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A special Q&A with Broadchurch star and Spurs fan Jim Howick

Posted on 3 April 2017  - 19:15

Spurs fan Jim Howick is back in one of the biggest shows on TV this evening as another dramatic series of Broadchurch reaches episode six of eight.

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Even Jim admits it's a 'huge shift' career-wise from starring in the popular 'Horrible Histories' alongside fellow Spurs fan Mathew Baynton as he now plays Aaron Mayford, a convicted rapist who DI Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant) and DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) are keeping a very close eye on as they continue to investigate the rape of Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh).

Part six of the Series Three of the BAFTA-winning series - watched by over 10 million viewers - is on ITV at 9pm this evening.

As the series continues, Jim took time out to talk all things Spurs - from his first match and favourite kit, right through to his pride in our current performances under Mauricio Pochettino.

First of all, tell us your Spurs story - it's usually through the family route, is that the same for you?
Jim: "Yes, through my Dad. He's from Sussex like me but started coming to Spurs when visiting his cousin who lived in Bounds Green - 1959-60 was his first season I believe. When I was a kid in the 1980's the most popular clubs to support were Spurs or Liverpool so he didn't have to work too hard to persuade me! My first game was at Fratton Park. Portsmouth v Spurs in the Milk Cup (November 27, 1985) - a freezing cold 0-0 draw!"

Can you remember your first game at the Lane?
Jim: "Yes. Against Villa in the 1994-95 season (November 19, 1994). We lost 3-4. Dean Saunders scored the winner in the 90th minute.  I remember it was also the first ever draw of the National Lottery, a major event. We raced back home to Bognor where the family was gathered at my Aunt's and got three numbers up, £10 off a day trip to Spurs! We may have lost but I loved it. I felt at home."

Below: Paul Gascoigne

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First hero?
Jim: "It has to be Paul Gascoigne. I was a bit too young to appreciate the brilliance of Glenn Hoddle in his time but when we bought Gazza and I saw what he could do I couldn't believe the natural talent he possessed, so self-assured and positive on the ball. He played with personality and was just so exciting to watch. I was 11 during Italia '90 and totally got swept up by 'Gazza-mania'."

First kit?
Jim: "The Hummel kit from 1985 season with the diagonal stripes and arrows. Handsome! I wore it to bed I seem to remember. I even wore my shin pads!"

Can you remember the first time you came to a Spurs match on your own?
Jim: "Yes, v Newcastle in 1998. We won 2-0 during Jurgen Klinsmann's second spell with us."

How has life changed since you became a successful actor?
Jim: "I'm just enjoying life, doing what I've always wanted to do. When you start to make a living as an actor you can stop supplementing your acting work. So no more working in Call Centres etc. The Call Centres were always good to me though, allowing me to audition, taking days off for the odd voice over. It's just nice not to have to juggle that anymore."

What's it like being recognised at the Lane?
Jim: "It's only happened a couple of times. I don't mind at all, I'm more than happy to say hello."

Below: Jim with friend and fellow Spurs fan Mathew Baynton

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How did Horrible Histories come about and what was it like to be in - looks an absolute blast!
Jim: "Caroline Norris, the producer of Horrible Histories, was working with me on Armstrong and Miller. She invited me to audition and I got the job. It was an absolute joy to work on, I laughed hard everyday, learnt a lot and I met some amazing people, now friends for life. There were a few difficult moments, usually due to the weather and the filming schedule. If it was hot, we'd be in armour and if it was cold we'd be in togas."

And how about being in a show with another Spurs fan in Mathew?
Jim: "Yes Mat is a big fan who comes to the Lane regularly with his family and we come together when we can. When he was very little he first supported West Ham because he liked ham. He quickly got that out of his system and now he's Tottenham through and through. He's also now a vegetarian. I love working with him. There's a lot of waiting around on set, so Tottenham chat helps while that away."

You are now in one of the biggest programmes on TV in Broadchurch, how did that come about?
Jim: "Like most acting jobs, I had to meet with the casting director and audition for the part. I'd recently been in Stag for BBC2 which was incredibly dramatic in parts, so maybe that helped to get me through the door. It's an honour and a thrill to play a part in such an outstanding show."

What has it been like switching from Horrible Histories to this role in Broadchurch?
Jim: "Every show has a certain tone that determines your performance. Horrible Histories is a comedy sketch show, so that requires a certain energy and delivery. Broadchurch is serious drama. Two very different shows but I really enjoyed the challenge of playing in something that was a stark contrast to what I'm used to."

Has life changed even in the couple of weeks since you first appeared on that show?
Jim: "No. No abuse yet! Some people on Twitter found it a bit hard to swallow that the guy from Horrible Histories is now playing a convicted rapist and of course I get that. They've grown up with me singing and dancing about, it's a huge shift, but, you know, I was always an actor first."

Below: Mauricio Pochettino with Mousa Dembele

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Back to Spurs - a lot of supporters are saying it's a great time to be a fan at the moment - do you agree?
Jim: "It's the best time. I can honestly say that I've never had it so good as a Spurs fan in my lifetime. Everything is moving in the right direction and there's a tremendous feeling at the club. We've got a talented young team who want to stay, quality in every position and, most importantly, they all want to work for each other. They're pals. You can see that on the pitch. That's down to the good work of Mr Pochettino. He's magic! He's installed a positive mentality into the players and that, combined with 100% work ethic is a winning formula and it's rubbing off on the fans. We're positive, confident and enjoying our football. It's a very exciting time."

Last but not least - tell us about your dad's programme collection!
Jim: "My dad's programme collection dates back to the mid-fifties. He's got most, if not all of the double season and many more after that. I remember him showing me the collection when I was a kid. Deep down he was probably worried that I might follow some of my school friends and start supporting Liverpool. But once I saw his collection, listened to his stories about Jimmy Greaves and Danny Blanchflower and saw the Cockerel crest, that was it. I knew I was Tottenham for life."