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Back Story

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  6,933 ratings  ·  511 reviews
David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.

As well as giving a specific account of every
Paperback, 326 pages
Published May 23rd 2013 by Harper (first published October 11th 2012)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  6,933 ratings  ·  511 reviews

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Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm only a little way through this so far but I am LOVING it. It helps that I really like David Mitchell, he makes me laugh a lot, and this book is making me like him more. It's pretty much a book about nothing - sort of going for a walk and getting diverted with rambling anecdotes about childhood and random opinions. I quite like descriptions of walks (I enjoy Clare Balding Goes For A Walk on radio 4, for example), and his diversions are pretty much his panel show persona, so for me it works.

Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a big fan of autobiographies, but I am a big fan of David Mitchell; these facts seem to have averaged out into a 3 star rating.

As I read, it was David Mitchell's voice telling me the anecdotes in my head. This was a really positive thing about the book; he didn't write with pretension, rather he wrote as himself. It felt like an honest memoir which made it instantly likeable and interesting.

I guess for me, the first half was disappointing. I got the impression that David Mitchell had a f
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I laughed out loud several times throughout my reading. David Mitchell is hilarious, whether in print or on my TV screen and I'm glad to have read his memoir. He's still pretty young so I imagine he'll write another one eventually. I thought the mushy chapter about falling in love and getting married was a little bit strange as it didn't really fit in with his persona throughout all the rest of the book, but it still made me tear up and feel very happy for him.

I would definitely recommend this b
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
First coming across him as Peep Show‘s Mark, and since then on That Mitchell and Webb Look and the ten thousand comedy panel shows that litter the Dave channel, I find David Mitchell very, very funny. Which is why, when finding myself feeling rather down, I chose to read his autobiography. And while Back Story didn’t raise many belly laughs, it was still an amusing and pleasant way to pass some time.

David Mitchell would be the first to admit that he’s not had the most drama-filled life, having h
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love David Mitchell, the comedian (I am partial to David Mitchell, the novelist, as well, but that's another story), although I discovered this brilliant man rather recently and I can't seem to get enough of him, so I was hoping that his memoir would resemble his comical persona. And it did - it grabbed me from the very first page (I counted that I laughed out loud five times while reading this particular page). It wasn't a piss-myself-from-laughing kind of book for me (although David, ...more
Simon Howard
As with all celebrity autobiographies, if you’re a fan of the celebrity, there’s a high probability that you’ll enjoy the book. If not, you’re unlikely to read it anyway. That’s a point that’s made often, but that probably bears repeating.

The structure of this book is slightly novel, in that it follows Mitchell on a walk around London, with reminisces and comic riffs inspired by things he sees along the way. I think it’s fair to say that little of the content is deeply insightful: it’s mildly em
Vilde H
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I didn´t know much about David Mitchell before I read this book other than what little he has shared on Would I Lie To You? I thought this was a good memoir, but then again, I haven´t read any other memoirs before. Maybe this book is horrible compared to other of its kind, maybe it´s a masterpiece. All I can say is that I enjoyed it. This is also coincidentally my first voluntary book review, so this is a time for many new experiences.

David Mitchell takes us for a walk around different parts of
Kate O'Hanlon
Audible's relatively spotty collection has led to me buying a few titles that I would never ever otherwise consume. A celebrity memoir? Really? Who am I?

David Mitchell is a likeable, middle-class, small c conservative British comedian. I enjoyed his book, in no small part because it's read by the author and I find his voice reassuring (I usually find middle class British accents reassuring, a fact that I find strangely disconcerting.)

Mitchell grows up the eldest son of two former hoteliers turne
Oda Renate
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun memoir about a funny guy.(sorry for the lame intro just had to use it.)
The pictures that are included are a nice touch, and the way he navigates the book through his walk is a interesting and fun detail.
I like David Mitchell, I liked listening to David Mitchell read about David Mitchell. I liked hearing David Mitchell drop the C word many times with a delightfully posh British accent.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
David Mitchell is a good egg, and, if you agree with that statement, you should find much to enjoy and amuse in Back Story.

David Mitchell takes us on a walk around his neighbourhood in London. Walking has worked wonders for his back trouble, and made him a bit more svelte. David Mitchell being David Mitchell does not want you to think he is too pleased about this, even though he is.

We also learn about his childhood, formative years, university life including getting into the Cambridge Footlight
Charlotte Jones
I have been meaning to listen to this book for years and for some reason have only just got around to it.  Unfortunately I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It wasn't bad by any means, I just think that my expectations were very high and I was slightly disappointed in the end. 

I found that the 'story' hooked me at the beginning and the very end but there was a section in the middle that didn't really keep my interest. I loved hearing about David's childhood and university expe
Tom Boniface-Webb
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Really enjoyed this bio. I agree with a lot of the ways Mitchell thinks about the world, and a don’t agree on some too... but I certainly enjoy his delivery.

