Mark Steel writing book about finding his birth parents

Thursday 11th March 2021, 8:29pm by Jay Richardson

  • Mark Steel is writing a memoir about his adoption and subsequent search for his biological parents
  • The comic was adopted at the age of 10 days old
  • Who Do I Think I Am? will recount the "utterly absurd" story and be released as an audiobook later this year
Mark Steel.

Mark Steel is writing a book about his adoption.

Who Do I Think I Am? will chronicle the comic's tracing of his birth parents, following his 2015 Edinburgh Fringe show of the same name and its subsequent 2017 adaptation for Radio 4, which won a BBC Radio & Music Award for best comedy.

Steel has been working on the memoir since 2019 and will release it as a self-narrated audiobook for Audible later this year, British Comedy Guide can reveal

The comic told Robin Ince and Natalie Haynes on their Book Shambles podcast recently that he's already written 60,000 words.

Steel, who always knew that he had been adopted at the age of ten days, grew up in Kent believing his birth father to be French. He only became interested in tracing his biological parents following the birth of his own son, Elliot, who has also since become a comedian.

After finding his birth mother in Scotland, the staunchly left-wing Steel subsequently discovered that his father had been an Egyptian world backgammon champion, and playboy acquaintance of both Lord Lucan and the controversial businessmen Tiny Rowland and James Goldsmith.

He told Ince and Haynes that his "extraordinary adoption story ... would be criminal if I managed to make that boring. Then I really should be barred from ever writing a word about anything again. I've been blessed with this utterly absurd story."

Dara O Briain recently revealed his search for his birth mother. Other adopted comedians include Stewart Lee, Robert Newman, Rhona Cameron, John Thompson, Deborah Frances-White, Bobby Mair and Twayna Mayne.

Newman has suggested that there are a relatively high number of comics who were adopted. He told the late Sean Hughes on his podcast that this could be because adoptees grow up questioning systems from a young age, essentially thinking "things are like this but could be like this".

Steel has written five books to date, the most recent being 2011's Mark Steel's In Town, based on his popular long-running Radio 4 series.

Appropriately for someone with such enigmatic origins, Steel has offered multiple fictional accounts of why he became a stand-up to newspapers, and he recently recorded a demo episode of a prospective new improvised podcast from Seann Walsh, My 100% True Story, in which guests are interviewed by Walsh about a (fictional) autobiography they have supposedly written.

Meanwhile, Series 9 and 10 of Mark Steel's in Town, in which he visits various places around the UK and performs stand-up tailored to them, will be released as a digital audio download through retailers including Amazon and Audible on 2nd September.

Mark Steel - Who Do I Think I Am?

Mark Steel tells the story of his own adoption, at the age of 10 days.

Please note that this product's release date has yet to be confirmed. If you add it to your wishlist we will email you when it is ready to pre-order.

    Mark Steel's In Town - Series 9 & 10

    Mark Steel's In Town - Series 9 & 10

    In these two series of the award-winning BBC Radio 4 show, comedian Mark Steel is on the road again, visiting places that have nothing in common but their uniqueness. Along the way, he delves into the history, heritage and culture of each town, before going on to write and perform a bespoke evening of comedy for the local residents.

    His first stop is Hastings, where he finds that a lot's happened since 1066 - including an annual Pirates' Day. Other destinations on his road trip include King's Lynn (where he's thrilled to find a traffic island full of rabbits), Carlisle (notable for its cursing stone and pervasive smell of biscuits) and Aberystwyth (the 'Athens of Wales' and home to the Holy Grail).

    Plus, he ventures into the Forest of Dean - but manages to make it out alive, and heads across the Med to Malta, where he samples some past izzi and gets caught up in a parade...

    Winner of numerous accolades including the 2010 Silver and 2012 Gold Awards for Best Comedy at the Sony Radio Academy Awards and the 2018 BBC Radio Awards' Best Comedy Show, this quirky, engaging series is - in the words of the Sony judges - "stand-up comedy at its very best".

    First released: Thursday 2nd September 2021

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