Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Mum's the Word for Gina's Latest Role ; from Powerful Drama from Powerful Dramas to Gentle Comedy She Plays Sweet, Caring and Bubbly Mother

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Mum's the Word for Gina's Latest Role ; from Powerful Drama from Powerful Dramas to Gentle Comedy She Plays Sweet, Caring and Bubbly Mother

Article excerpt

IN the canteen of a TV studio - a former print factory in Salford - we find Gina McKee, with her hands wrapped around a mug of steaming tea, wearing Ugg boots and a Puffa jacket over her costume.

Here she is filming scenes of Hebburn (BBC2, 10pm Thursday).

McKee has made a long career out of powerful dramas. She has starred in Our Friends In The North, The Forsyte Saga, US series The Borgias and, most recently, BBC police thriller Line Of Duty.

But her latest role is quite a contrast. It's not in a gritty drama but a gentle comedy, and she's not playing a hard woman, but a sweet, caring and bubbly mother.

Directed by Gavin And Stacey's Chris Gernon, Hebburn is a sitcom which follows Jack, played by stand-up comic Chris Ramsey, as he returns to his hometown to introduce new girlfriend Sarah (Fresh Meat's Kimberley Nixon) to his family. What he doesn't quite know how to tell them is he and Sarah are already married.

Jim Moir play his unsuspecting father, and McKee plays his mother. The comedy, written by comedian Jason Cook, who also stars as Jack's best friend, is inspired by Cook's real family and his hometown in the north east, Hebburn.

Much of the series is filmed on location in this small town on the River Tyne, but scenes inside the family home are filmed in the studio.

"Pauline is the antidote to a few characters that I've been playing recently, so that was very appealing," says the 48-year- old, flashing a warm smile and charming all with her gentle Geordie accent.

"You think it's time for a change or it's time to frighten myself. Just so you don't find yourself in a comfortable cul- yourself in a comfortable culde-sac."

The actress admits she was concerned, initially, about playing a character based on her co-star's mother, but Cook soon put her mind at rest.

"I'm told that Pauline is based on Jason's mother, but having seen a little bit of Jason's mother, on a tiny, tiny bit of film and then met her very, very briefly, I'm not entirely sure," she says.

"I think the spirit of her might be there, but it isn't by any means an impersonation of her."

For his part, Cook insists his mother doesn't mind being the subject of comedy. …

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