Marcus Brigstocke – In Conversation

Writer and comedian Marcus Brigstocke burst onto the comedy circuit during the late nineties with appearances on Radio 4’s The Now Show alongside Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis. Playing the part of upper class oaf Giles Wemmbley-Hogg, Brigstocke perfectly captured the wonderful naively of members of the aristocracy which made the character of Wemmbley-Hogg one of the most popular characters from the series. This proved invaluable grounding for the young comedian who was able to use this experience as a springboard to bigger and better things.

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His steady presence on BBC Radio 4 made Marcus the perfect booking for panel shows including the heavyweight Just a Minute. It was here that the young comic had the pleasure of getting to know the late great Nicholas Parsons increasingly well over the next decade. Becoming synonymous with the programme, Brigstocke became the obvious choice to accompany Parsons and regular panelist Paul Merton on a trip to India for the fiftieth anniversary of the show in 2012. At the incredible age of 88, it was incredible that the legendary entertainer could tour India and survive the concentrated heat. It was here that Marcus was able to witness the close relationship between Merton and Parsons which turned out to be one of the closest unions in comedy and he feels so privileged to have enjoyed this unique experience with two entertainment powerhouses.


By the mid noughties Marcus was one of the recognised voices in radio comedy and when ITV had the vision to reprise the 1980’s Alternative Comedy variety show Saturday Live in 2007, Marcus was selected to present such a special evening of entertainment. Hosting a live and unscripted variety show starring some of the UK’s most popular and unpredictable comedians, you would think couldn’t get any more daunting until it was revealed that the headliner would be the former host Ben Elton. Yet it turned out that the comedians were the least of Marcus’s problems as the top of the bill was American rockers Bon Jovi. By way of a comedic introduction, Marcus did a literal translation from French back to English which is “Well Jovi”. Unimpressed by the joke, Jon Bon Jovi’s management weren’t able to see the funny side and were told in no uncertain terms not to do the joke. A natural rebel, this made the anarchist Marcus all the more determined to deliver the joke live on ITV which he did and risked the possibility of the band walking off stage before playing them out. Luckily they decided to stay but it’s fair to say that Brigstocke is off the Bon Jovi Christmas card list!


in 2008 secured his own radio comedy chat show I’ve Never Seen Star Wars in which he persuaded celebrity guests to attempt something that they had never done before. One of the most obvious reservations for the BBC was the difficulty in perfectly conveying each experience for the radio audience. Yet as soon as the series was underway, the listeners became invested in the range of activities which the sars were undertaking and the series became a cult hit. Marcus’s favourite moments from the series have included having colonic irrigation with Phill Jupitus and Anne Widdecombe being made to watch the sitcom The Thick Of It. Despite several attempts to create television incarcerations, Marcus is a firm believer that the pictures are better on radio and this may be the ultimate secret of the show’s success.


If he had conquered the art of radio, Marcus now had his sights set on TV and in 2008 was cast alongside fellow comedian Rufus Hound and the legendary John Sergeant for the Dave panel show Argumental. For this he honed his skills in persuasion and debate in a bid to reign victorious and observing his fellow comedians do the same often resulted in hilarious consequences. The climax of such competitiveness arose when Rufus Hound agreed to display his penis live on the recording. Producers decided to cut when 


Never frightened to exit his comfort zone, in 2011 Marcus paid tribute to Carl Douglas with a memorable performance of Kung Fu Fighting in Let’s Dance For Comic Relief. As a father of young children, it was rare for Marcus to bring the family to work. Yet this provided the perfect opportunity for his children to witness what their dad did as a job. Understandably not ofay with the pragmatics of a comedy talent show, his son became really upset when Marcus was eliminated from the series and they were finding it difficult to cheer him up. All of a sudden, he spotted the late comedy powerhouse Rik Mayall who was supporting his victorious comedy partner Adrian Edmondson who had made it to the final. As his son’s favourite comedian, Marcus knew that Rik had the power to make everything better and lift his son’s spirits. This meant a lot to both father and son and was a very memorable night within the Brigstocke household.


Now embarking on his new nationwide tour Devil May Care to rave reviews surrounding the divided attitudes of the country. It was a great pleasure to meet and interview the great Marcus Brigstocke and wish him all the very best for the rest of his remarkable career.