Thursday, 19 May 2011

Kids, who'd have them? Me

My children have been away now for a nearly four weeks and I miss them. I catch myself looking at their photos and tears fill my eyes, i'm crying now writing this. They have followed their mum to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean where she's working for the BBC until August. The worst thing is the communications between here and there, Skype is crap, the phones are rubbish and forget about sending letters, I'd might as well take it myself.

The loneliness is sometimes hard. I have proper conversations with dog, I mean proper, politics, religion, dog food. Talking to myself like some mental serial killer in a B Movie (I'm laughing now - but not like a mental serial killer, don't get me wrong I'm not mad, yet).

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Have you ever told a lie and regretted it?

In 2004 I told the world that I was a burglar. My friend Daniel Hoffmann-Gill and myself needed a little bit of publicity for a comedy we were producing at the Edinburgh fringe, what happened next who catapult me into the public eye with a story that would follow me for the next seven years.

After a couple of interviews with local press the story was picked up by BBC Radio 4’s Home Truths and I was interviewed by the late John Peel. I thought that would be that, we’d get a few more “bums on seats” and our Festival would be a success, but fate had a few more twists to unfold.

My interview on Home Truths was heard by the Marketing Director of a major insurance company who thought it would be a great way to get their brand into the press, by hiring a ‘reformed burglar’ to give the public advice about keeping their homes safe during the summer. The result was unbelievable, TVAM, BBC News 24, East Midlands Today and most regional BBC Radio. One after another I told my ‘story’ how I stood over an old man whilst he slept, or how I stole £4000 of camping equipment because we wanted to go to Matlock one Easter. The media lapped it up and to date I have talked with countless presenters including Nicky Campbell on BBC 5 Live, Gaby Roslin and Paul Ross on BBC London and the then Home Secretary Jackie Smith. My little lie did get us a lot of publicity, it put bums on seats, it entertained thousands if not millions of people, it educated the general public about keeping the homes safe, but it was a story, a fiction, a lie.

If you don’t believe me write the words ‘reformed burglar’ in any search engine and I’m top.


Mark Whiteley will be telling this story and many others at

13th Lakeside Nottingham

21st - 22nd Lowry Salford

26th - Square Chapel Halifax
June 3rd Stafford Gatehouse
9th The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington Devon’
10th Newark Palace

For further information contact Hard Graft Theatre Company 01706 881 258

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

lies lies lies

Well, whilst you're all building road blocks and coning off your Crescent in preparation for the Royal Wedding I will be putting my suit on and working. Some idiot booked a gig this Friday, how was I suppose to know that our future King would marry some Coal miners great, great, great grand daughter? So here you go, here's my apology to the couple "Dear William and Kate sorry for ruining your wedding plans, I'm sure a few of your guests will turn up, if they don't I'm sure they'll video your big day."
I'm doing a tour of my story in show business. It's called When Will I Be Famous and in it I'm telling the truth about my life in the celebrity eye, or lack of it. For the last 16 years I have tried and failed to become famous, in this quest I have:

1. Lied to John Peel about my life of crime (Try writing 'Reformed Burglar' in any internet search engine I'm top)

2. I lied to various News programmes (GMTV, BBC NEWS 24, East Midlands Today!) on numerous occasions to give my views about being a reformed burglar, theft and debated with the Home Secretary Jackie Smith how she should deal with criminals.

3. I walked across the country, coast to coast with no money, accommodation or food. Performing each evening to survive.

4. I emigrated to Poland to reverse the immigration trend of a few years ago and appeared on there equivalent of This Morning.

5. I sold the first performance of a play on eBay. here

6. I lived in a tent on Hampstead Heath for three months whilst at Drama School.

7. I performed in a porn film. (although perform is probably not the word my co-star would use)

Friday, 18 March 2011

REVIEW Our Style is Legendary

Our Style Is Legendary

By Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
Hard Graft Theatre Company.
Tristan Bates Theatre

Review by Howard Loxton (2011)

This new play is a picture of teenage life on a rundown Nottingham council in the late 1980s and early 90s. Rich White's set (his first - he's a sculptor) is a number of panels that at first suggest concrete blocks or the walls of a pedestrian underpass which can be moved around by the cast to indicate different locations or interiors such as a classroom At the rear, glimpsed between them, are some flowers tied onto a lamp-post, a reminder of some past tragic death.

