‘Mackem medium’ set for BBC1 debut in Hospital People

Spirit medium Ian D Montfort, played by Tom Binns in the show. Photo by Paul Stephenson.
Spirit medium Ian D Montfort, played by Tom Binns in the show. Photo by Paul Stephenson.
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‘Mackem medium’ Ian D Montfort is set to make his prime time television debut.

The character is played by Tom Binns, who has perfected his Wearside accent thanks to his own heritage and countless comedy gigs.

While Tom grew up in Sheffield, his dad Robert is from Sunderland, with the family familiar to many through the newsagent shop run by the Binns family.

Now, Ian and three other characters performed by Tom are to feature in the six-part comedy mockumentary Hospital People, which will be screened from Friday at 9.30pm on BBC1.

Tom was approached about working on the series by the BBC while performing at the Edinburgh Festival as hospital DJ Ivan Brackenbury, with the medium and porter joining his other characters, chaplain Father Kenny and hospital boss Susan Mitchell.

The series will also feature Russell Brand, Sally Phillips, familiar to many from Miranda, Sian Gibson from Peter Kay’s Car Share, Harry Potter star Mark Williams, and James Fleet, who has appeared in Vicar of Dibley and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Tom Binns as Ian D Montfort, Susan Mitchell, Father Kenny  and Ivan Brackenbury.

Tom Binns as Ian D Montfort, Susan Mitchell, Father Kenny and Ivan Brackenbury.

The show was filmed in an unused area of the University Hospital of Hartlepool, with many of the extras and crew from the North East.

Tom said: “My dad is from Sunderland, so I spent birthdays, Christmas and holidays visiting.

“My dad is very proud, he’s always been very supportive.

“It is quite a difficult accent to do, but why not?”

It is quite a difficult accent to do, but why not?

Tom Binns

The first episode of the series has been seen by Robert and Tom’s mum Mary, with good reviews from the Binns family.

Their son had to make some sacrifices for his art.

For the role of Susan, he had to spend an hour in and also out of make up and he had to shave his head for the part of Fr Kenny.

Tom added: “Brimlington is more based on where I live, so between Derbyshire and Yorkshire, but on the coast, so it’s a fictional place.

Father Kenny, played by Tom Binns, in the hospital chapel. Photograph by Paul Stephenson

Father Kenny, played by Tom Binns, in the hospital chapel. Photograph by Paul Stephenson

“Everybody who plays a character speaks in their own voice, but then everyone else has a North East accent because of where it was filmed.

“The hospital was absolutely amazing.

“Lots of our crew came from the North East and they couldn’t believe their luck, so they didn’t have to travel for hours and they had a great time.

“George Gently and Victoria have been filming there too, so it’s growing.”

The series is made by Roughcut TV, which has previously worked on Cuckoo, Trollied and People Just Do Nothing

Tom will be performing as Ivan and Ian as part of the Jesterval comedy festival on Gateshead’s Quayside on July 29.

Tom Binns's character DJ Ivan Brackenbury is one of the central figures in Hospital People.

Tom Binns's character DJ Ivan Brackenbury is one of the central figures in Hospital People.

Tom Binns as hospital manager Susan Mitchell  in Hospital People. Photo by Paul Stephenson

Tom Binns as hospital manager Susan Mitchell in Hospital People. Photo by Paul Stephenson