Thursday 19 September 2019

Steve Pemberton drawn to challenge of Tony Martin burglary drama

The Channel 4 programme used real police interviews with Tony Martin.

Steve Pemberton in The Interrogation (Channel 4)
Steve Pemberton in The Interrogation (Channel 4)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Steve Pemberton has said he signed up for his new drama about the Tony Martin burglary case because he knew it would stretch him as an actor.

Farmer Martin triggered debate across the country in 1999 when he shot dead a 16-year-old burglar at his home in rural Norfolk.

Pemberton, 51, plays Martin in Channel 4 show The Interrogation, which focuses on the real police interviews that were carried out over three days following his arrest.

A scene in The Interrogation (Channel 4)

The actor said: “I do a lot of comedy, I’ve done a little bit of drama, but what really attracted me to this part in particular is the fact that it was a verbatim drama which meant every word in the script was Tony Martin’s actual words taken from transcripts.

“And I was really attracted by the fact that it was an hour-long drama just taking place essentially in one room across a table, and it was going to require an awful lot from me as an actor, a huge challenge.

“And I think the more you’ve done as an actor the more you look forward to those kinds of challenges in your career.”

Pemberton said the drama offers an interesting look at the way police interrogations work and would give viewers Martin’s own account of the night and more of his back story.

The League of Gentlemen star did not meet Martin prior to portraying him on the programme.

He said: “My gut instinct said ‘no, don’t meet him’, because the words in the script are all his words, because there is a lot of him doing interviews, a lot of him on YouTube and clips that I could see, I didn’t feel it was necessary to do that.

“I wasn’t trying to do an impersonation of Tony Martin, I was just trying to look at the script and look at his words and be true to that.”

Martin served three years in prison for shooting dead Fred Barras, 16, at his home in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, in 1999. He was initially found guilty of murder but this was reduced to manslaughter after an appeal.

The Interrogation is at 9pm on Sunday November 18 on Channel 4.

PA Media

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