EAST Durham actress Gina McKee says a new comedy will help to shine a light on North East life.
Set in the South Tyneside town it’s named after, the six-part series, Hebburn, will hit screens tonight on BBC2.
Former East Durham College student Gina, who was raised in Easington and Peterlee, has forged a strong career in film and television and her latest role sees her appear as a mum in Hebburn, an affectionate tale of North East life.
It tells the story of the Pearson family and their ambitious son, Jack, played by South Shields comedian Chris Ramsey, who has left Tyneside for the bright lights and glamour of Manchester.
He has secretly married a middle class Jewish girl Sarah, and realises that it is about time he introduced her to his family.
Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves, and Gina play Jason’s parents, Joe and Pauline, who are devoted to their family and their hometown.
Gina said: “It’s fantastic working with Jim. I was very excited when I knew he was doing it, which was one of the main attractions in me doing it. He was great, really great company, and calm.”
The show also stars its writer Jason Cook who features as Ramsey, a friend of Jack’s.
Gina said: “Jason Cook has written this about his family. It was inspired by his family, and I think the kernel of that keeps it fresh.”
The programme, which was shot on location in Hebburn, was made in order to “show the North East as having a bit of soul,” says writer Jason Cook.
He added: “I’ve tried to show the Hebburn I know – sometimes harsh, always heart-warming and always home. And, of course, better than Jarrow.
“I’ve wanted to do this for so long, and now it’s made, it is way better than I thought it would be. I still can’t believe it’s an actual telly programme I have made.”
The stand-up comedian added: “I get to put my hometown on telly. It’s not a story about wizards and elves, it’s a thing that only someone from Hebburn could do. Madness. Even watching it again, it blows my mind.”