Roaming around already chatting to the audience as they come in is a character, played by James Hooton (who has been given time off from Emmerdale to appear in this drama), who is swigging beer from a can. He calls himself 'the Swinging Man' (perhaps from the track on the Black Flag's 1984 album My War) and acts as a sort of 'chorus to this history', describing the Nottingham he knows, its posh parts and the not posh, like where this is set, and hovers over some scenes as well as marking time passing through the years to introduce others. He reminds us of Nottingham's coat of arms with its twin stags and the city's motto which gives this play its title. He too is one of the losers from Nottingham's underbelly and his up front vernacular tells it as it is, describing how he 'came home to find mum hanging from the light fittings, piss running down her stretch-marked thighs.'

After his 'welcome' we are presented with a couple of young kids who've just crashed their bikes into each other. Michael is black with no dad, just a cash-strapped mom, while Daniel is white from a rather better-off household, though his dad beats him up. They've both got Raleighs, the bikes made in Nottingham, though Danny's is very much smarter and he lets Michael ride it. Soon they are planning to meet and exchange tapes of their favourite music and the next time we see them Michael is introducing Danny to glue sniffing - wel,l actually Old Spice after-shave. They loath the smell but it still gives them a high.

Succeeding scenes give us glimpses of their lives as they pass through their school years, along with the other members of their 'posse'. Stone, a little older and full of frustrations and bravado, is the heaviest drinker, and soon carries a knife and later a gun. Much more grounded is Shelley, a girl who gets very close to Danny and vainly tries to keep the boys on the straight and narrow.

These kids aren't all stupid and it is not all gloom. There is a delightful school scene, with the Swinging Man leaning in as though he's the teacher, with Danny and Shelley carrying on their own conversation between a more obviously audible dialogue of accurate though ill-accented French. Later Danny and Michael lie back on the grass expressing hopes as well as frustrations and talk about love, even their love for each other, marriage and children.

Director Laura Farnworth has welded her company together, drawing well integrated performances from her players who, though visibly older, all manager to capture the youth of these characters.

Dimeji Sadiq, making his professional debut, is forceful as Michael. Annishia Lunette is also a relative newcomer, not long out of RADA; as Shelley she gives a girl visible growing up with more assurance than the boys. Kent Riley (at 13 already in the West End as the Artful Dodger and with six years behind him in Hollyoaks) plays all the unpleasant side of Stone yet at the same time suggests the vulnerability under his bullying. Stone so longs to be the tough guy and he has to handle a very difficult scene in which he imagines himself like Robocop being riddled with bullets and still not succumbing. That manages to turn horror into pathos. As Danny, Jarrod Cooke, whose television credits seem to include roles in most of the soaps, gives us someone who changes according to which of his friends is currently exerting most influence. It is a subtle performance that is central to the play.

There are times when you feel these teenagers are people you would cross to the other side of the road to avoid but Daniel Hoffman-Gill's play makes you share experience, one with which many will be able to identify and one which, though set twenty years ago, could find many parallels in Britain today. Our Style Is Legendary is not a play that offers either reasons or solutions but a sharing. Though the Swinging Man chorus is very much a theatrical device, the play rings true, perhaps partly because it is directly based on his own experience for it is dedicated to Michael, his best friend who died of an overdose when he was only 16 and the characters' names are the same as those of the real people.

Runs until 2nd April 2011

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

REVIEW Our Style is Legendary


Our Style is Legendary
Published Tuesday 15 March 2011 at 11:04 by Lauren Paxman

Plays about substance abuse are not meant to evoke fond memories of your teenage years. But that is just one of the ways in which Daniel Hoffmann-Gill’s witty dark comedy surprises and delights.

