Hebburn creator Jason Cook might well be “over the moon” about the show’s recent re-commission, but one man who doesn’t share his enthusiasm is Hebburn South councillor John McCabe, who’s slammed both the show and its creator for giving a bad impression of the northern town.
“It doesn’t portray or depict Hebburn in a very good light,” he told RadioTimes.com. “We’ve been brought up in Hebburn in a different way to a lot of Tyneside, so to see Hebburn depicted with people walking around with t-shirts on and swearing – it didn’t go down well here.
“To see Hebburn portrayed in such a manner is very upsetting. So when I see somebody who purports to be from the town doing that, it’s not good.”
Hebburn, which stars Jim Moir (AKA Vic Reeves), Gina McKee, Chris Ramsey and Kimberly Nixon, is a BBC2 sitcom set in the Tyneside town about an unreconstructed working class family, whose son returns home after marrying his Jewish girlfriend on holiday in Las Vegas.
Jason Cook based the series on his experiences of growing up in Hebburn, and told BBC News that the reaction to the show had been “99%” positive.
He said: “I could have called [the sitcom] anything and based it anywhere but I wanted to do something about my home town… I’m proud of where I’ve come from.
“It’s got its faults but so does everywhere else and towards the end of the series people were so in love with it.
“The reaction I’ve had is about 99% love it.”
But Councillor McCabe said that he wants people to think of Hebburn as a progressive, modern town, and not a hive of eccentric sitcom oddballs.
“There are three things I want people to know about Hebburn,” he said. “1) We’re well-educated, community-based, hard-working people; 2) We have a history of industry, which is how our town was formed; and 3) We’re a young town, probably only 150 years old in terms of industry.”
Whether Cook and Hebburn’s co-writer Graham Duff will be making efforts to address the councillor’s criticisms in future episodes of the show remains to be seen, but whatever happens, Hebburn will be returning for a second series and a Christmas Special later this year on BBC2.