)
  • Defying Gravity (1993)
  • The Way Things Are (1999)
  • Everyday Eclipses (2002)

See also

  • The Mersey Sound
  • Liverpool poets
  • The Beatles
  • Roger McGough's Summer with Monika - a review by Blooked October 2006
  • A weblink to a virtual copy of "Now Press Return".
  • Poem by McGough on the street in Sheffield
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