Mathew Horne

Mathew Horne

Date of birth: 06-09-1978
Mat Horne studied drama at the University of Manchester, where he met Bruce Mackinnon, and formed a comedy double act, making the final of the So You Think You're Funny new act competition at the 2000 Edinburgh Festival.

His first TV appearance was in the obscure E4 show Noble and Silver: Get Off Me! in 2001, and he had a number of small roles until landing the part of RE teacher Ben Birkett in Channel 4's Teachers in 2004. He was a regular in the third series of The Catherine Tate Show in 2006, and starred in the BBC sitcom Roman's Empire the following year.

However his big break came with BBC Three hit Gavin & Stacey in 2007, which earned him a best male newcomer nomination at that year's British Comedy Awards. On the show, he struck up a friendship with co-star (and co-writer of the series) James Corden. They have since hosted Big Brother's Big Mouth together, as well as various awards ceremonies. Latterly they have been working together on a BBC sketch show, and a movie Lesbian Vampire Killers.

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My favourite comedy is Schitt's Creek – and this is even better

Morgana Robinson, Mat Horne, Beverley Callard and Jai Hollis on Gold's new comedy Newark, Newark

The new three-part comedy Newark, Newark, is set in the working class market town in the East Midlands  and revolves around the relationship between exhausted, recently divorced mum Maxine (Morgana Robinson) and her  big-mouthed, soft-bellied son, Leslie (Jai Hollis), who comes out as gay to the surprise of no one. The series – which airs on Gold over three nights at the end of this month –  also stars Mathew Horne as Maxine’s dull ex-husband Terry and Beverley Callard as her meddling mum Pauline. Here the stars talk about the show…


Morgana Robinson

I am a huge admirer of [creator] Nathan Foad. He's an exceptional writer and I think he's going to be a huge star. I fell in love with Nathan through his character videos on Instagram. The scripts are right up my rue; they’re beautifully written and very silly, with immaculate scenes, and it’s a funny ensemble piece as well. It has a big heart, it’s honest, and it's laugh out loud funny.

I was offered the job about a week before we started shooting and I had to learn a Newark accent - and it's a very specific accent - in a week. I was petrified. I wanted to be as authentic as possible so I asked Nathan to read out all of the lines, record them, and send them to me so I could hear the accent. My impression of Nathan's mum is a hybrid of Nathan and his mum.

Mat Horne was the biggest surprise for me from the entire show, because I feel like he hasn't been given opportunities like this very often. Terry’s a brilliant role for him. Mat’s such a clown and I mean that as the highest possible compliment. I don't call many people a clown, because it's a delicacy in comedy.


Mathew Horne

Mat Horne in Newark Newark

I was born and raised 10 miles from Newark, and I went to school five miles away from Newark, so I know the area and I know those people. Without naming names - and I certainly don't have any names - I've been around an atmosphere and a generation of men who’ve been through the same things as Terry. 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's deeply tragic, but I also wanted him to be likeable and for people to understand the damage he's suffered.

Nathan has done a superb job. That’s not only in his writing - structurally, narratively, his character creation, and the funny lines - but also in encapsulating the atmosphere of the area and the people. 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.

Using a wig for the role was an early idea I had to show a character who has let himself go and also can't quite let go of his youth. There were some indications in the scripts about costume, but I was actually at Newark North Gate station and saw a guy in some bootcut jeans with brown slip-ons, which were specified in the script. He was also wearing a leather jacket and had longer hair in a ponytail, which were the two things which I brought to the table. Terry is growing his hair while he can, as well as harking back to his youth, and thinks it’s still cool. It’s quite tragic. Richard Hammond was one of my main references. He was somebody I cited when I was discussing costume.


Beverley Callard

Beverley Callard in Newark Newark

The scripts are so natural and the dialogue flows, which is special. There are moments which are really poignant with some real sadness, but more often than not it just makes you laugh out loud. Even reading the scripts made me laugh out loud and not many things do that to me. My favourite screen comedy is Schitt’s Creek and I honestly think this is even better. I had to say yes and give my heart and soul to it.

I've never played anyone like her before… she has hideous makeup and hideous hair. We also decided she would have a Matrix-style leather coat which she never takes off. No matter how many series we make, she will always have that coat on because she thinks she is The Matrix.


Jai Hollis

Jai Hollis in Newark Newark

How did you find out you had the role of Leslie?

It was the December 23, 2019 and I was in my Christmas pyjamas listening to Fleetwood Mac. I heard my mum walking up the stairs and saying, ‘I’ll get him now.’ I thought, ‘Oh my god, it's the phone call.’ It was Nathan, and he said, ‘I can offer you the role of Leslie.’ Me and mum freaked out for the whole day. I couldn’t believe it.

This was my first ever audition and I got incredibly lucky. I'm so glad because I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first job. The show is the best thing I've done in my entire life and I'm so insanely proud of it.

Leslie such a relatable character to me because I've been in that position where you think everything in the world is against you, but you think you know better and you want to do whatever you want, but you can’t for whatever reason. In addition to you not liking yourself and how you look. It’s impatience, adolescence, and figuring out what you want to do with your life. I’m 18 and still in a part of that moment.

You feel small and isolated in high school, especially being queer. I’m not completely like Leslie, though, because he can be a demon at times.

Nathan and I grew so close [during filming] and we have a really good friendship because we’re so similar. We stayed close during the pandemic - I'd call him to talk about RuPaul's Drag Race and then I'd ask him about my A-levels. He’s become like an older brother and mentor to me.


• Newark, Newark will air on Gold at 9pm on March 28, 29 and 30.

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Published: 10 Mar 2022

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Products

DVD (2010)
Horne & Corden

Book (2008)
Gavin & Stacey

Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2001

Mat and Mackinnon: One


Edinburgh Fringe 2002

Mat and Mackinnon


Edinburgh Fringe 2006

Gizmo Love


Agent

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