Mark Evans Shares His Motoring DelightsPosted on: 04 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
The award-winning veterinary surgeon, amateur engineer, television presenter and author lifts the lid on his favourite motors.
Mark became involved in TV by accident. In 1990 he complained about an item on TVam that made fun of fat pets. As an olive branch, the producer offered a very irate Mark the chance to be a guest on the show and offer his personal and professional advice to a 23-stone woman and her massively obese cat. True to form, he was honest, amusing, direct and controversial. He didn't go down too well with her, but the producers and viewers loved it!
Since his fat-busting first steps into the media back in 1990 Mark has rarely been away from the small screen. He has now fronted over 1,000 shows on a diverse range of subjects including pets, animal welfare, wildlife, gardening, interior design, travel, DIY, science, cars and practical engineering.
Over the last ten years Mark has also worked as a producer on a variety of shows and he co-devised a number of successful formats including Pet Rescue (Channel 4), Dream Machine (Five) and A Car Is Born (Discovery Real Time/Home & Leisure).
Mark admits he probably first became interested in cars and motoring before he even arrived on earth.
“I’d say before birth. My dad taught me to service the family cars when I was about 11-years-old. My first restoration was a Triumph Herald convertible when I was 17.”
His passion for motors and television career combined to form one of the most globally successful workshop-based programs in 1999, when the Is Born series came to the Discovery Channel.
“I was doing some work for Discovery’s Animal Planet in the late 1990s and heard via the grapevine that its Home and Leisure channel was looking for a DIY build car show,” says Mark
“I introduced myself to the right people and together with a friend, pitched A Car Is Born. We never thought in a million years it would turn into the global brand it has. Our main aim was to cover our costs, make a little bit of cash and have a damn good laugh.”
Picking a favourite project is a struggle in itself but the series did allow Mark to realise a lifelong dream.
“It’s impossible to say what was my favourite project as they were all so different.”
“A 4x4 Is Born allowed me to live a very long standing dream. I loved Land Rovers as a kid and my first bank account was referred to by the family as my Land Rover Trust Fund. It took me 40 years but I got there in the end.”
“I’d have loved to have got stuck into loads more. I was really keen to do a Mini Cooper and a MK1 Escort, a VW Camper Van, a classic boat, a tank… the list is endless.”
Mark even keeps in touch with Pete “mate” and the “bloke from Stoke” but admits “not as often as I’d like but I do. They’re both great blokes and good friends too.”
So it may be a surprise to hear Mark’s vehicle of choice for the road.
“I drive a 14-year-old Peugeot 306 Diesel that a mate gave me because it needed some engine work and major suspension repair. The parts cost me less than £100 and I have now done over 9,000 miles in it. That’s cheap motoring,” says Mark.
In fact, Mark has only ever bought two brand new cars.
“I’ve had far too many cars to remember. The last “everyday” car I bought was a Porsche 996 about five years ago and that was second hand.”
“The only two cars I’ve bought brand new are a Peugeot 405 Estate and a Volvo V70.”
With the Is Born series now over, Mark revealed that there are now online petitions set up to try and bring back the popular show.
“I’ve got nothing for Discovery coming up – they have moved away from my kind of engineering shows. Which I think is a real shame. Not just because I would love to be back in the workshop, but because it is clear there are huge numbers of vehicle enthusiasts worldwide who don’t have their viewing needs met by TV.”
“The Is Born series were unique. I reply every week to emails from all over the world from viewers desperate for more of the same. All I can suggest is that they contact Discovery and tell them what they want to watch. It made me laugh earlier today when I found someone had started a petition under my name on Facebook – power to the people!”
And if you’re wondering what Mark’s dream car is, it’s “a really, really difficult question.”
“I’m not too fond of “affordable modern” or “trophy” cars, so if I had a pile of cash to burn on a car, I’d probably go for something like an Alvis or Lagonda.”
Signed copies of all Mark’s DVDs, including How Clean Is Your Car?, are only available from his online shop at www.markevans.co.uk.
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