Full throttle with Mr Cottle as a minister in racing demon

Matthew Cottle prepares for the role of Donald Bacon in Racing Demon
Matthew Cottle prepares for the role of Donald Bacon in Racing Demon
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“It’s a completely different world. I’m not really religious and it’s not a subject I knew a lot about so it’s all a real learning curve, but it’s fascinating.

“‘Streaky’ is very simple. He just totally believes and he just can’t understand this young upstart curate who comes in and starts questioning. Everything is so simple to ‘Streaky’, God is there, what’s the problem. It’s very black and white.”

Matthew Cottle has a face and demeanour suited to this role, but will be immediately familiar to most from Game On, a show that lasted three series in which he starred alongside Ben Chaplin and two with Neil Stuke.

“At that time I was very in with the BBC on the comedy side of things. I went off to do regulars in other BBC series as well, such as Get Well Soon.

“At one stage I had three sitcoms on the go in one year and I thought I’d absolutely cracked it - and then they all came off at roughly the same time.

“You reach a stage where the characters need to move away. We could only be living in that flat realistically for so long. There’s a tendency to milk these things so sometimes it’s best to leave it while it’s still quite popular, and it was popular. People either hated Game On, watched one episode, or they had the box set and they quote scenes to me. I still get that even though it’s not been on telly for 10 years.”

Since then Matthew’s other TV credits have included Life Begins and Sex And The City And Me.

He has also made a name for himself in West End and touring theatre, especially working with Alan Ayckbourn’s plays such as Absurd Person Singular which took him to The Lyceum.

“I don’t like being out of work so if I get offered a play I take it rather than waiting around for the possibility of a telly,” he says, admitting he does struggle to reconcile being a dad to an 11 and 13-year-old with being on the road.

“It’s not easy. I come up to Sheffield on Sunday night and you get that horrible sick feeling, I’m going to be away from my family for two months and it is hard. I get home at weekends while we’re rehearsing, but I’ve just been offered six months in Scarborough with Ayckbourn’s new play.

“Being an actor I’ve seen more of them. I’ve taken them to school more often and seen more of their school plays than the average dad. I’m either there all the time or away all the time.”