Jarrod Cooke (Danny) Dimeji Sadiq (Michael) in Our Style is Legendary at the Tristan Bates Theatre

Photo: Rich White

We first meet Danny and Michael as well-behaved Nottingham 13-year-olds bonding over eighties hip hop. A couple of scenes (and some Old Spice deodorant-sniffing) later, the best buddies are experimenting with hard drugs - but on the doorstep of A&E in case they accidentally overdose.
The duo’s story is interspersed with that of the Frank Gallagher-esque Swinging Man - so called because the special brew-lover’s feet “never touch the ground”. His is a cautionary tale of violence and alcoholism that, along with the flowers tied to a lamp post, warn the audience what could become of the endearingly believable protagonists.
Hoffman-Gill’s brilliantly-observed script is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, Laura Farnworth’s detailed direction ensures all actors’ performances are stellar - with Hollyoaks’ Kent Riley as ‘glue dealer’ Stone and Emmerdale’s James Hooton as Swinging Man shining extra bright - and Rich White’s first set packs a lot into a small space.
If the ending seems a little abrupt, a quick read of your programme - which tells you that the true story is dedicated to someone called Michael - reveals the tale’s real happy ending.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Bury Met

Well, here I am again trying to get the people - you, to leave the safety of your cave and come and play out. You used to love coming out to play, what happened?

I know there are baby sitter issues and Jamie Oliver's on tonight, but think about the fun you'll have laughing at my S**T career (If the Sun and the Mirror can swear like this, I can swear like this).

When Will I Be Famous
7.30pm Bury Met

Here's what "the people" have said

"Best Monday night I've had in years, really funny and moving" Sharon Brighton
"Absolutely Wonderful" Phylm London
"one of the best performances we've witnessed in a long while" Dave B London
"Please keep on writing - superb evening - real entertainment. Matlock.
"Absolutely brilliant and extremely funny" Danny Loughorough
"Extremely funny! Had me crying in places. Keep up the good work. Will definatly come to the next performance" Kate Nottingham
"Absolutely great! script, acting, everything!" Loughborough
"Very enjoyable and witty! very good morals too." Marie Edinburgh
"Really made me think" Excellent." Kim Edinburgh

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A taste of Fame

Go to Google or any search engine and look for “reformed burglar”. I (Mark Whiteley) am top, or very close to the top with an interview with John Peel on Home Truths. This is a made up story to get publicity for a play I took to Edinburgh. For the past 10 years I have tried everything to get noticed and frankly I’ve had enough. So this year I’m touring the country telling the truth about my fame, or my lack of it.
In my quest for fame I have:

1. Lied to John Peel about being a burglar and subsequently took £14,000 from The Prudential Insurance giving tips to the public about home security.
2. I lied to various News programmes on numerous occasions to give my views about being a reformed burglar, theft and how the Home Secretary should deal with crime.
3. I walked across the country, coast to coast with no money, accommodation or food. Performing each evening to survive.
4. I emigrated to Poland to reverse the immigration trend of a few years ago and appeared on there equivalent of This Morning.
5. I sold the first performance of a play on eBay.
6. I lived in a tent on Hampstead Heath for three months whilst at Drama School.
7. I performed in a porn film. (although perform is probably not the word my co-star would use)
I’ve had enough. I’m packing it in, but before I do I’m giving it one last shot. My final show is called When Will I be Famous, a look at all the time I’ve wasted in my live trying to get noticed. And because it’s my final shot I’ve pushed the boat out to give my audiences a real taste of celebrity I’ve managed to talk Amanda Holden and Pier Morgan to appear in the show.

23rd Derby Assembly Rooms

2nd Bury Met
17th Sefton Arts
25th Brewery Arts

6th Rotherham Arts
7th Barnsley
8th Guildford Yvonne Arnaud
23rd Drill Hall Lincoln
29th - 30th Lantern Sheffield

6th Queens Park Arts
13th Lakeside Nottingham
14th Venue Cymru
21st - 22nd Lowry Salford
26th - Square Chapel Halifax

3rd Stafford Gatehouse
9th The Plough

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

To all retards out there

Just in case you've never seen my work or experienced my publicity I'd like to put things straight. After requests from 'people' i'd like to make this short but loud announcement.


When every star raisers (is that how you spell raisers?) they are usually driven forward by something or someone bigger than themselves. Morecombe and Wise with the BBC, Abi Titmus and John Leslie, most reality show contestants and the red top media, its how people get on in this job, support acts become stars, eventually.

Lots of people in television and film would be no where without a little help from friends.

So, and this is where it gets boring, I thought I'd use Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan (as they have presented 'Britain's Got Talent' and my show was about a similar subject) and turn it on its head to entertain people. Amanda and Piers very kindly offered to film a little piece to camera for me to use in my show (hence why she is in my show, ) but it has caused some confusion with some retards somewhere.

so for the record, finally,

Mark Whiteley however will be there and I'm very good!