Mark Dowd was born in December 1959 in Salford, Manchester. He has been a devoted Manchester United fan ever since he witnessed his father tearing around the lounge with passionate excitement after they secured the European Cup at Wembley in 1968.
Raised a Roman Catholic, Mark read politics at Exeter University before trying his vocation to the priesthood with the Dominican Order at Blackfriars, Oxford in 1981. After realising that the life of a friar was not for him, Mark went on to read International Relations at St Antony’s Oxford and from there used his studies as a way into journalism with The Times newspaper.
Since 1987, he has worked in TV with Weekend World, Newsnight and Panorama. In 2001 he left the BBC and went freelance, specialising in presenting programmes on religion aired in prime time TV slots. Amongst his documentary output are: Abused and Catholic (2003) and the award-winning Children of Abraham (2004): a three part series for Channel Four looking at inter-religious strife in the post 9/11 world. Hallowed Be Thy Game, (Jan 2005) asked if football was the new religion and featured rare interviews on faith and sport with Sir Alex Ferguson and Michael Owen.
Tsunami: Where was God? : a two hour special for Channel Four, tried to penetrate one of the hardest religious conundrums: belief in an Almighty, benevolent Creator in the wake of suffering and hardship. This programme won the Radio Times best religious documentary of the year award in May 2006. Following this, Mark won the national award for Religious Broadcaster of the Year from the Churches’ Media Council in June of the same year
In 2007, Mark fronted God is Green, a film which encouraged the world’s faiths to take more of an active lead on the climate issue. In the documentary, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, was successfully challenged to give up flying for a year.
Because of the seriousness of the global warming issue, in January 2008, Mark moved to work full time for Operation Noah, an ecumenical campaigning body based in London with whom he worked for three years.
He continues to work as a freelance broadcaster. During the 2010 papal visit he worked with the BBC on radio on “The Pope’s British Divisons” on Radio 4 on 9th Sept and on BBC2, “Benedict: Trials of a Pope,” and travelled to Argentina after the election of Pope Francis in 2013 to make a documentary about the Church’s first Jesuit pontiff.
Currently Mark is engaged in a lot of media training with NGOs, charities and other bodies and is a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s weekday Daily Service, a programme dedicated to Christian prayer and reflection. In 2017 Darton Longman and Todd published his autobiography, Queer and Catholic: a Life of Contradiction.
Among Mark’s numerous hobbies and interests, is being a very recent new dog owner! Fergus is Mark’s first dog…a pedigree Border Collie who is described in one simple word..” Indefatigable!
The Quest For God In A Broken World
My Tsunami Journey
How to reconcile belief in a loving God with the suffering of innocent human beings and earthly creatures in the natural world?
This question, as old as the Old Testament’s Book of Job, has been mainly grappled with over the centuries by learned theologians and philosophers. But in this groundbreaking work, the author is sent on a journey across thousands of miles to speak to Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians like himself following the 2004 colossal Tsunami waves that killed more than 230,000 people.