GRAHAM Phillips could soon be the first comedian from Dundee to end up in The Hague.

He was condemned by MPs in the House of Commons this week for his interview with a British prisoner of war taken captive by the Russians during the Ukraine conflict.

In the 45-minute video film, Phillips interrogates Aiden Aslin, who surrendered to Russian forces after fighting in the besieged city of Mariupol last week.

He tells the viewers that the man, despite being handcuffed and clearly injured and surrounded by Russian soldiers is speaking of his own free will.

It would be funny if it wasn’t so grim.

Though Phillips – like Aslin – was born in Newcastle, he lived in Tayside and was according to one contemporary: “Very much of Dundee, which doesn’t come over in current press stuff. Scottish accent, never thought of him as anything other than a Dundonian.”

He was a regular on Scotland’s fledgling stand-up comedy circuit in the late 1990s and early 2000s, performing alongside Frankie Boyle and Miles Jupp under the name Brandon Reed.

He worked a lot with another comic who went by the name Ben Darcy, who ran regular comedy nights in the city.

One comedian who worked with Phillips described him as confident and assured, even if the audiences were indifferent. “I’m pretty sure Graham once struck a heckler with a beer bottle,” the comic said.

Tommy Sheppard, the MP for Edinburgh East, who founded the Stand Comedy Club in 1998, has only vague memories of Phillips.

“In the early days of The Stand there were a lot of people trying their hand at comedy. I don’t remember him being particularly ... well, obviously he’s chosen not to follow that career.”

He took his own show to The Stand for the Fringe in 2001 – From Dundee To Tennessee – where he visited three different towns called Dundee and reported back on what he found.

“The effect is like being bored to death by someone talking you through an hour’s worth of holiday photos,” The Scotsman wrote.

In 2001, he ran the campaign to have David Hasselhoff elected as Dundee University’s Rector.

The contest was between the Baywatch star, Fred MacAulay, the late Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley, Tory MSP Nick Johnston, and Stirling University lecturer Professor Abd al-Fattah El-Awaisi.

However, Hasselhoff was forced to withdraw his nomination as he could only commit to visiting the university once a year. MacAulay ultimately prevailed.

In the introduction to the interview with Aslin, Phillips claimed he is not breaching the Geneva Convention as the captured man is a “mercenary”. That, however, is not true. According to his family, Aslin moved to Ukraine in 2018, where he met his girlfriend and settled down in Mykolaiv. He had been serving as a marine in Ukraine’s military before Russia launched its invasion.

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, Aslin’s local MP, Robert Jenrick, said Phillips was “in danger of prosecution of war crimes”.

It was, he added, “a flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention”.

Phillips first went to Ukraine when travelling as an away fan to an England football match. He quit his job at the now defunct government Central Office of Information and moved full-time to the country in 2011 to become some sort of gonzo journalist, blogging reviews of brothels.

It didn’t take long for him to fall in with the pro-Moscow separatist groups in the east of the country.

He is a prolific YouTuber, and his channel has received more than 100 million views.

He was briefly hired by the Kremlin-backed RT news as a freelance journalist – although he never gained full-time employment with the outlet, and says he makes his money through donations from viewers “who want to see the truth”.

More recently, Phillips was back in the UK, filming himself at anti-Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations against the lockdowns.

When the war started, he flew back to Ukraine, uploading videos nearly every day, most of them attempting to counter the “propaganda” of the Western media.

One of his most recent films claims that the Bucha massacre where Ukrainian civilians, their hands bound behind their backs, were shot at point-blank range, was “staged”.

On Friday, YouTube finally removed Phillips’s interview with Aslin, and said that the blogger’s account would no longer make money from advertisements.