Marcus Brigstocke

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Marcus Brigstocke
Marcus Brigstocke 03.JPG
Marcus Brigstocke at Glastonbury Festival 2015
Birth name Marcus Alexander Brigstocke
Born (1973-05-08) 8 May 1973 (age 45)
Guildford, Surrey, England[1]
Medium Television, Radio, Stand up
Nationality British
Genres Satire
Subject(s) Politics
Spouse Sophie Prideaux
(m. 2001; div. 2013)
Notable works and roles Argumental
The Now Show

Marcus Alexander Brigstocke (born 8 May 1973) is an English comedian, actor and satirist who also holds French citizenship. He has worked extensively in stand-up comedy, television, radio and in 2010-2011 musical theatre.

He is particularly associated with the 6.30pm comedy slot on BBC Radio 4, having frequently appeared on several of its shows, including The Now Show.

Early life[edit]

The son of a stockbroker[2] and a schoolteacher mother, Brigstocke was educated at several independent schools: St. Edmunds School in the village of Hindhead in Surrey,[3] at Westbourne House School[citation needed] in the cathedral city of Chichester in West Sussex, and at King's School in the town of Bruton in Somerset. He also attended Netherton Hall School,[citation needed] a boarding school in Farway, Devon. He then attended the University of Bristol,[3] where he studied Drama, but did not complete his degree.[4]

He moved to London with his then girlfriend, later wife, during the early 1990s. Brigstocke worked part-time as a podium dancer at the nightclub Ministry of Sound. He also worked on a North Sea oil rig around this time.[3][5][6]

Comedy career[edit]

Many of the central themes of Brigstocke's work were first addressed during his time as a student at the University of Bristol. While at Bristol he often performed in the comedy trio Club Seals, which later made the transition to television in the series of short programmes We Are History (2000-2001).

Brigstocke has a successful radio career including The Now Show (1998-, with Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis) and Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off (2002-2011). The Now Show provided an outlet for his fierce dislike of David Blaine, referring to Blaine himself as a "Git Wizard", and his "Above The Below" stunt as Freakdangle. Brigstocke hailed the failure of Blaine's "Drowned Alive" as proof that Blaine is "not special; not magic; just a moistened git". Brigstocke increasingly enjoyed mainstream success, appearing on such broadly popular television shows such as Have I Got News for You (1990-) and Jack Dee's Live at the Apollo series (2004-).

Brigstocke plays an arts journalist named Marcus in the Neil Gaiman film A Short Film About John Bolton (2003) and a radio DJ in the Richard Curtis film Love Actually (2003). On 9 April 2006, Brigstocke appeared as Bertie Wooster in BBC Radio 4's Classic Serial adaptation of The Code of the Woosters (1938), with Andrew Sachs as Jeeves.

Brigstocke hosts a satirical programme on BBC4, The Late Edition (2005-2008), which has been described as "Newsnight with jokes".[7] It is loosely based on the format made popular by the American programme The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This commitment led to his absence from the final two Now Show series of 2006 with his place filled by other comedians, referred to by the rest of the cast as "our replacement Marcus Brigstocke". He did however return to series in 2007.

Brigstocke's first stand up comedy DVD, Planet Corduroy, was released in November 2007. It was produced by Phoenix Film & Television Productions, and executive producer Matthew Willetts .

In April 2008, Brigstocke and fellow comedian and snowboarder, Andrew Maxwell founded the Altitude Festival - a comedy and music festival in the ski resort of Meribel, in the French Alps.

In September 2008, Brigstocke was team captain for the first series of a comedy panel show, Argumental (2008-2012), for British television channel Dave. He served as the Captain of the Red Team, competing against Rufus Hound with a variety of guest participants, under the chairmanship of John Sergeant.[8]

In 2009, Brigstocke starred in the British tour of the American live improvisation show, Totally Looped.[9]

Brigstocke's second stand-up show God Collar toured in 2009. In June 2010, He announced that he had signed a publishing deal with Transworld to turn the God Collar Tour into a book.[10]

He has also worked for television shows aimed at children for CBBC: Stupid! (2004-2007) and Sorry I've Got No Head (2008-2011).

The Red[edit]

In September 2017, BBC Radio 4 broadcast his first serious drama, The Red [11] , drawing on his own experience of recovery. Produced by Caroline Raphael for Pier Productions, it won the Best Single Drama award in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2018.[12]

Pac-Man joke[edit]

One of the best-known jokes Brigstocke uses is an ironic commentary on the controversy regarding the influence of video games on children.

If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.

This joke is frequently quoted on the internet, and often attributed to famous figures in electronics (such as an apocryphal CEO of Nintendo, "Kristian Wilson," although Hiroshi Yamauchi held that position from 1949 to 2002). Brigstocke vehemently claims authorship of the joke:

Ah! Bloody Pacman....It is my joke. I wrote it, then I took the rest of the day off as I was so chuffed with it. I am gutted that it has been claimed and passed around by so many people. Intellectual property law will not save me, the false claims will continue until I am man enough to give it all up. All I can say is -- it seems that it is very unlikely that it was written by a Nintendo employee in 1989, being as Pac Man was still around and not much of a childhood memory, there were very few claims that gaming influenced children's behaviour, and that the wording of it is identical to how it has been delivered in my stand up routine for 6 years! For those that are interested it has also been attributed to Bill Gates, but then so has Windows! Bitter? Well perhaps just a little. It was sent to me by someone at Channel 4 a few years back after I did it on Channel 4 in a late night stand up show! Hope that clears everything up.

