SAYLE, Alexei David  [b. 1952 ]

Alexei Sayle’s autobiography, Stalin Ate My Homework, is a delightfully warm, self-deprecating account of growing up in post-war Liverpool the son of ‘devout’ Communist parents. Reading it I lost count of the attitudes and mores of the Sayle household which were a mirror image of my own upbringing. Always supporting Russian and Eastern European sporting teams, being fanatically anti-racist, which meant supporting the West Indies at cricket, Brazil at football, and always watching the Harlem Globetrotters. Alexei recalls how when all his schoolmates were seeing the Beatles etc. his parents took him to the Empire Theatre to see the Red Army Choir. I too was in that audience.

He was born in Liverpool on 7th August 1952, the son of railway worker and active trade unionist Joseph Henry Sayle and his wife Malka (Molly) née Mendelson, who worked at Vernons Pools. She was of Lithuanian Jewish descent. The family home was in Anfield at 5 Valley Road L4, just around the corner from Liverpool Football Club. He attended Anfield Road Primary School and then Alsop Grammar School from which he was expelled half way through the sixth form.

He moved to London to attend the Chelsea College of Art and Design, and after replying to an advert in Private Eye he became the first master of ceremonies at the Comedy Store in 1979. He soon rose to prominence and made TV appearances in The Comic Strip, The Young Ones and Dr Who. He also had several comedy series of his own, Alexei Sayle’s Stuff [1988-91], The All New Alexei Sayle Show [1994-95] and Alexei Sayle’s Merry-G-Round [1998]. His film appearances have included Gorky Park [1983] Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [1989] and the excruciating Carry on Columbus [1992]. Besides two volumes of autobiography he has written five novels and two short story collections. 

He married Linda Rawsthorn in 1974 and now lives in Bloomsbury.

He has remained true to the left-wing principles of his youth and was a staunch supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party.

5 Valley Road L4

Alexei Sayle's childhood home near Liverpool F.C. 


The Wikipedia entry gives a good general overview. For his early years in Liverpool the first volume of his autobiography is essential and wonderfully entertaining - Stalin ate My Homework [Sceptre 2010]. The second volume is Thatcher Stole My Trousers [Bloomsbury 2016]. He talks about his early years on his appearance on Desert Island Discs which you can listen to on the BBC Website.