Electricity with Thomas Maximilian Held

We wanted to meet up with comedian, stage and film actor Thomas M. Held on a sunny autumn day in Munich and were sure that his journey from his home in the Eifel region in a KIA electric Niro EV would not prove to be an adventure. Only our protagonist, as he confessed on his punctual arrival, initially felt a certain tingling sensation about his first long-distance trip in an all-electric vehicle. As expected, however, the notorious spectre of range anxiety did not materialise, so his journey turned out to be extremely relaxed.

We chose some unusual locations for the shoot with Thomas M. Held

Genuine all-rounder
A glance at the portrait of our interviewee reveals not only the wide range of his artistic talents, but also his many sporting passions – from gymnastics and sailing to road cycling, triathlon and motorsport. It is also remarkable that, in addition to German and English, his language skills also include such diverse dialects as Rhenish, Viennese and Styrian. As it turned out in the course of our highly amusing encounter, Thomas Held could easily appear on an Upper Bavarian folk theatre stage, not as the “Preiß”, who likes to be overdrawn as know-it-all and doltish, but in a role as a local.

It all started with making music
Thomas spent his childhood and youth constantly commuting between Cologne and his family in the Styrian Mürztal. As his father worked internationally as a civil engineer, he also spent several years in Oman and Abu Dhabi.

Born in Cologne-Porz in the Rhineland in 1972, the Austrian’s artistic path began musically from an early age, when he learnt to play the flute and drums. After leaving school, he eventually became a flute player in the military band in Graz. When asked about his future career, he mentioned his work as a timpanist. However, contrary to what we assumed at first, the title did not refer to a teaching position, but to that of a classical percussionist in the Cologne Concert Choir.

Thomas spent his childhood and youth constantly commuting between Cologne and his family in the Styrian Mürztal. As his father worked internationally as a civil engineer, he also spent several years in Oman and Abu Dhabi.

Born in Cologne-Porz in the Rhineland in 1972, the Austrian’s artistic path began musically from an early age, when he learnt to play the flute and drums. After leaving school, he eventually became a flute player in the military band in Graz. When asked about his future career, he mentioned his work as a timpanist. However, contrary to what we assumed at first, the title did not refer to a teaching position, but to that of a classical percussionist in the Cologne Concert Choir.

At home in many genres
Thomas’ interest in acting also began in his early youth, when he came into contact with pantomime at the age of 14 during a school theatre internship. While he was still training as an actor at the theatre “Der Keller” in Cologne, choreographer Jochen Ulrich brought him into his chamber play “Lucrezia Borgia” and Traugott Buhre to the Schauspielhaus Köln.

This was followed by engagements at the Landesbühne Marburg, Schauspiel Wuppertal, Theatre National Luxembourg and the Bad Hersfeld Festival. He went on tour with Jürgen von der Lippe in “Die wollen nur spielen”.

Word soon got around about his comedic talent, which even the grand master of British humour John Cleese attested to during the filming of the German remake of “Fawlty Towers” for RTL. You can’t get more accolade than that! So it was only logical that Thomas Held became known to a wider audience in 2003, initially through the long-running comedy production “Sechserpack” on Sat 1.

In the serious field, he was inspired by his detail-loving mentor, the well-known actor and director Hans Michael Rehberg, who taught him the art of reduction. His cinematic highlight is the intensive cinema shooting for the internationally cast film “Miracle at St. Anna” in Italy, directed by Spike Lee.He attributes the fact that the versatile performer is always ready to take on new challenges and break new ground not least to the encouragement and support of his mother, who taught him from an early age to seize opportunities with determination. These “doer impulses” coupled with great curiosity mean that he is always setting off for new shores, whether as the narrator of the audio book “Kein Sex ist auch keine Lösung” or by lending his voice to the character Julebukk in the play “Als der Weihnachtsmann vom Himmel fiel” for the Augsburger Puppenkiste. Or by adopting a decidedly Oxford accent for a play at the Théâtre National du Luxembourg. Visitors were recently able to see for themselves that the multi-talented actor is also predestined for singing and dancing roles at the Kammertheater Karlsruhe, where Thomas Held took part in a musical for the first time. The name of the brilliant and quirky work “Cindy Reller” already indicates that this is an exciting and unusual project. Just the right adventure for those who are always looking for new challenges.

