Tom Basden

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Tom Basden
Thomas William Basden[1]

1980 (age 39–40)
Sutton, Greater London, England
OccupationActor, comedian, writer

Thomas William Basden (born 1980) is an English actor and comedy writer, and a member of the British four-man sketch group Cowards. He has written and performed extensively for comedy shows on the BBC and Channel 4 and often collaborates in two-man shows with fellow Cowards member Tim Key.


Basden was born in Sutton, Greater London. He was educated at King's College School, an independent school for boys in Wimbledon in South West London where he was in the same year as fellow actors Khalid Abdalla and Ben Barnes, followed by Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was vice president of the Cambridge Footlights and his contemporaries included Stefan Golaszewski, Sarah Solemani, Tim Key (who pretended to be studying for a Ph.D at Cambridge to be part of a Footlights production) and Dan Stevens.[2]


Comedy and Television[edit]

Basden's one man show at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Tom Basden Won't Say Anything won the if.comedy award for Best Newcomer.[3] He also starred with Tim Key in the 2007 short film The One and Only Herb McGwyer Plays Wallis Island, which won the UK Film Council Kodak Award for Best British Short Film.[4]

Basden replaced Tim Minchin as the resident musician for the second series of Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better where he appears along with Tim Key and Mark Watson.

He was a guest panellist on the BBC Two programme Never Mind The Buzzcocks on Wednesday, 4 November 2009.

Basden was one of the writers of successful sitcom Fresh Meat, which earned him a nomination for the 2012 BAFTA Craft Awards Break-Through Talent Award.[5]

In 2011 he wrote There Is a War, starring himself and Phoebe Fox, for the National Theatre's Double Feature, and in the next year he appeared as musical side-kick to Key in his Radio 4 programme Tim Key's Late Night Poetry.

Since the spring of 2013, Basden has co-written and appeared in the ancient Rome based ITV sitcom Plebs with Tom Rosenthal, Joel Fry, and Ryan Sampson.[6]

Basden featured in the six-part BBC Two comedy thriller, The Wrong Mans, as Noel.[7] The show was written by, and starred, Mathew Baynton and James Corden. The premiere was on 24 September 2013. It consisted of six thirty-minute episodes, and Basden co-wrote the third and fifth episode. Basden wrote the script for the sequel to The Wrong Mans, with the same title, which was first broadcast on BBC Two on 22 and 23 December 2014. It consisted of two hour-long episodes, and Basden acted in it as well, reprising the role of Noel.

Currently, Basden stars as Matt in the Netflix black comedy series, After Life.[8]


In 2010 his play Party was performed, about a group of rather childish university students holding a meeting to found their own political party.[9] The Guardian gave it a positive review calling it "an idiosyncratic and highly enjoyable piece performed beautifully by a crack cast of upcoming comics"; they praised the quality of the jokes, while noting that the satire was light and subtle.[10] It was adapted into a Radio 4 sitcom, also called Party, broadcast for three series and a Christmas special from 2010 to 2018 and written by and starring Basden. It also stars Tim Key, Jonny Sweet, Anna Crilly and Katy Wix.[11]

He was longlisted for the 2011 Evening Standard Theatre Awards Most Promising Playwright for his stage adaption of Franz Kafka's novel The Trial, called Joseph K. It also received positive reviews from The Guardian[12] and the Daily Telegraph.[13]


Year Award Category Work Result
2007 Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer[14] "Won't Say Anything" Won
2008 British Academy Film Awards Best Short Film The One and Only Herb McGwyer Plays Wallis Island Won
Chortle Awards Best Full Show "Won't Say Anything" Won
Breakthrough Act Nominated
2011 Evening Standard Award Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright Joseph K Won
2012 BAFTA Craft Awards Break-Through Talent Award[15] Fresh Meat Nominated


  1. ^ {England & Wales births 1837–2006}
  2. ^ "Footlights Alumni 2000–2009". Footlights. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012.
  3. ^ if.comedy – 2007 winners
  4. ^ Edinburgh International Film Festival Awards History
  5. ^ "Kwadjo Dajan Wins the Break-Through Talent Award in 2012". 9 May 2012.
  6. ^ British Comedy Guide. "ITV2 orders ancient Roman sitcom Plebs". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Cast announced for The Wrong Mans on BBC Two". BBC. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  8. ^ Sanusi, Victoria (8 March 2019). "After Life cast: who stars with Ricky Gervais in new Netflix series – and where else you've seen them". iNews. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  9. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (4 March 2010). "Party at the Arts Theatre, review". The Telegraph.
  10. ^ Logan, Brian (11 March 2010). "Party: Comedy Review". The Guardian.
  11. ^ British Comedy Guide. "Party". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Joseph K – review". The Guardian. 17 November 2010.
  13. ^ "Joseph K, Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, review". Daily Telegraph. 23 November 2010.
  14. ^ "Comedy Awards - Tom Basden". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Television Craft Awards Winners in 2012". 13 April 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Josie Long
Edinburgh Fringe Best Comedy Newcomer
Succeeded by
Sarah Millican