Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Date of birth: 11-04-1963

One of the few stand-ups still to carry the political standard of alternative comedy, Mark Thomas is essentially an observational comic – only his observations tend to revolve around the crusading anti-corporate, anti-greed investigations he undertakes.

He is best known for his campaigning Channel 4 series, in which he employed, Michael Moore-style, televisual stunts to get his message across. But his work also has a serious side: in one episode he got an Indonesian military chief to admit on camera that their government used torture.

Thomas has said his passion for politics was inherited from his father, a builder and lay preacher at Clapham's Nazarene Church, even if he didn’t inherit his Thatcherite beliefs.

He won a scholarship to Christ's Hospital public school, but he would frequently play truant, often to the theatre, before going on to study at Bretton Hall drama college in Wakefield.

There he began performing his own sketches and shows, doing benefit shows for the miners' strike while still a student. After college he worked for his father by day and did stand-up by night until he could turn pro.

In 1992, his Edinburgh show was nominated for the Perrier award – the same year the fizzy water brand was bought by Nestle, one of the corporations Thomas now campaigns against so vociferously.

Four years later, he launched his strident TV programme, which ran for seven years. To this day he continues to be involved in the political causes that so influence his comedy.

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© Jane Hobson

Mark Thomas offers his NHS show for free anyone who makes a donation to food banks

Mark Thomas is using one of his acclaimed stand-up shows as a virtual benefit gig  for food banks 

Fans who make any donation to the Trussell Trust – the charity which runs a network of 12 centres – will be able to download a copy of Check Up: Our NHS @ 70 for free.

The comic said: ‘You know the score. It’s always those with the least who need most help especially in times of crisis and food banks need support now.

‘So here’s a way of helping out. You make a donation to the Trussell Trust and you get to download my show Check Up: Our NHS@70 for free.

‘You can donate anything from a quid to a million and still download the show. This will run for a week, from the March 19 to 26.’

Already the show, which is available via indie DVD label Go Faster Stripe, has raised more than £1,000 for the charity. 

In it, the comic looks at the ailments he’s likely to get as he ages, and compares his condition to that of the NHS, based on interviews with health workers and leading experts.

Read our review here.

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Published: 20 Mar 2020

A good Mark

Mark Thomas is to be left out of pocket after the…

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