CHS welcomes TV personality John Thomson for the Head’s ChEd Talk

Laughter and life lessons were shared when TV personality John Thomson spoke to the CHS community as the special guest at the Head’s second ChEd Talk.

The Fast Show and Cold Feet actor discussed his past, present and future, and gave a candid insight into the roller-coaster life of working as a comedian, actor and writer.

From his love of magic as a kid and growing up in Salford and Manchester, he spoke of his foray into comedy after being cast as Fagan in Primary School, to becoming a drama student and part of Manchester’s Comedy circuit performing at Chorlton’s Buzz Club with fellow impressionists Caroline Aherne and Paul Whitehouse.

John also told how he bonded with Steve Coogan over impersonations at Manchester Metropolitan University (then Polytechnic) before they went on to win the ‘92 Edinburgh Fringe Perrier Comedy Award with their observational impersonations.

“There was a scene… a real presence,” he said. “As actors Steve and I would steer away from classic stand-up; we thought why not do a character?”

The audience were treated to impressively accurate mimics of celebrities such as Tommy Cooper and they heard how shows like The Generation game sparked an early love of TV and fuelled his passion for becoming an entertainer.

Talking of his roles and how The Fast Show has stood the test of time, he said: “It was a joy to do, I love doing sketch work. It worked a treat. Some things haven’t aged well but this has and it’s great to introduce it to younger people that really respect comedy.”

Also speaking of typecasting and his most beloved roles as lovable buffoons, John also discussed the challenge many actors face on the international stage, from the UK to LA.

“I know how precarious acting is, there’s only 5% of actors working at any time. The problem I have with this is, there are so many actors out there who could play the bigger Hollywood roles and currently the balance is not right, it needs addressing.”

Answering questions from the audience, he also spoke of his proudest moment. He said: “I’m very proud of not drinking. I’m 13 years sober and so pleased that my daughters never saw that side of me. There’s an incentive right there.”

John said he aims to branch out and try new things to diversify as an actor and spoke of how the amazing experience of performing The Fast Show live has fuelled his desire to bring the cast together once more for a Fast Show panto following the forthcoming documentary. He also plans to write a Cold Feet Christmas special.

He said: “I thank the universe daily for the fact I do a job I love.”

CHS ChEd Talks is a series of intimate discussions across a variety of topics for the whole School community lead by Head, Mr Neil Smith to inspire and provoke thought, debate and positive conversation. In the first ChEd Talk, CHS welcomed International DJ, journalist and author, Dave Haslam.

To listen to the ChEd Talk in full, tune in to Episode 6 of CHS’s The Ed. Podcast, out February 29.

actor comedian and writer John Thomson talks at Cheadle Hulme School's ChEd Talk