Comedian Mark Steel’s new show reads like an idea for a TV show that would sound too far-fetched to be true.
Consider this as a story idea: lefty comic who was adopted as a baby finally decides to trace his birth mother and finds out that his dad is a multi-millionaire ex-US Wall Street trader who used to knock round with Lord Lucan.
But, life being stranger than fiction, that’s what happened to Mark and he’s telling all in his new comedy show, Who Do I Think I Am?, coming to Sheffield City Hall next week.
“Funny, isn’t it?” he asked, after outlining the story.“I don’t think we’d see eye to eye…
“I might be entitled to half of California,” he speculated.
Mark said: “I always knew I was adopted. That was never a problem. I was brought up thinking my natural dad was French. As I got older, I would tell people that.
“They’d say, ‘That explains why you like cheese’.”
He said: “I used to think my mum wouldn’t remember me, it’s ages ago, she’ll think, ‘Did I have a son?’ Obviously you do remember when you’ve had a child!”
Having children spurred him on to start looking.
Mark’s birth mum wasn’t interested in meeting him but did reveal who his father was.
If you want to know exactly what he found out and whether they met, you’ll have to go to the show, of course.
Mark said that it was impossible to resist the idea of turning his story into a stand-up show, and possibly a book.
”How could you not? If you found out my story and you didn’t want to write a show about it, you’d be barely entitled to call yourself human.”
He said that the revelation hasn’t changed him at all. “I don’t think it’s made me feel any different to what I was before, apart from the fact that I got the show out of it.”
He joked: “I always knew my dad was a multi-millionaire deep down. I should be putting on a suit and tie and screaming at people to buy stocks in Portuguese sardines or something. I can’t see it’s made that much difference, though.”
He’s still presenting his BBC Radio 4 show Mark Steel’s in Town, which visits places and takes a quirky look at them. Last night’s was a 40-minute special on Gibraltar.
Mark cheerfully admits he’s often mixed up with left-wing comedian Mark Thomas. “The Radio Times had a listing about my radio series. It read, ‘6.30, Mark Steel’s in Town… comedy show in which Mark Thomas tours the towns of Britain’.”
Who Do I Think I Am? is at the City Hall on Sunday, October 16. Box office: 0114 2789789 or online at Sheffield City Hall