Political activist, journalist and satirical comedian Mark Thomas had his first lesson in politics when he was a young boy helping his father - who was a builder.

He was paid 10p an hour for loading a skip.

"A friend of my dad's came by and laughingly said to me: Hey that's child slave labour I should go on strike. I got 15p rise out of that and a lesson in life,'' said Mark.

In his current show he is persuading his audience to look forward rather than back. He is asks the audience to make predictions on as they enter the theatre. They write down what they think will happen in the world during the next four years.

"I then have 20 minutes to create a show from their suggestions,'' said Mark. "We have a great laugh doing it, every night is different. We can go from climate change to singing Bohemian Rhapsody in falsetto. We can cover a man who believes his neighbour has stolen his cat to the more apocalyptic forecasts such as Trump, North Korea, Brexit and terror attacks on the communities,'' said Mark, who will be stopping off in Swindon as part of his UK tour.

While always knowing that comedy was what he wanted to do and where he felt most at home, Mark has always had a healthy dose of scepticism when it comes to politics. He is never afraid to speak out against human rights violations or unjust laws and goes where angels fear to tread to advance his campaigns, including going undercover investigating the practice of avoiding inheritance tax, arms trading and working as chairman of the Ilssu Dam Campaign in the Kurdish area of Turkey.

"It was a recovering war zone at the time and my mate said to me always remember when you are talking to these people to leave your footprint very lightly. He mean't I could leave but these people did not have the freedom of a British passport,'' he said.

The campaign was to block the development of a large scale hydroelectric dam which they believed would lead to the displacement of up to 78,000 Kurds.

"I can remember being the secret police who would follow us, very obviously, in a car and then swap to a tank,'' said Mark.

The comedian decided to go for a stroll while in the Middle East. He walk the length of the Israeli Separation Barrier between Israel and Pakistan.

"I had some amazing encounters on the West Bank. It is not all check points and soldiers. There are fields of purple poppies and clusters of chocolate brown lillies. I can remember foraging for wild asparagus,'' said Mark, who quickly discovered not everyone saw it that way.

"I met an ex Israeli soldier and said to him how beautiful was the scene in front of us. His reply was that he only saw landscape where there was a hill small enough for his troops to climb, part of the wall that had not been repaired, and he was suspicious of an old Arab wandering in the distance,'' said Mark.

"Then I met a Palestinian and his answer was that he couldn't afford to see the beauty because it could be gone in a moment.''

Mark created his stand up show Walking The Wall based on his experiences and it was shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and his book Extreme Rambling also told the story.

His latest scribblings are a collection of three plays in one book, The Liar's Quartet.

"My books are a proper job, they won awards and things,'' said Mark. "The problem with being a stand up comedian is that you believe you are only as good as your last gig, so it it great to have three plays published.''

Mark came to fame on BBC Radio 1's The Mary Whitehouse Experience as guest comic, he had his own TV show The Mark Thomas Product and appeared on Saturday Zoo and Have I Got New For You and hosted his Despatches programmes on Channel 4.

Mark takes his gamble on the future in Swindon's Art Centre, Devizes Road, Old Town on Tuesday, November 14. Tickets are £18.50 from 01793 524481 or visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk - Flicky Harrison