Michael Marshall (Smith) was born in England in 1965. He spent his early years in the United States, South Africa and Australia, returning to England in 1973. He attended Chigwell School in Essex and then went up to King's College, Cambridge, where he read Philosophy and Social and Political Science. He also became heavily involved in the Cambridge Footlights, serving as a committee member and writing and performing many shows including the 1987 UK and 1988 US Tours. He subsequently co-wrote and performed two award-winning series of BBC Radio 4's cult show AND NOW, IN COLOUR.