TRCH - Mindgames

Horne on Hand

1 November 09 words: Jared Wilson
"A lot of people think I’m from Essex, because that’s where Gavin is from. I’m always very quick to point out that I’m a Midlander"
Mathew Horne - Illustration by Chris Askham
Mathew Horne - Illustration by Chris Askham

Mathew Horne’s face has been on telly more than most over the past few years. After popping up on Teachers and The Catherine Tate Show, he made it big with Gavin and Stacey and as half of the eponymous sketch show Horne and Corden - not to mention starring in Britcom horrorromp Lesbian Vampire Killers. But he's also Proper Notts, and fiercely proud of his roots

So, Catherine Tate gave you your first big break. What’s she like in real life?
She’s very, very funny. Very dry and down to earth and a meticulous worker who I just clicked with right away. One of those things that comes along when you do what I do, that you meet someone that you can work with in those ways. I am very, very fond of her and very grateful for what she gave me.

We remember watching you in Teachers. What memories do you have of those days?
I remember it being a very long job - the part had been written for me so I sort of felt like I knew what I was doing with it. I really enjoyed that part; it was well within my comfort zone. The series wasn’t a success, but you have to not judge it on those terms - you go on your experience of it.

If you were going to be a teacher in real life, what would you teach?

Thought you’d say something like drama…
Why would you think that?

Because you’re an actor.
I have no wisdom to impart dramatically. Geographically, I’ve got lots of wisdom to impart. Or maybe English Language; I’ve always been interested in linguistics, but I was pretty good at geography and I could always talk about that enthusiastically.

You had a brief part as the Court Jester in BBC’s Robin Hood. Was that fun?
It was a strange role that was unlike anything I’d done before. I knew I’d get to dress up and have a bit of freedom, and the guy who played Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong) is a really good mate of mine and I thought it’d be nice to go see him - because for seven months of every year for four years he was away. I also enjoyed working with Keith Allen, who’s a wonderful guy and a really talented actor.

Did you get the part because of your Notts roots?
Not at all, no. No, it wasn’t a concern for anybody, I don’t think. The decision not to do an East Midlands accent was made very early on. Jonas is from near Blackpool and they told him to keep his accent, so it was never a big thing.

Are you and James Corden as good mates in real-life as you are on camera?
Yeah, that’s one of the reasons why we work together so well - we clicked straight away. We’re of a similar age and from similar backgrounds and there’s lots of common ground. There’s a very deep friendship that will never cease.

You lost out to James in the British Comedy awards for Best Male Comedy Newcomer in 2007 - did you have a scrap with him afterwards?
No, I knew he’d win it so that was fine. I didn’t have a scrap with him but he has apologised to me as he never thanked me in his speech, but I won’t hold it against him.

Tell us about Lesbian Vampire Killers...
I auditioned for it just before the first series of Gavin and Stacey was filmed, and then the funding dropped out. Then two years later they found some money, and cast me and James in the part. It was just a script that I thought was really fun and for a certain type of demographic which I like to entertain. It turned out to be one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever done.

Were you happy with the final cut of it?
For the budget that we had, I was really pleased; with my performance and with the whole thing. We always knew it was for a very specific audience and I think the people it was made for really like it.

Do you worry about being over-exposed as an actor? You’re on TV a lot at the moment…
I think there was time earlier this year that we were definitely in danger of that, but these things are slightly out of our hands as the people that publicise the film are completely different to the people that publicise the BBC3 sketch show and the BBC1 comedy sitcom. So, it’s nothing that we can control really and doing stuff like presenting the Brit Awards is difficult to turn down. I think it’s all calmed down a bit now and everyone’s sort of moved on.~

You did the Brits with Kylie. What's she like?
I met Kylie a few years ago when I did a TV show with her and we got on well. The Brits were really great as we got signed up first and then they asked her as well. Obviously I don’t get to see her very much, so it’s really fun to get to hang out and work with her again.

Did you use to have posters of her on your wall as a kid?
No, but I was definitely attracted to her, which hasn’t changed. But who isn’t? I’ve never been sycophantic or star-struck or anything like that, but if I’d known when I was a nine year-old watching Charlene in her overalls mending a car that this is what would be happening in twenty years time, then I wouldn’t have believed it.

You collapsed with exhaustion on stage earlier in the year while starring in Entertaining Mr Sloane. Is everything OK now?

Yeah. I was just working really hard in the day doing publicity stuff, voice-overs, and DJing and doing the play at night. I had taken on too much and worn myself down to a point where my body just shut down on me. Unfortunately, it happened in front of three hundred people, which was slightly embarrassing. By about three weeks later I felt a lot better, but it was one of the most unpleasant things that’s ever happened to me, and something I’d rather move on from.

What does Nottingham mean to you?
It’s my rose of the Midlands. I’m very proud of where I’m from, and I think it’s a wonderful place. I love the people, the architecture, the shops, the bars, the students – all these things make it into a really exciting city. I’m just really proud of my roots, really. A lot of people have seen me on the telly and think I’m from Billericay in Essex, because that’s where Gavin is from. I’ve never actually been there, so I’m very quick to point out that I’m a Midlander.

So tell us about your favourite places in town...
I really like going to The Social, I love the Broadway, especially now it’s been refurbished – it looks fantastic. And the Rescue Rooms is always fun.

Anything else you'd like to say to LeftLion readers?
I love you all and I’m not from Essex.

Listen to more from Mathew Horne on the Poddingham and Left Back podcasts at or visit his MySpace site.


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