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