SOUTH Tyneside comedian Jason Cook is bringing his hometown to the small screen.
His self-penned sitcom about growing up in Hebburn has been given the go-ahead by the BBC.
Filming for the series – called simply Hebburn – is set to start in April, and Cook can’t believe that he is about to work with some of his comedy heroes.
The show, which will air on BBC2, is being produced by Baby Cow – which was set up by comedians Steve Coogan and Henry Normal, and has been behind critical smashes like Gavin and Stacey, The Mighty Boosh and The Trip.
And starring as Cook’s dad in the sitcom will be Vic Reeves.
Cook said: “It is a dream come true.
“Two years ago I pitched the idea about it, and I’ve had to keep it secret until now.
“I can’t quite believe it’s going to be on the telly and that Vic Reeves is going to be in it.
“He’s the only person confirmed so far, other than myself.
“But I won’t be playing myself – we’ll get someone much funnier for that!”
What Cook wasn’t prepared for was just how hard writing the series would be.
He added: “I’ve been locked in an office on my own for months, sitting at a computer between 9am and 5pm – exactly what I got into comedy to try and avoid doing.
“It’s been a lot of work getting it ready to film, especially as I’ve been doing live gigs as well.
“We’re about to go into pre-production though, so I’ll be giving the stand-up a miss for a while.”
With six episodes commissioned, Cook had to delve into his past for stories about his youth by talking to his mum.
“She’s pretty terrified of what will be in the show, to be honest,” he said. “Although it is pretty scary, it is going to be my life on screen.”
The show is one of the first to be given the go-ahead after the BBC’s move from London to Salford (Cook now lives in Manchester), and while some parts will be filmed in BBC studios, lots of scenes will be shot on location in Hebburn.
Cook said: “I don’t want people at home watching and picking out mistakes in the editing, so as much as possible will be filmed exactly where it happened.
“I remember watching Spender and thinking to myself that Jimmy Nail had walked out of Central Station and ended up on the Quayside – I don’t want people to have a go at me about things like that.
“And it’s not going to be poking fun at us up north either – it will be a warm-hearted take on our culture.
“Auf Wiedersehen Pet is a great example of a show that has managed that.”
Hebburn could hit television screens by the end of the year.
For more information and to find out about Jason’s live gigs – including his annual one-man show at Middlesbrough Town Hall on May 18, visit www.jasonlovescomedy.com