Mark Thomas - The Manifesto - In The Press

Comedian Mark Thomas is set to help launch a new creative space in Deptford on March 1 with a free show.

Such Small Portions, 21st February 2012

A fourth series of chummy but barbed collaborative satire. Thomas's unusually sharp, mildly eccentric audience members put forward policies that they think should be enshrined in law: the right to graffiti people who walk slowly along pavements, for instance, or a plan to reconfigure Britain so that half our car journeys are steeply downhill and require no fuel.

It's best when it's not as silly as it appears. Is the idea of giving everyone a £10,000 voucher to spend to stimulate the economy a worse idea than bank bailouts? And should the Lords be re-appointed annually via a lottery? Why not?

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 8th February 2012

'My most unappealing habit? My innate wish to find the best in everyone, even my enemies. And lying'

Written by Rosanna Greenstreet. The Guardian, 9th April 2011

A quick thumbs-up for Mark Thomas, also on Radio 4, with his Manifesto. Thomas can be insufferable when he tries to be the British Michael Moore, but on this series he is an exuberant, rather than bombastic, host, teasing and cajoling the audience into their proposals.

Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 30th January 2011

Recreational drugs should be legalised for senior citizens - Mark Thomas endorses his audience's manifesto suggestions.

Written by Elisabeth Mahoney. The Guardian, 7th January 2011

A new series of Mark Thomas: The Manifesto is back. You can download Episode 1 on Radio 4's new Comedy of the Week podcast. Before the new series began, Mark had some unfinished business to attend to.

Written by Steve Saul. BBC Comedy Blog, 6th January 2011

The return of the show where Thomas sifts through suggestions for new laws and policies that might just make Britain better, if only politicians would use some common sense. It's a truly collaborative effort, with the initial suggestions and, often, the comic riffs that develop coming from the audience. In the main it's played for laughs, be they absurd ("Compulsory Stilton at primary school") or observational (sanctions for people who reach the top of a flight of steps then suddenly stop); but the productive atmosphere Thomas creates means the show can sidestep into properly thought-provoking politics, for example, the hard-todispute suggestion that nobody not on the electoral roll should be able to make party donations. It really sings when an absurd idea proves to have serious intent. So, should we invade Jersey?

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 6th January 2011

Socio-political comedy where members of the audience send suggestions for potential political action. There are fountains of proposals, most of which Thomas turns into furious fun. John, a long-suffering football fan, wants players paid on the pitch, in front of the crowd they've just let down. Thomas amends it to payment in cash. MOT tests for relationships, proposals on funding of political parties and the voters' right to allocate MPs' cars are also in the public mind. Thomas has a vast news grasp, a wit that's Olympically nimble.

Gillian Reynolds, The Daily Telegraph, 6th January 2011

'Over-confident' comic was unlawfully stopped and had his bag checked as he left arms protest.

Written by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis. The Guardian, 19th April 2010

It must be hard to get a word in edgewise when in the presence of comedian Mark Thomas, but several members of a studio audience managed it as they put a wide range of policies to the vote in his second series of The Manifesto. Thomas' style of humour is not always to everyone's taste, but this was entertaining radio comedy mixed with good helpings of opinion, history and politics.

In fact, while the mood was occasionally a little too worthy, Thomas was quick off the mark and produced funny and intelligent responses to suggestions. These included British prime ministers only ever being able to serve for two terms, all Ofsted inspectors having to teach classes in order to demonstrate the recommendations they have made and a campaign to bring back Saint Mondays (the old tradition of workers skiving off for an extended weekend).

Lisa Martland, The Stage, 15th February 2010

Comedian Mark Thomas's latest work, 'The People's Manifesto', is a touring stage show cum Radio 4 series cum book, in which he canvasses the opinions of ordinary Britons, he tells Neil Tweedie.

Written by Neil Tweedie. Daily Telegraph, 9th February 2010

If we can attack Iraq, why can't we invade - sorry, liberate - this 21st century pirate cove?

Written by Mark Thomas. The Guardian, 8th February 2010

Mark Thomas, a man revered among the smart right-on, as his thing is politics, with jokes, done very forcefully. He bashes you around the head with his beliefs, then busts your gut with a bon mot. When the balance is right, it's very entertaining; when it's not, you feel like you've been beaten up and you're not sure to what purpose. Not everything in life is as simple as "working class = good", "posh = bad". We're not in the 80s any more, Toto.

Still, I like his returning Radio 4 series, Mark Thomas: The Manifesto, mostly because the ideas come from the audience. On Thursday, suggestions included: if you see a balding man with a ponytail, you are legally required to cut it off; you also have to push over anyone who dithers on a pavement; 4x4 cars should be transparent. (You'll know about these because they've been heavily trailed on R4, thereby killing the joke, hey ho.) One of the more popular ideas, though, was less of a laugh: that prime ministers should only be allowed to serve two terms. Thomas had some fun with this, telling us just how much Clement Attlee managed to get done in his short office of five years: Attlee established the National Health Service and the welfare state, he nationalised water, gas, coal and steel and he "de-Empired Britain".

All very interesting, but ruined for me by Thomas's laughable (in the wrong way) punch-line: "Let's look at our three termers - Thatcher and Blair." Stop it! Knee-jerk smugness is horrible, no matter which flag it's wrapped up in.

Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 7th February 2010

In this election year, here's the one manifesto that's sure to be popular with the people... because it was written by the people. Campaigning comic Mark Thomas struck on the inspired idea of asking audiences on his last tour for suggestions for new laws; then voting on the best of that gig. This pocket-sized book details 40 of Thomas's - and the audience's - favourites, and provides a more fascinating snapshot of what's on the nation's mind than any YouGov poll.

Written by Steve Bennett. Chortle.co.uk, 29th January 2010

After Coca-Cola and the International Arms Trade, Mark Thomas delivers his solutions to the current state of British politics, with a little help from the British people.

Written by Kenny McKay. The List, 18th January 2010

When police admit you could be put on a secret database for being at a demo, it's time to worry.

Written by Mark Thomas. The Guardian, 25th October 2009

If you were listening to the first part of Mark Thomas: The Manifesto last night, you will have heard a hug being deployed. Here's a video of the event.

BBC Comedy Blog, 26th June 2009

Mark Thomas is an activist comedian, someone who wears his social consciousness on his very best T-shirt. We're adrift, he says, economically, politically, philosophically. His new stage act invites audience members to help him draw up a manifesto which could begin to remedy this sense of drift. Now he gets Radio 4's constituency into his tent, asking for their suggestions for manifesto items, having a bit of fun with them but also promising to take the best and actually run for election on them. So they might, just, end up as law.

Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph, 25th June 2009