It's difficult to talk about stuff that you feel close to without getting emotional! Sitcoms are a tricky business. Each year I talk to old friends and new subjects about their sitcom - it's their baby, they've been nurturing an idea for what seems like forever - something that they've been grafting and drafting on for years.

Because of the nature of telly now, ticking boxes drawn up by committee, chopping and hacking a product to become an immediate success with a particular demographic - so many dreams get dashed. So rarely does that seed of an idea you got so excited about sipping tea in the studio or in the dressing room of a comedy club ever reach its endgame - pilot and then series.

Jason Cook had been talking about 'Hebburn' for two years, how he was going to base it around his roots, how his family had coped through hard times - the bittersweet material that had influenced three smash hit Edinburgh Fringe shows. Every time we spoke the plans became more elaborate and fused - Baby Cow were making it, he was writing it with Graham Duff, Vic Reeves had agreed to play the part of the father, Chris Ramsey was to play the part loosely based on himself while he was to play a character named Ramsey! The tallest tale of all though - the absolute whopper that in no way could be true - related to my favourite actress... Gina McKee - Jason claimed that she would be playing the Mum - yeah, as if!

Of course... it all came true! The six part series was shot in the North East and at the Pie Factory in Salford. I was unavailable for most of the filming dates but was very excited to be able to make it onset for a day in May and shoot both studio portraits and stills.

I don't get starstruck very often nowadays, it's just something that comes with age, but as Jason will attest (and not let me forget) I was just a little bit excited to meet one of my heroines and have my goofy head photographed next to hers!

As we never doubted it would be, Hebburn was a hit, both here and abroad! It picked up a Royal Television Society Award and has been recommissioned for a second series as well as a Christmas special with filming to commence in the summer of 2013. 

Stick that in your focus group pipe and smoke it!
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