— Marcus Brigstocke[13]

Excuse My French[edit]

Brigstocke took part in the BBC programme Excuse My French (2006) with Ron Atkinson and Esther Rantzen. The programme was broadcast on BBC Two. They were immersed in the French language by staying in a French town in the Provence region, being compelled to adapt to the French lifestyle and speak the language.

Brigstocke's ultimate assignment was to perform a live stand-up comedy act in French to a French audience, a task at which he excelled. According to the programme, he continues to learn French, and has since performed more stand-up in France (predominantly in English, but with sections in French).

Selected radio credits[edit]

Selected television credits[edit]

Selected film credits[edit]



In 2010, Brigstocke made his musical theatre debut as King Arthur in the British tour of Spamalot for a limited engagement. He then starred in The Railway Children as Albert Perks at the Waterloo Station Theatre in 2011.[14] He appeared in the role of Ali Hakim at two semi-staged concert performances of Oklahoma! at the Proms with the John Wilson Orchestra on 11 August 2017.

In late 2017 Brigstocke played the title role in a revival of Barnum at the Menier Chocolate Factory. For this, he acquired specialist circus skills including magic and walking a tightrope. He chronicled his motivation and progress in an article for The Guardian.[15]

"I Don't Smoke"[edit]

In 2000, a sample of a comedy sketch performed by Brigstocke, Dan Tetsell and Danny Robins in the sketch show Barking as part of a Bristol University revue in which an individual assuredly proclaims that he is a non-smoker was featured in DJ Dee Kline's "I Don't Smoke", alongside another line in the style of Jim Davidson's character 'Chalky White'.

The sample was used without the knowledge of the comedians until the voice of Brigstocke was recognised by Tetsell, who heard the track while shopping, resulting in the trio successfully claiming publishing rights for the track, which entered the UK charts at number 11.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Brigstocke has two children, Alfie and Emily. He was divorced by their mother following an affair with Hayley Tamaddon, with whom he co-starred in the musical Spamalot in 2010.[17]

Brigstocke enjoys snowboarding – he has set up a stand-up tour in the Alps and a comedy festival called The Altitude Festival.[18] He has performed in beatboxing battles on stage with Shlomo and Bellatrix.[19]

During an episode of The Late Edition in October 2007, Brigstocke noted that he was an atheist and was presented with an Out Campaign T-shirt by his guest and atheist Richard Dawkins to which Brigstocke replied: "Look at that. Outed, outed as an atheist and proud to be so."[20]

During an appearance on The One Show in July 2009, Brigstocke reflected that "a lot of people have signed up to the Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens thing", and on being an atheist, that "I was, I probably still am, but I'm not so sure now. It can be a sort of weird and quite a cold experience, actually, if you don't then develop something to believe in."[21]

Brigstocke endorsed Caroline Lucas and the Green Party in their successful campaign for the seat of Brighton Pavilion in the 2010 General Election.[22]


  1. ^ Nevin, Charles (19 November 2005). "When you're smiling". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Oglethorpe, Tim (21 April 2001). "Interview: Marcus Brigstocke - Savage past of Marcus; Marcus Brigstocke of The Savages on his misspent youth and how he got back on the straight and narrow". The Express (London, England). MGN Ltd. (archive)
  4. ^ "Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled". Who Do You Think You Are?. 9 August 2014. Dave. 
  5. ^ Brew, Simon (23 March 2009). "Marcus Brigstocke interview".
  6. ^ "Would I Lie to You?". BBC TV. 24 August 2009.
  7. ^ "Four - The Late Edition". BBC. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  8. ^ "UKTV autumn '08: Dave". 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  9. ^ "Totally Looped". Totally Looped. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  10. ^ "Marcus Brigstocke Official Twitter Page". Twitter. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  11. ^ "BBC Radio Drama". 2017-09-05. Retrieved 2018-04-25. 
  12. ^ "BBC Audio Drama Awards". 2018-01-28. Retrieved 2018-04-25. 
  13. ^ "Official Site for the stand-up comic, writer, presenter & actor". Marcus Brigstocke. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  14. ^ Paddock, Terri (29 March 2010). "Spamalot Crowns Brigstocke, Nicholas' Pirate King". What's On Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "Marcus Brigstocke: my bruising bid to become PT Barnum, the greatest showman on earth", The Guardian Theatre section, 8 November 2017. Accessed 14 February 2018
  16. ^ Topham, Gwyn (2 June 2000). "Comic trio enjoy financial rewards of a sample life". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "The Times, London". 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2017-11-27. 
  18. ^ "Official Site for the stand-up comic, writer, presenter & actor". Marcus Brigstocke. Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2009. 
  19. ^ "Shlomo’s Glasto diary 09 – Part 4 – Marcus Brigstocke vs Bellatrix beatbox battle". Shlomo Beatboxing Adventures blog. 21 September 2009.
  20. ^ "excerpt on youtube". Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  21. ^ The One Show. BBC. 2009-07-27.
  22. ^ "Marcus Brigstocke supports the Greens and Caroline Lucas". Yorkshire and Humber Green Party. 2010-03-31. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 

External links[edit]