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 signs with Lush cosmetics!

...to make new podcast series

Campaigning comedian Mark Thomas is launching a new podcast  – with a series sponsored by cosmetics brand Lush.

He will be making a six-part documentary series Brit-ish, examining the state of the nation and how we got here.

Lush says the programmes will be developed into ‘signature presentations’ – though gave no idea what that guff phrase actually means.

The podcast will  go out on the company’s own online media channel, Lush Player, which already hosts an improvised comedy podcast called Sounds Right.

Lush – which prides itself on its ethical values – has also partnered with The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle director Julien Temple to make a documentary entitled Demand The Impossible,  about anarchist artist  Jamie Reid, who designed the cover for the Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks.

Matthew Shaw,  head of Lush’s media division, said: ‘We want to use the principles at the heart of Lush – equality, inclusion, respect for humans, animals and our planet – to create entertainment that reflects the age we live in and the world we now inhabit. 

‘This is just the beginning – we will continue to expand our network of like-minded creatives and collaborators as this element of the Lush business grows.’

Thomas next week embarks on the UK tour of his new show Check Up: Our NHS at 70, examining the state and the future of our health service. Dates

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Published: 1 Feb 2019

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