Photography by: Helen Gallagher and Aleks Paluszek
Words by Harry Potts
Comedian and actor John Thomson was born in Salford in 1969 and given up for adoption six weeks later. John was brought up by his adoptive parents in the Preston area, but returned to study drama at Manchester Polytechnic. It was here he met Steve Coogan who secured him a job on ‘Spitting Image’ they continued to collaborate on many comedy projects over the following few years. The two won the Perrier Comedy Award in 1992. More recently, John is best known for his role as Pete Gifford in the popular comedy drama ‘Cold Feet’.
John’s CV is long and impressive including:
Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge.
Men Behaving Badly
Wallace and Gromit
The Keith Lemon Sketch Show
But it is as “Jazz Club” host Louis Balfour in the Fast Show that he is most remembered, with the catchphrase, “Nice!
We photographed John in his birth place of Salford, at the Lowry Theatre where he was appearing in a comedy gala. Given only 10 minutes stage side before the curtain rose, students Helen and Aleks using portable studio flash, managed to capture John’s larger than life personality.
“Photographing John backstage at the Lowry was quite an experience. We were given just 10 minutes to set up the studio flash, take test shots and then photograph John. We just about managed it before the stage curtain had to be opened for the show. John was incredibly natural and photogenic, offering a range of facial expressions, all of which brought the photographs to life. Assembling and testing our equipment under such intense pressure was an invaluable insight into working to a strict client brief.”
© All images – The Manchester College (unless otherwise stated)