Richard Coles: who is priest, when was he in The Communards?

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A Channel 4 documentary follows Reverend Richard Coles, a gay Church of England priest who lost his husband David Coles in 2019

Richard Coles is the focus of a new one-off Channel 4 documentary that explores the process of grieving and different ways to overcome the death of a loved one.

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Married to his husband for almost a decade, Coles has faced prejudice from bigoted people in the public and church for his involvement in gay marriage.

Rev. Richard Coles

Coles first rose to fame as one half of famed pop band The Communards and will also be recognized for his appearances on several TV panel shows.

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Who is Reverend Richard Coles, what is he famous for and who was his partner? Here’s everything you need to know:

Who is Richard Coles?

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Reverend Richard Coles, 60, is a Church of England priest, author and radio presenter.

Prior to entering the priesthood, Coles was a multi-instrumentalist in synth-pop band The Communards alongside Jimmy Sommerville.

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The band is known for their covers of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and “Never Can Say Goodbye”.

Her songs Victims and For a Friend pay homage to those who live and died with HIV and AIDS.

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The Communards split in 1988 and from 1991 to 1994 Coles studied theology at King’s College London.

Coles was ordained in 2005 and has been a priest ever since – he was parish priest of Finedon from 2011 to 2022.

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He was also a radio presenter, presenting Nightwaves on BBC Radio 3 and Newsnight Review on BBC Radio 2.

Richard Coles and Charlotte Hawkins on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017

Coles has also made multiple appearances on panel shows and celebrity competition programs including Celebrity MasterChef, Strictly Come Dancing, Would I Lie To You? and QI.

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Coles is a gay man and struggled with mental health issues after coming out, which led to him developing depression and attempting suicide.

He was in a celibate relationship with his partner David Coles, with whom he entered into a civil partnership in 2010, until David’s death in 2019.

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Who was Richard Coles’ partner?

Richard Coles began dating David Oldham in 2007 and the two lived together for more than a decade.

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They entered into a civil partnership five years after the Church of England allowed them to meet gay men, though the couple remained celibate.

David was also a pastor and a former ER nurse – he was married to Richard for nine years before he died in December 2019.

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David had battled alcoholism his entire life and suffered from alcoholic liver disease for years before the disease killed him.

After David’s death, Richard said, “Alcohol caused my early widowhood.”

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In the months following David’s death, Richard received hate mail telling him that his husband was in hell because he was a gay man.

What is “Good Luck” about?

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Good Grief follows Richard Coles as he discusses his experience of grieving after the death of his partner.

Coles engages in unconventional activities known to have helped others overcome his grief.

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When is Good Grief on TV?

Good Grief with Reverend Richard Coles airs Monday 8 August at 10pm on Channel 4.

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The documentary will be available on All 4 shortly after it first airs.

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