It’s all down to Downton!
Andrew Scarborough on how his role in the hit drama helped him land a part in Emmerdale
He’s appeared in Downton Abbey with Dame Maggie Smith, and shared a stage with Ralph Fiennes, but Andrew Scarborough says that joining Emmerdale was every bit as nerve-racking.
‘It doesn’t matter what actors have done before, starting a new job is always like turning up to a new school,’ says Andrew, who recently began his role as Graham Foster, loyal assistant to tycoon Tom Waterhouse.
‘I’m a lot better at handling the nerves as I’ve got used to it. But underneath, meeting new people and feeling exposed on such a big show – where if something goes wrong it goes horribly wrong – I was very nervous!’
Thankfully, Andrew, 44, had the support of fellow newcomer Ned Porteous, who plays Tom, as they both started on the same day. Both made their debuts last week when they tried to hire one of Debbie Dingle’s luxury cars – before it was stolen. ‘It’s great to be coming into the show with someone who’s going through the same thing as me,’ says Andrew.
Little is known about Graham, and that’s just how Andrew likes it. ‘I can’t tell you much apart from he’s dryhumoured and dependable, and a fascinating, dynamic character I felt I could be interested in for a long time.
Because he’s an enigma I can go anywhere with him, which is exciting.’
Andrew was raised in Harrogate, close to where Emmerdale is filmed, and became an actor on his father’s advice. ‘He’d seen me as King Herod in a school play aged seven and thought I was brilliant,’ says Andrew. ‘I was surprised when he suggested it, but I haven’t looked back. Dad’s very proud, and working on Emmerdale means I get to see my parents more, which is great.’
After completing his drama studies, Andrew landed minor roles on stage and TV, as well as appearing alongside Ralph Fiennes in the 1995 Almeida Theatre production of Hamlet.
His first taste of fame came in 2000, when he starred with Damian Lewis, Amanda Holden and Dervla Kirwan in BBC1’s twentysomething
drama Hearts & Bones. ‘That was when I first got a profile,’ he says.
His biggest role came 13 years later as farmer Tim Drewe in Downton Abbey. ‘Downton was bliss,’ says Andrew. ‘Everyone was happy and secure because it was a success. I never thought I’d work with Dame Maggie, who’s a heroine of mine. We only had one small scene but I was in awe.’
Andrew reckons Downton probably played a part in him landing a job at Emmerdale. ‘I think it jogged a few people’s memories and reminded them what I could do.’
Now he’s delighted to have signed a long-term Emmerdale contract. ‘I’m loving it. The cast and crew are among the friendliest I’ve met and the scripts are so tightly written. Working on the show ranks up there with Downton.’