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Mark Heap - Biography

English actor Mark is best-known for playing Jim in Friday Night Dinner

Mark Heap in a white shirt
Phoebe Tatham
Phoebe TathamContent Writer
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Who is Mark Heap?

The actor, who was born in India to expatriate parents, started out as one half of street theatre comedy duo The Two Marks, a juggling act which won the Time Out 1987 Street Entertainer of the year award.

Swapping sidewalk for studio he worked with Chris Morris on radio show Blue Jam, before catching the eye of the greater British public in surreal Nineties indie show Spaced as tortured artist Brian Topp. 

Further roles in sketch show Big Train and mock documentary Brass Eye confirmed the entertainer as a staple on the comedy scene. His portrayal of a rural postie in popular bucolic 2008 drama Lark Rise To Candleford was a departure for the former street theatre artist, who can also perform magic and stilt-walk.

READ: All you need to know about Mark Heap

Mark Heap's Childhood and Early Career

Mark was born on 13 May 1957 in India to an English father and an American mother. He is the youngest of four boys. Young Mark was a member of the Medieval Players, a touring company who performed mainly Early Modern and Shakespearean dramas. The group eventually folded and Mark set to becoming one half of a double act called The Two Marks, with fellow actor Mark Saban. 

Mark Heap's Career

Primarily, Mark is known for his roles in Benidorm, Green Wing and Upstart Crow. However, he also made small appearances in the 1983 Bond movie Octopussy as a torch juggler, as well as Tim Burton’s 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

His first major breakthrough role though, was struggling artist Brian Topp in Spaced, written by and featuring Simon Pegg. This boosted his popularity and his name started to pepper itself across screens. He would later play a supporting role in The World's End in 2013, again alongside Simon Pegg

The Channel 4 sitcom Green Wing followed from Spaced, with Mark acting alongside another big name - Tamsin Greig. His work with these stars helped to settle him further into the industry and land more roles. Mark soon saw himself playing Charles Dickens in the 2009 BBC Two drama Desperate Romantics

Mark's more recent credits include appearing as Malcom in a modest number of episodes of Benidorm, whilst also being a series regular in Lark Rise to Candleford which showcased a lot of his acting talent. He is renowned for reprising the role of the awkward-but-hilarious Jim Bell in Friday Night Dinner, an audience favourite, as well as gracing screens nationwide with his stellar performance in TV series The Trouble with Maggie Cole starring Dawn French

MORE: Discover where the cast of Friday Night Dinner is now

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