Episode #3 of new podcast is now up.

It’s Good to talk

Coronavirus has made conversation complicated. It also means there are lots of difficult things that need to be said. In the third episode of his lockdown podcast, Mark Thomas talks to health workers about communication. Mark’s mum, meanwhile, cheerfully contemplates her own demise.

Hosted by Mark Thomas, sound by Helen Atkinson, produced by Nicolas Kent, produced by Susan McNicholas and photography by Franklyn Rodgers 13 August 2020


Latest podcast is up – Episode #2

COVID-19 has left us all feeling exposed, Mark Thomas and his mum Margaret included. In the second episode of his coronavirus podcast, Mark calls front-line health and care workers to chat about PPE, vulnerability and the urge to protect. His mum, meanwhile, shares a novel use for gin.

Download Episode #2 – https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/XyL-NxAAACAADrLk

Mark Thomas’s Lockdown Check-up’ is a six-part podcast commissioned by Wellcome Collection. New episodes are published every Thursday.

The podcast is written and presented by Mark Thomas, the sound editor is Helen Atkinson, and the producers are Nicolas Kent and Susan McNicholas. Photography by Franklyn Rodgers.

Photo by Franklyn Rodgers for Wellcome Collection.

Mark Thomas’s Lockdown Check-up – Episode #1

Comedian and activist Mark Thomas has moved back in with his mum for the duration of the pandemic. He’s 57 and she’s 85. He says she’s curmudgeonly; she says he’s the most aggravating person on the planet. In this six-part podcast, he reflects on their lockdown life together while investigating the wider impact of COVID-19.

Every night, Mark calls health and care workers across the country for a chat. Humbling and often heartbreaking, these conversations reveal what life is like on the coronavirus front line.

Episode #1 is out now – https://wellcomecollection.org/series/XwROKRQAAGwR-YMk

Photo by Franklyn Rodgers for Wellcome Collection

Mark Thomas’s Lockdown Check-up

“Stop press!” is a fantastically out of date expression and I suppose the modern equivalent is “Don’t press send!” However…

Stop press!

New podcast starts on Thursday 30th July! Mark Thomas’s Lockdown Check-up.

I have spent lockdown in isolation with my 85 year old mother who is a wonderfully cantankerous bloody minded great grandmother, who I am sure has been the muse for more than one Roald Dahl character. 
Throughout this time I have retreated into the guest room (the cell) to record conversations with health and care workers about their lives and experiences working in the pandemic. The results are candid, funny, tender and raw.

Weaving between my experience with my mum and the testimony from health workers I attempt to follow the hopes, fears and frustrations during this f*cking mad time.

The podcasts are commissioned by Wellcome Collection and are published weekly from 30th July at 10am.

This is where to find each episode https://wellcomecollection.org/stories
Also check out their website, it is worth a meander! 


You may remember a show I did called Gambling on the Future…

In which each audience forecast the future, a vote was held on which forecast was most likely to happen, we passed the bucket around and then put that money on a bet for that forecast.

Well the results are in and I have to tell you we lost loads of money. Some bets were wildly wishful (Trump to convert to Islam) some were wilfully obscure (The word omelette to become a verb). However a number of audiences predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would still be leader of the Labour Party. So the balance ended up £3923 in credit.

At the time I suggested we should give any profits to the Alliance for Choice campaigning for abortion rights in Northern Ireland/The North, but they don’t seem to need our help, so hurrah! This leaves me with the question of what to do with the money?

Here’s the plan: The Chagos Islands are a series of islands under British colonial rule and when Mauritius became independent the UK kept the islands. The UK then kindly gave the USA use of the largest islands Diego Garcia to turn it into a military base and then expelled some 2,000 Chagosians from their home. This took place between 1968-73 so this is not some cutlas wielding empire of the past, it is now.

The UK has been ordered by various courts to hand back the islands to the islanders and allow them to return home. The UK has ignored this. 
However, a group of Chagosians living in the UK have formed a national football team, which is rather wonderful. They play in CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations. This is from the CONIFA website, CONIFA “is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA.” The teams that play in the league include Palestinians, Kurds, Tibetans and the Western Saharwis, simply seen it is a league for stateless teams.

Chagos are playing in the CONIFA World Cup in June but they are short of a few bob for their football kit and they need £5000. So I have given them the winnings. The £3923 has gone to the Chagosian Football Association for their kit. We need to raise the remainder of the money, some £1077 , so I have with permission of the CFA created badges to support them. All profits go to them and we need to raise this before the year ends. 
I will be selling them on tour but you can show support for the team by buying a badge online.

I will keep you informed of any CFA fixtures.

As always lots of love Mark x

*CONIFA website describes themselves as “a global acting non-profit organisation that supports representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.”