Newark, Newark sitcom 'a homecoming' for Mathew Horne

By Jennifer Harby & PA news agency
BBC News

Published
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Mathew (pictured here with Morgana Robinson) said he felt the role of Terry was "a huge departure"

Gavin and Stacey star Mathew Horne is back on the box but, this time, in a sitcom closer to home. BBC News finds out more.

Newark, Newark has felt like somewhat of a homecoming for Mathew Horne.

As the title suggests, the comedy - which starts on Gold on 28 March - is set in the Nottinghamshire town, not far from where Horne, 43, grew up.

"I was born and raised 10 miles from Newark, and I went to school five miles away, so I know the area and I know those people," he said.

Like Gavin and Stacey, the sitcom has amassed an outstanding ensemble cast, including Morgana Robinson who plays the ex-wife of Horne's Terry.

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Horne grew up just a few miles from where the sitcom is set

Audiences watch Terry going to ever more extreme lengths to win her back.

Meanwhile, the couple's son Leslie (Jai Hollis) comes out as gay while Beverley Callard, beloved by Coronation Street fans, plays the family's grandmother.

Horne said playing Terry was a "huge departure".

"I've been around an atmosphere and a generation of men who've been through the same things as Terry," he said.

"I feel like he's somebody I know very well, and I recognise the tragedy in him.

"But I also sympathise with Terry, because I will end up being him - he is part of me because of where I'm from.

"Terry's a very appropriate character for me, although a huge departure in terms of my acting and my career.

"He's deeply tragic, but I also wanted him to be likeable and for people to understand the damage he's suffered."

He said that when he was sent the scripts he was, in fact, on the train to Newark at the time.

Image source, PA Media
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Horne is best-known for his stint in the BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey

"It all felt very serendipitous, and the producers didn't even know I'm from that area," he said.

"This was an absolute no-brainer for me.

"The script really spoke to me, and I recognised everything in it. Terry also gave me the opportunity to use my accent, which I lost when I was 16 or 17."

The comedy rings with the difficult-to-imitate Notts accent - but, for Horne, the return to his roots felt very natural.

"It means so much on both a professional level and a personal level," he said.

"On a professional level, I'm so grateful to be given this opportunity because on paper that role is not one you would offer to me. I still don't quite know why they did.

"On a personal level it's wonderful to go home and work and make a show which is set five miles from the school where I started acting 25 years ago."

Image source, UKTV
Image caption,
He said working with the all-star cast was "wonderful"

The character of Terry - a well-meaning deadbeat who completely fails to understand his ex - is a very different matter from his clean-cut incarnation as Gavin, one half of television comedy's sweetest young couples. But, for Horne, the change was refreshing.

"Terry genuinely can't understand what he's done wrong," he said.

"The best years of his life were when he was 18. I've met men like that; they still dress how they did when they were 18 because that was when they were at their peak.

"However, this means whenever he's faced with emotional situations, his emotions default to that period because he hasn't emotionally progressed from that point in his life."

He said working with Beverley Callard and Morgana Robinson was "absolutely wonderful" - but he also paid tribute to the young actors in the cast.

"We have some fantastic new talent on Newark, Newark and I hope they have very bright futures, he said.

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