JOHN THOMSON: comedian and actor

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 Thomson

John’s CV is long and impressive including:

Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge.

Coronation St

Men Behaving Badly

Waterloo Road

Celebrity Masterchef

Cold Feet

After Hours

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!

Jazz – Nice!
Cold Feet
The cast of Cold Feet

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.



Student reflection: Aleks Paluszek

“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.”


John Thomson-2
John in the wings at the Lowry Theatre
© All images – The Manchester College (unless otherwise stated)


Related links:










Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.