Dad and toddler internet act who scooped Scottish Comedy awards have sights set on TV stardom
Mark Nelson jokes his three-year-old girl Isla has ‘smashed the glass ceiling’ for toddler comics after she was named best actress at the Scottish Comedy Awards.
- 06:00, 3 AUG 2017
Mark Nelson and his wee daughter have become internet sensations, amassing 100million views.
This week, three-year-old Isla was named best actress at the Scottish Comedy Awards, while their hit
video series, The News at 3, won best online comedy.
After becoming the most talked about double act in Scotland, the pair are now hoping to become TV stars.
Mark, 36, admitted: “I would love to do something with it but unfortunately I don’t make the decisions.
“I’d like to think more than 100million worldwide views would maybe convince someone at the BBC.”
The News at 3 was produced for BBC Scotland’s Facebook page.
Starting when Isla was just two, it has seen the cute little girl tackling topics including Donald Trump, elections and Easter.
If there was any doubt that Isla is a Scottish comedy sensation, that ended when she landed her award this week – beating Jane McCarry, who plays Isa in Still Game, Doon Mackichan of Two Doors Down and Karen Bartke, who is Officer Karen in Scot Squad.
Speaking after his daughter’s win, Mark, who is from Dumfries but now lives in Glasgow, said: “We are absolutely delighted that News at 3 has won these awards. I think it’s about time three-year-old Scottish comedians were recognised.
“She’s delighted to have smashed that glass ceiling.”
Isla is still undecided about whether she wants to follow her dad into the world of stand-up.
But Mark admitted: “I would like it if she set her sights higher than a comedian. We only really need one anxious manic depressive in the house.”
He added that winning the award won’t change Isla at all.
Mark said: “She gets recognised quite a bit but totally takes it in her stride. She is an extremely down to earth wee girl, so don’t expect to see her in The Loft bar any time soon.”
Despite her young age, Isla has become the target of online trolls – especially after one sketch in which she builds a wall with toy bricks and tells her dad she’s “playing Donald Trump”.
When Mark scolds her, saying she’s too young to be doing that, she deadpans: “I know, I really have to dumb down.”
It’s comedy gold but not everyone liked it. But those negative responses won’t put the pair off.
Mark said: “Absolutely we will carry on. The internet, and Facebook in particular, is just a holding pen for imbeciles. I find replying to some of the more extreme ones quite fun.”
For those who have watched the online clips, it’s clear that Isla is a natural in front of the camera.
She delivers Mark’s lines as if they’ve just popped into her head.
It wasn’t always like that and Mark admitted that initially it took many takes to get it right.
He said: “It doesn’t take anywhere near as long to film them any more. It used to take hours.
“The way we do it is I’ll write a basic script and then we just kind of play around with it.
“Sometimes Isla will come out with things that are a lot funnier than what I’ve originally written.
“She’s started directing herself now, which is hilarious.”
The News at 2, as it was first called last year, came about when BBC Scotland approached Mark to do something for their Short Stuff strand.
He said: “I wanted to do something topical. As I’m a stand-up and my job is mostly at night, I was sat about with Isla and her wee brother all day anyway, so it seemed the perfect fit.
“We’ve done about 10 now. The latest was a special we made for The One Show. We never expected it to get as big as it has done.”
The first clip saw then two-year-old Isla setting the world to rights as she and her dad sat on the family coach calling for bankers to be jailed, Trident to be scrapped and laughing at Trump’s hair, which they likened to a “dead fox”.
In another video, Isla lampooned Theresa May’s campaign slogan, saying: “Strong and stable, strong and stable, that’s all she says. It’s a government, Dad, not IKEA furniture.”
When asked how she felt about yet another election, Isla echoed most of our feelings as she retorted: “I’m sick of elections.
“They’re closing my nursery. It was my turn in the sandpit on Thursday.”
Another favourite was Isla’s views on Easter eggs, which ended with the punch line: “You know what I really don’t get? Bunnies don’t even lay eggs.”