The less said about his public school to Cambridge to Channel 4 TV show and BBC panel shows via the old boys network, the better, but we’ll let him off because he’s funny! And he doesn’t vote Tory...
Nathan McConville
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. His childhood seemed more amusing than adulthood via his memoir. But this is probably the case with anybody going into adulthood. Best if you know the Author so you can hear his voice as you read it.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much what you'd expect in a David Mitchell book (not the novelist, the comedian, as he will emphatically remind you throughout this biography). Lots of dry, sardonic, British wit, a few choice rants(some of which are retreads from his Soap Box video series) and the comedic talent to write everything in a humourous fashion.

The first half of the book is a bit stronger, since it relates experiences we've all been through (e.g. childhood, awkwardness, school, etc.) while the second half has
J.V. Seem
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I watch and listen to a lot of British comedy, and David Mitchell is wonderful. I much enjoy his logical rants.

This is a very funny memoir. Isn't that just the most disappointing thing, to read a really depressing memoir by a comedian. This is definitely not one of those. That's not to say that David Mitchell hasn't had hard times just like the rest of us, but he always manages to write them with humor and irony.

The book springs from a simple walk in the author's neighborhood, and from its sight
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plenty of hilarious anecdotes to be found here - and if you're a long-time fan of Mitchell's, as I am, you'll basically be hearing his voice as you read this - but the chapter about his wife is simply one of the sweetest, most charming and straightforward accounts of being hopelessly in love I've read in a long time.
Erik Zilinek
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

5 Stars? 5 Stars. I no doubt am biased toward Mark, erm, David, for any number of reasons, but reading this book by way of Audible with Mitchell himself narrating, the asides, the pauses, the humour, umm, humor, translates in ways that my English accent just couldn't and wouldn't have.
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, comedy
Being a big fan of David Mitchell I found this autobiography great.

Davy Buntinx
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audioboek
Lovely written autobiography. Audiobook performance above par.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
i'm almost obsessively in love with David Mitchell and with his comedy. Therefore Im almost obsessively in love with this book.
Claire Jones
May 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read the whole thing in less than a day. Really enjoyed it, it seemed to hit my level of humour just right. Felt a lot more 'honest' than most comedians' autobiographies.
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I absolutely love David Mitchell! Sorry this is over.
Abi McManigan
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are the memoirs of David Mitchell, a British comedy writer and actor. I fell in love with his work when Peep Show started and have loved him ever since.

I've said before that I'm fascinated with the psychology of performers and this book gave me a great insight into how a career such as David's is set from a young age. The journey he describes of first doing school productions at his posh boy's school and then moving onto Cambridge Footlights is really interesting.

I loved how he goes into t
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: selflove
So, I feel a little confused as to how much I enjoyed this. Aptly, I popped this book in my 'self-love' category - which is probably the most fickle of categories I have on here - because I wanted to read something a bit twee-&-easy across the few days I have off from work.

I don't enjoy comedy, and I generally tend to steer away from Mitchell these days as our politics can be pretty divergent. Note, I do like joy. And I do like to laugh. I just dislike the presumption that I am supposed to laugh
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a world away from my normal choice of reading, but David Mitchell has been filming for his new series in our area recently and I was curious to find out a bit more about him. I've seen him in Jam and Jerusalem, and heard him on various Radio 4 panel games but didn't really know much more about him.

It's not really a 'tell-all' autobiography - thank goodness - but it is very funny and entertaining. When I started the book I half expected to get a few chapters in and decide I'd had eno
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: purchased
A nice look into the life of the author as it provides a perspective on what has made the person and the on-screen persona that has come to be so well-liked and is so superbly funny, or as Rob Brydon would say in his squeaky Mitchell voice ''Posh and repressed''. The book has funny little anecdotes from his personal life and his growing years, a number of which have made hilarious on-screen bits too. It makes the person even more likable and as David would say at least as good or worse and the r ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I watched "That Mitchell and Webb look" thrice now, and this has failed to produce a new season I started listening to this book, narrated by David Mitchell himself. This was wonderful and I cannot imagine have read it trying to make my inner dialog sound like him.
I had quite a few laugh-out-loud moments and the story moved me sometimes. This is not a revolutionary auto-biography as I'm sure Mitchell intended it (by which I mean he did not intend it to be a revolutionary book). As he rep
Jill Bowman
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I’ve seen David Mitchell a few times through the years I really only know him from the comedy panel show Would I Lie to You? I find him very funny, quick, and smart on that show.
The book takes place in the years before WILTY, but I enjoyed it... a lot. I’ll be watching some of his ‘back story’ (so to speak) shows on YouTube now.
I liked his personal stories, especially hearing that he’s such good friends with Olivia Colman.
I’m not certain if anyone who isn’t already a fan would enjoy it
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audio and I adored it! However I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed reading it as much as listening to it. I find him very humerous and loved that he narrated it himself. Overall it was a good fun listen although nothing mind blowing (which to be fair it wasn't marketed as anything mindblowing). I would highly recommend a listen if you like him.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

David Mitchell is a British actor, comedian and writer. He is one half of the comedic duo Mitchell and Webb, alongside Robert Webb, whom he met at Cambridge University. There they were both part of the Cambridge Footlights, of which Mitchell became President. Together the du

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