News Column

Comedian to take on TV challenge ; MASTERMIND HOTSEAT FOR CHRIS

November 10, 2013


HE stars in a hit sitcom and does stand-up in front of thousands ... but Chris Ramsey is facing his biggest challenge yet.

The South Shields-born comic is this week set to sit in the famous black chair in front of John Humphrys as he films Celebrity Mastermind.

Chris is taking on the gruelling task in a bid to raise money for North charity Gateshead Crossroads Young Carers.

It would be fair to expect that the 27-year-old would be used to being on camera, as he is regularly on our screens as Jack Pearson in top BBC2 comedy Hebburn, as well as taking part in numerous panel shows.

But Chris openly admits that he is more than a little anxious at the prospect of filming the quiz show tomorrow.

He said: "I get really nervous about things like this - far more nervous than I do for my usual stuff."

However, he is hoping his specialist subject of The Sopranos will serve him well under the tense spotlight.

"I picked all the seasons instead of just one in particular because I'm hoping they will ask me general stuff that I will know about.

"But if they go into stupid stuff like asking some character's cousin's name I'm just going to laugh in their face."

Viewers will have to wait a few more weeks to see how Chris fares, as the Mastermind Celebrity special isn't expected to air until the Christmas period.

But fans of the cheeky Geordie comic can have more than their fill of him as Hebburn is back on our screens this week with the second series.

The family-focused sitcom follows the story of Jack - played by Chris - and his wife Sarah (Kimberley Nixon) and his eccentric South Tyneside family, including dad Vic Reeves and mum Gina McKee.

Penned by Chris' friend and comedy mentor, Jason Cook, the first series was a smash hit and was quickly commissioned by the BBC for a follow-up series.

Filming finished just a few weeks ago and Chris says he is keen to see the finished product on Tuesday at 10pm when it airs.

"My tour has started and I'm filming Celebrity Mastermind on Monday, but Tuesday I will probably be off for the first time so I will be watching and following the reaction on Twitter," said Chris.

He added: "The best part of the new series, and the last one, was getting to film in Hebburn. It was amazing.

"For a lot of the second series we were cooped away in a studio in Manchester for some time, but when we went on location in the streets of Hebburn and in the shopping centre it was just amazing. "You think toe rags are going to turn up and ruin it but everyone was just buzzing."

Chris can also be seen going back to what he does best as he has just kick-started his massive 46-date UK stand-up tour.

Chris Ramsey: The Most Dangerous Man on Saturday Morning Television will see him stop off in the North for a number of dates, including Durham Gala Theatre on February 9, Middlesbrough Town Hall on March 6, The Forum in Barrow-in-Furness on March 9 and Newcastle City Hall on March 21.

Tim joins the ever-growing list of North stars on show THE roster of North stars appearing in Hebburn now includes Tim Healy, pictured below.

The Auf Wiedersehen, Pet actor will be making a cameo appearance in the first episode of the new series on Tuesday, it has been revealed.

The former husband of Denise Welch joins an already impressive list of comics and actors who hail from the region including Jim Moir - aka Vic Reeves - Gina McKee, Chris Ramsey and writer Jason Cook.

Fellow Auf Wiedersehen, Pet star Melanie Hill, from Sunderland, is also set to make her first appearance in the BBC2 sitcom as the new landlady of the pub Swayze's.

Tim and Melanie join a number of comedians set to appear in the second series, alongside with Toby Hadoke, Alfie Joey, Seymour Mace and Terry Joyce who will all be popping up in the next six episodes.

Our man gives his take on new Hebburn IAN ROBSON'S HEBBURN VERDICT YOU can see the gags coming a mile off, but there's still a lot to laugh about in Hebburn.

Jason Cook's comedy series is back for a second outing this week.

All the old favourites make a welcome return, as well as some of the running jokes.

Is it just as good as before? I have had a sneak preview and I can tell you that it will make you smile inside.

There are not so many laughout-loud moments but the characters are still well-defined and the stories as funny as ever.

Chris Ramsey and Kimberly Nixon are back as Jack, the editor of the local paper, and his pregnant wife Sarah.

The first episode starts with a funeral and we are meant to think Joe, played by Vic Reeves, did not survive his stroke at the end of the previous series.

But the funeral is for one of granny Dot's old cronies and Joe is home watching Jeremy Kyle. The headline for The Hebburn Advertiser - for the fourth week running - is the closure of the local glue factory. Cue some obvious gags about coming unstuck. Who steals the show? All the cast have their part to play but Dot, played by Pat Dunn, is magnificent.

No one can do sharp-tongued old bats as well as Pat. You will love her constant put-downs of daughter-in-law Pauline, now working as an estate agent who has yet to make her first sale.

And her reaction at the reading of a will - learning she has not been left a coveted set of spoons - is a brilliant piece of comedy.

There are some great one-liners, such as Joe saying his son has a debt that would make a Greek finance minister blush.

Writer Jason, who appears in the show as loser Ramsey, also saves some spicy lines for himself and his on-screen lass.

The acting is good, the writing is crisp, and Hebburn's heart is still in the right place.

'"The best part of the new series, and the last one, was getting to film in Hebburn. It was amazing. CHRIS RAMSAY

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