Keith Horrobin

Keith looked like he had quite a good life.

Fact titleFact data
Played by:
Sean Connolly
Born:
1 December 1964
Status:
Occupation:
Former car dealer

But with recession hitting the car trade, it became harder and harder to finance wife Donna's exuberant spending habits.

Keith started to shift 'dodgy motors' for shady friends, and then fed them information about farm machinery ripe for the taking.

It started to go wrong when Adam Macy was assaulted during a heist. As part of the intimidation of sole witness David Archer, the gang forced Keith to torch a barn at Brookfield. When Keith's niece Emma Grundy shared her fears with the police, the whole crew was rounded up.

I just got in too deep
Keith Horrobin
  • Likes - Flashing the cash
  • Dislikes - Facing the music
  • Highs - Samantha's wedding (but not the associated expense)
  • Lows - Discovering he could have killed little George in the barn fire, his prison sentence

Immediate family

Sean Connolly

Brought up in Derbyshire, Sean moved to Birmingham in the mid eighties and trained at the Birmingham School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art, where he also met his wife. After graduating he decided to stay in the city. Soon after graduating Sean clinched his first theatre job playing the Cheshire Cat and Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland in Barnsley. He was very proud to get his Equity card playing a cat and an egg! His first taste of radio drama was at BBC Pebble Mill in the early nineties with Terry Molloy (Mike Tucker), Sean and Terry’s paths have continued to cross since that radio debut!

Extensive audio drama work for the BBC & Independent companies include: Ambridge Extra, US (with Adrian Lester), The Archers, Watership Down, Falco: The Silver Pigs and Falco: Shadows in Bronze, the Woman's Hour 5-part serial Bollywood Jane. Sean also worked regularly on Silver Street for the BBC Asian Network. As well as playing the on-going character of local community policeman PC Evans, he voiced 18 different roles (surely a Silver Street record). Another role for Silver Street was playing John Lennon in a special 60's flashback storyline. There has also been leading roles in audio adaptations of theatre classics such as The Wild Duck, The Ghost Train and Gaslight (opposite Emilia Fox and Terry Molloy again).

He is the official voice of the Horrid Henry series of books for BBC Radio (over 60 characters in 24 stories), provided all the male voices on the recent hit television show Little Prairie Dogs for CBeebies, worked with Aardman Animations on their cult classic series Rex the Runt (over 30 characters). In the world of Doctor Who, Sean can also lay claim to the title of ‘Grandfather of the Daleks’ having played Davros’ father in the Big Finish audio production of I-Davros. Davros is of course, another alter ego of Terry Molloy.

An animated short (for which he provided all the voices) by previous Oscar winners BreakThru Films - Papa’s Boy, just missed out on an Oscar nomination in 2012.

Sean’s theatre credits include: Ted Snarget in the children's classic Stig of The Dump (National Tour and West End), The Narrator in Frankie's Monster (Unicorn Theatre, London), Smee in Peter Pan (Midlands Arts Centre), Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet and Porthos in The Three Musketeers (Redditch Theatre Company), Boatswain and Adrian in The Tempest (Derby Playhouse in association with the National Theatre) and most recently Peter in the World Premier of Paddy Irishman, Paddy Englishman and Paddy...? (Birmingham Repertory Theatre). The play also enjoyed a hugely successful transfer to the Tricycle Theatre, London.

Screen credits include: on television - Doctors, No Angels, The Bill, Resnick, Woof, Boon and Jupiter Moon alongside feature film credits such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (opposite Stellan Skargard, Chris Penn and Paul Bettany), N.F.A and We Are The Freaks both for 104 Films and The Quiet One. Sean has recently co-produced his first feature film, the award-winning The Casebook of Eddie Brewer, starring Ian Brooker (Radio Borsetshire’s Wayne Foley) as Eddie Brewer.

Sean lives in Birmingham with his wife and 12 year old daughter.

Other career highlights

Having been a Doctor Who fan since the year dot, I’m particularly thrilled to have worked with Big Finish Productions, who produce the excellent audio adventures of the good Doctor. Having worked with previous Doctors; Paul McGann, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison, I only need Tom Baker for the set! It’s terrific work, a real privilege and doesn’t really feel like work at all!

Another big highlight was working with Aardman Animations on their cult claymation series Rex the Runt. I voiced around 30 characters on its second series in the same year my daughter was born, so lots of very happy memories. The week before it first went on air, the producer rang me to let me know that one of the characters I’d recorded called Handsome Rex, had been re-voiced. I was assured that it was nothing to do with my performance, they had managed to get Jonathan Ross to voice him - charming!

Archers highlights

In my short time playing Keith, there have been so many memorable moments already. I remember in my very first episode, Keith narrowly missed the Beast of Ambridge driving over to see Tracy and Susan and joked that it was probably Lynda Snell! I was quite nervous recording that first episode but knowing director Peter Leslie Wild and Susie Riddell (Tracy) helped me enormously.

Another highlight playing Keith (certainly on my wish list) was having a half in The Bull with Joe, you’ve not really arrived in Ambridge until you’ve had a half of Shires!

Of course the biggest thrill was being involved in the David and Ruth’s intimidation storyline culminating in the burning of their barn. I thought the writers did a fantastic job keeping the listeners guessing right up the last moment whether Keith was the actual ‘fire-starter’! When I joined the cast of The Archers, it wasn’t a surprise to me that it’s ended in a jail sentence for Keith, the male Horrobins don’t have a terribly good track record!

Sean's thoughts on Keith Horrobin

I’m sure when he comes out, he’ll become a pillar of the Ambridge community
Sean Connolly

I don’t think Keith is an intrinsically bad person, he’s not really in the same league as his brother Clive. He genuinely loves his kids and his wife Donna and he wants to do the best by them. Times have been tough for Keith financially and he’s made some very bad decisions. He has plenty of time while inside, to take a good hard look at his life. I’m sure when he comes out, he’ll become a pillar of the Ambridge community, after all he is a Horrobin!

Favourite

  • Actor - Denzel Washington – He makes screen acting look effortless.
  • Book - The Damned United by David Peace – I loved the way it blurs the fact and fiction during Brian Clough’s tenures at Derby County and Leeds United. This was the era I went to my first football match. As a teenager in Derby I played in front of Brian Clough, sadly he didn’t offer me a footballing apprenticeship.
  • Film - Sons of the Desert (Laurel and Hardy) – Being a life long fan of Laurel and Hardy, it’s perfection in my book.

I'd still like to...

Professionally, I‘d love to work on an animation series, providing voices for drawn characters as opposed to stop motion characters as I have already done for Aardman.

Personally, I would love to travel to New Zealand, it seems to have every landscape possible.

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