Meet Tom Thostrup

Telly And The Titini

Juggling charity work with my day job of running a small TV production company isn’t easy, but it does occasionally have its benefits. Last Friday we did a day of filming for Ellie’s Friends with Kayvan Novak, a.k.a. the Fonejacker, who I have worked with for many years.

I’ve been working in television production since 2000 but my comedy career only really started to take off after I met Ellie in 2009. That year I produced Channel 4 show Facejacker with Kayvan and that led to further comedy projects, whereas previously I had produced or directed a very eclectic bunch of shows in different genres, including property, travel, quiz and reality programmes, with a wildlife documentary in Africa thrown in for good measure.

My old friend Michael (whose wife is also called Ellie) had been working in comedy for a number of years and together we decided to set up a company, 2LE Media, named after our two Ellies. We made our first series for E4, The Work Experience, around the time Ellie died and afterwards I threw myself into work as well as setting up the charity, trying my best to make a success of the two organisations that bear Ellie’s name.

Recently, to help with fundraising for the charity Ellie’s brother had the fun idea of creating a cocktail that looks like a breast, and Michael’s spark of genius was to call it a ‘Titini’. With the only brief being that it had to be boob-like in appearance we went through the process of finding a bartender to help us create a delicious, yet appropriate looking drink.

We found a wonderful bartender called Tom at a place called the Cosy Kettle, and ended up creating three versions of the Titini; the classic Titini comprising Malibu, pineapple juice and grenadine with a raspberry floating in the middle; a Titini Noir, comprising amaretto, Frangelico and espresso (to be inclusive of the non-white-boobed population); and the Virgin Titini, a non-alcoholic version with pineapple juice, grenadine and honey which we developed with the awareness of the link between breast cancer and alcohol.

To promote our new cocktail I asked Kayvan to play his popular Facejacker character Brian Badonde who would learn from Tom how to make the Titini. With Kayvan’s interest Soho House agreed to host the event and let us use their well-stocked bar and we even found some ladies there who agreed to be guinea pigs and try the cocktails on camera.

It was a great shoot and despite Facejacker’s  absence from our screens Brian remains a much-loved character. We got plenty of attention after the cocktail shoot as he hit the streets of Camden, visiting the nitro ice cream parlour Chin Chin Labs, where we made an ice cream version of the Titini.

As the main goal of Ellie’s Friends is to improve the lives of people living with cancer by getting different types of freebies we don’t directly ask people for money, so our goal is to get the Titini stocked in as many bars as possible, with a small cut of the sales going towards the running of the charity. So far we have the confirmed involvement of The Somers Town Coffee House NW1, The Gorringe Park SW17, The Vic E3, The Goldsmiths Arms SE20, The Palmerston SE22 and The Cat & Mutton E8. We would love to involve some bars and pubs outside of London too.

Whatever happens with the Titini, Ellie’s Friends will keep trying to help people and hopefully my experience in TV comedy will enable us to promote our activities in entertaining and occasionally unexpected ways.