http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Thomas wrote:Mark Clifford Thomas (born 11 April 1963) is a British comedian, presenter, political activist and reporter from south London. He first came to light as a guest comic on the BBC Radio 1 comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience in the late 1980s. He is best known for political stunts on his show, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product on Channel 4.
He studied Theatre Arts at Bretton Hall College, just south of Wakefield.
Prior to his most renowned vehicle, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product, Thomas was the resident stand-up comic on Saturday Zoo, a Channel 4 comedy series first screened in 1993. He also presented the highly successful BBC Radio 1 talk show Loose Talk and is also a founder member of the London Comedy Store's hard hitting Cutting Edge show.
His political comedy shows, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product and The Mark Thomas Product on Channel 4 earned him criticism from politicians but were seen by critics as a crucial investigative tool. In one edition, Thomas investigated the practice of avoiding inheritance tax by declaring art, furniture, homes and land available for public viewing. Thomas showed how Nicholas Soames hid this fact from the public and at the same time avoided paying tax. After being pursued relentlessly by Thomas legitimately asking for permission to see his furniture, Soames eventually paid the tax, and Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer changed the law.
Leaving Channel 4 was a mutual decision, following a series of disputes over how far the channel would go in its broadcasting, one of which concerned the channel's reluctance to support actions concerning corporate accountability and corporate manslaughter laws - a cause he had campaigned for - which coincided with the Queen Mother's funeral. He declined to take part in a proposed Celebrity Guantanamo Bay 'reality TV' show.
Thomas has appeared at numerous comedy benefit nights, and is a well established stand-up comedian in the UK. He is the Chairman of the Ilısu Dam Campaign, a campaign which was successful in temporarily blocking the development of a large-scale hydroelectric dam in southeast Turkey that campaigners claim will lead to the displacement of up to 78,000 people, mostly Kurds, without adequate compensation or consultation, as well as to environmental and cultural destruction.
Recently Thomas has been working with War On Want in India and investigating and filming human rights violations in Colombia (by, amongst others, Coca-Cola ) where trade unions are targeted by militia allegedly controlled by the government. He has written a regular column for the New Statesman since 2001.
Thomas is married with a son and daughter called Charlie and Izzy. He appeared on Have I Got News for You on 21 May 1993.
A recent picture shows Thomas perched sitting on the leg of a statue of comedian Eric Morecambe, apparently one of his comedy heroes.
The Parliamentary committee which oversees weapons exports, the House of Commons Quadripartite Select Committee, commended him for his undercover work, which led to official warning letters being issued to a number of companies. His work in this area is covered in As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela: Underground Adventures in the Arms and Torture Trade, a book chronicling his experiences undercover, his political activism and his projects designed to find and report loopholes in arms trading laws, which culminated in a controversial unbroadcast Newsnight article about the Hinduja brothers.
Whilst promoting this book on his latest tour, Thomas is also organising Mass Lone Demonstrations, in protest at a law that prevents any demonstrations around Parliament Square in London without prior police approval. The last event attracted over 100 lone protestors at the same time .
Is a keen collector of bakelite telephones.
I mention all that just in case no one has any idea who Mark is. And because I am one of the damned fools that works with the farty bastard. Thanks for linking to us, Lugh!