THERE are moments in life especially during interviews which can leave the journalist feeling this is going wrong.

I had to quote Sir Alex Ferguson a ‘squeaky bum time’ when interviewing Mark Steel. My interview was booked at 9am and I duly called at 9am and the phone was answered.

I had written out my questions and started asking them. It appeared I had in fact selected questions which I thought were interesting and probing.

But it turned out for Mark it was all becoming something which was akin to psychology or psychoanalysis. I struggle on manfully but I could see I was sinking, I wasn’t waving I was drowning.

This was not a turning wicket and I had selected four spinners for the game.

And then there was a moment of light of clarity. I remembered I had read an article in Wisden with Mark about cricket.

So I shared my stories about cricket and we talked about his enjoyment of the game. The comedian has played for Norwood Exiles for 12 years. He has been joined in the past few years by his son who also plays in the side. Mark spoke about a cricket incident which still annoys him to this day.

He said: “Three years ago we had a team 50 for 5 and they only had one good batsman left and we knew if we got him out we could win.

“Our bowler bowled a beautiful ball and there was a loud click of the ball hitting the bat.

You could hear it everywhere. Our fielder took the catch. But the Umpire didn’t give him out. I was the Captain and asked him why he had not given him out.

He said he didn’t hear anything. The batsman went on to score 90 not out.”

Somerset County Gazette:

He felt one of the reasons cricket has been in trouble (at grass roots level) has been for men many it is not considered a good idea for them to abandon their families for the weekend.

He thought when the kids were small yes, but now his son plays for the team so it is ok.

Cricket has given Mark a moment which left him a gibbering wreck.

The story was he went to watch Kent play. His son who was young at the time got board and wanted to play cricket.

So Mark bowled at him on the pitch at lunchtime then through the session and at tea.

Mark just wanted a rest. His pleas to stop were overheard by a man sitting near by. He came over and told Mark’s son maybe he should let is dad have a rest.

The man in question was Derek Underwood, one of Mark’s cricketing heroes.

He was lost for words. For Mark, one of the greatest sporting moments of all time was the 2005 Ashes Series.

He said: “Everyone remembers Geraint Jones’s catch.

“It was the first time cricket had won in that it had established itself as the main sport.

“This doesn’t happen very often maybe other odd occasions (when it beats football) is when Murray wins Wimbledon or Mo Farrah wins two gold medals.”

So what about the rest of the interview which in total lasted 21 minutes. I found out Mark doesn’t like talking about himself.

He said: “No not really. I just about get through it. I find it hard to fill in a form to apply for a credit card. But maybe that is why comic’s do what they do and make jokes about themselves.”

The blurb for the show says: “A few years ago, it seemed unlikely that the UK would vote to leave the EU; we had a reasonable opposition to the Tory Government; Donald Trump was a buffoon who surely wasn’t going to beat Hillary Clinton and Mark was living the married suburban ideal, since then it’s all gone down the pan!

But don’t worry as Mark thinks Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright.”

And being alright in a fun way came when Mark explained how he went from working in zoo to the comedy stage.

He said how there was one area where there was a little farm which had goats.

This was a location where the zoo employees would meet and have a cup of tea during their breaks.

It was here Mark would tell jokes and it made the humans happy and even the goats were happier too.

The zoo manager knew someone who owned a comedy store and the next thing it was the comedy stage for Mark Steel.

Today, Mark has written and presented many series of Mark Steel’s In Town on BBC Radio 4 and toured it live around the UK.

Mark has presented the BAFTA nominated Mark Steel Lectures for BBC2, is a regular on BBC One’s Have I Got News For You and Radio 4’s The News Quiz.

He has also appeared on BBC2’s QI and Room 101. Mark has written several acclaimed books, including: Reasons To Be Cheerful and What’s Going On and he writes a weekly column for The Independent for which he won Columnist of the Year at the Press Awards in 2015.

Mark’s sell-out show Who Do I Think I Am, revealed his natural father was a world backgammon champion.

Now the newspaper columnist of the year is touring a show which is guaranteed to make the world seem even more mental than it is.

Mark Steel: Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright is at the Brewhouse Theatre on March 22.

Tickets for the show cost £16.

Buy online at or call 01823 283244.