Environmentally conscious (pre-)maker
Our interviewee’s determination to leave the beaten track and take on challenges is by no means limited to his job. The fact that the father of three children has since rebuilt his three-sided farm in the Eifel region after it was completely destroyed by the flood disaster in July 2021 is testament to his hands-on character. Thomas describes the farm as his life’s work, which is all the more understandable as it is not just a special property. From the very beginning, he had the ambition to make his property energy self-sufficient. When he talks about the broad spectrum of his diverse, complementary technology solutions, his eyes light up – and our heads spin. There is talk of his photovoltaic system, an air/water heat pump, a water-bearing fireplace and a special underfloor heating system, an 800-litre thermal battery and a 14 kWh Powerwall energy storage system, to name just a few. The complex system is supplemented and secured by firewood, preferably from trees that have been blown down by storms. It is – of course – brought from the forest by the owner himself. Much to his delight, as it is transported using his old Steyr T 80 tractor, nicknamed the “15 Steyr” by experts due to its horsepower. Incidentally, the 400 V high-voltage splitter, which Thomas uses to split the large pieces of wood, is only used when the sun provides enough energy. And not purely for reasons of economy, but above all because he is fascinated by the immediate user life of his “solar power plant”.

One of the favourite reads of the environmentally committed actor is the nature and species conservation magazine MONDBERGE.

However, his commitment to sustainability is not limited to ingenious technical energy solutions; the preservation of biodiversity is also close to his heart. It goes without saying that this also includes chemical-free gardening.

Ever since the nature lover took a holiday job with a travelling beekeeper, he has been passionate about beekeeping and is now the proud owner of several colonies. Thomas’ industrious honey producers find plenty of food on unsprayed and unfertilised meadows, not only in his home garden with its numerous cherry trees, but also around the famous 700-year-old oak tree in Burgfey. They also contribute to the pollination of rare plants.

The keen racing cyclist is particularly passionate about his involvement in the annual “LILA LOGISTIK Charity Bike Cup” tour, the proceeds of which – most recently 60,000 euros – go to the STAR CARE e. V. charity, which uses the money to provide targeted support for regional aid projects, medical facilities, institutions for the disabled, children’s homes and childcare centres.

Convinced driver of the Niro EV
In his private life, Thomas Held drives a plug-in hybrid. He had already been impressed by the electric NIRO EV from Kia during a video shoot for the “Efficiency Challenge” with the ADAC, so he was all the more curious to test the long-distance capability of the fully electric vehicle.

Let’s get straight to the point: the test driver’s verdict was entirely positive. As the compact crossover can travel around 400 kilometres fully charged even on the motorway with a moderate driving style and relatively warm outside temperatures, Thomas only took one charging break on his e-trip of a good 500 kilometres, even though he likes to drive a little faster. He was particularly impressed by the above-average efficiency, i.e. the low consumption of well under 20 kWh per 100 kilometres. Not surprisingly, the Niro EV received five out of five possible stars in the ADAC Ecotest.

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From princely to casual-alternative, the Niro EV and its driver cut a fine figure

The actor with the racing genes also praised the powerful drive of the Niro EV, which ensures sporty driving performance. He also attested to the Korean electric car’s high level of driving comfort and good space up front. In his opinion, these characteristics make the test vehicle a car that is suitable for families and travelling. It is also important for him to mention that “driving electric” in no way made him feel like he was doing without, but on the contrary gave him a “contemplative new feeling”. The mere fact of being able to cover his mobility needs with self-produced solar energy is a fascinating gain for him.

Thomas’ electric car
The press department of KIA Germany provided the actor, comedian and musician Thomas M. Held with the “Niro EV Inspiration” model, a five-door mid-size SUV, for his e-trip.

Manufacturer’s specifications: Kia Niro EV 64.8 kWh battery (electric/reduction gearbox); 150 kW (204 hp): combined power consumption 16.2 kWh/100 km; efficiency class A+++. Range of up to 460 km.

Das künstlerische Multitalent versuchte sich am Ende noch als Graffiti-Sprayer

https://charity-bike-cup.de
https://www.starcare.de
https://www.kia.com/de/

Text: Peter Grett
Images: Lutz Dürichen/Touremo

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