You’ve probably seen him playing a BBC radio announcer in Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech, delivering hilarious lines in classic BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey or treading the boards recently at the Nottingham Playhouse in an acclaimed production of The Madness of George III.
But not many Melton people realise that Adrian Scarborough is actually one of our own.
He spent the first 18 of his 50 years growing up in the town and his impressive acting career was sparked by inspirational drama teachers at Melton College of Further Education, now known as Brooksby Melton College.
Adrian has gone on to establish himself as a remarkable character actor, holding his own with film stars such as Dame Judy Dench, Colin Firth and Saoirse Ronan, television heavyweights like Keeley Hawes, James Corden and Miranda Hart, plus stage legends of the quality of David Tennant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Gatiss.
I spoke to Adrian about his acting memories and that upbringing in Melton, which he clearly remembers fondly.
Nick Rennie: Tell me about life growing up in Melton?
Adrian Scarborough: We lived originally in Thorpe Road and then moved to Valley Road. My dad, Roger, was a teacher at what was then called John Ferneley High School and mum, Jean, was involved heavily with Sage Cross Methodist Church. They lived their whole lives in Melton but both have sadly passed away now.
NR: When did you get the acting bug?
AS: I went to Brownlow and Sarson Schools and King Edward VII Upper School but I wasn’t very academic and didn’t enjoy school much. Then I got on a fantastic A-level drama course at Melton College run by Richard and Brenda Smith and David Taylor. We were encouraged to act, sing and dance - it was like a dream come true. They were so supportive when I was young and still are today. They are responsible really for my entire career.
NR: Do you still come back to Melton?
AS: Yes, I still have lots of friends there and see them when I can. When I performed in The Madness of George III recently in Nottingham it was lovely to see so many familiar faces from Melton at the stage door. My old music teacher from Sarson School, Brian Humpherson, came to see me after the show. It was glorious because I hadn’t seen him for about 35 years.
NR: Your performance in The Madness of George III was recently beamed back to cinema screens through National Theatre Live. What was that like?
AS: It is exciting but also one of the most terrifying things you can do as an actor because any mistakes you make are recorded for posterity for everyone to see. It is quite incredible to think the production was shown in 2,600 venues in 65 countries.
While we were at the theatre I was telling the cast about my life in Melton and we decided to have a pork pie eating competition which everyone enjoyed.
NR: Many readers will remember your performance as Pete in Gavin and Stacey and your great double act with Julia Davis as Dawn. What are your memories of that role?
AS: That was hilarious fun. For many of us on that show there were lots of relationships made for life. When I was sent the first scripts I laughed myself stupid - it still makes me laugh now when I see re-runs on television. The question I am asked the most is ‘will there be another series?’ and I always answer ‘absolutely never’. Ruth Jones and James Corden wrote the perfect sitcom over three series and a Christmas special and they’ve rightly decided to walk away from it.
NR: When you were studying at Melton College did you ever dream that your career would include Oscar-winning movies, top-rated TV shows and quality West End plays?
AS: I think I have just had a wonderful run of luck. I have acted with so many great actors and I have really enjoyed some of the telly I’ve done like Gavin and Stacey, of course, Miranda and the re-run of Upstairs Downstairs. I’ve been lucky to have a job which I love. Anyone who can achieve that, whatever it is, is a huge success in my eyes.
NR: Can you tell me a little about your home life Adrian, away from the spotlight?
AS: I live in Hertfordshire with my wife, Rose. We have two grown-up children, a son and a daughter, Esme, who is studying to go into the acting profession.
NR: Finally, Adrian, what is your next big acting project?
AS: I am in a film which is out next year called Artemis Fowl. I had to be covered head to toe in prosthetics to play a goblin. It took three-and-a-half hours in make-up. I never thought I would ever look like that on screen. Judy Dench is in it and Josh Gad and some other brilliant actors. I think it will be the next Harry Potter. There are six or seven books so there is plenty of material for a series of great movies.