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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Cumbrian man is new face of Newcastle Brown Ale

By day Simon Underdown tends to people’s aches and pains as a chiropractor – by night he’s an actor and has just landed a role in a TV advert.

Simon Underdown photo
Simon Underdown stars as Herbert Porter

Simon, 58, who lives in the Cockermouth area, landed the role of Herbert Porter, the founder of Newcastle Brown Ale.

Simon had never acted before but two years ago he contacted Phil McKay, of Lakeside Castings in Stanwix, Carlisle, about going to one of his workshops.

Phil spotted his talent immediately and started putting Simon forward for auditions.

He said: “Simon fitted in like a hand in a glove. He had something extra about him – he was really funny and he never let me down. He always turned up and is a pleasure to work with as he’s quite animated.

“He has grown in confidence, his script work is great, monologues are good and his improvisation is amazing. In fact, I get younger actors wanting to be paired up with Simon at the workshops as he is so good to work with.”

Phil put Simon forward for the role of Mr Porter and he had to go to Newcastle for an audition for a TV advert that is now being beamed into American households.

Phil said: “Simon was gobsmacked at all the fuss being made of him and it still hasn’t sunk in that he is going to be the star of such a huge brand’s campaign over the other side of the water.

“I knew he was right for the part when I got the casting in for the advert. I sent his photo to the casting director, had a chat and next thing Simon was in Newcastle auditioning for the lead part in the advert.

“I got a call from the casting director to say he liked Simon and asked if he could stay for a few more hours.

“I then got another call to say Simon has been shortlisted.

“The next thing I knew a contract was being prepared and Simon had got the part out of hundreds of actors from all over the country.”

Simon, who works in Carlisle and Cockermouth, said: “Getting into acting came about after a chance conversation with one of my patients.

“I absolutely love it and it is a wonderful contrast from my day job. My day filming the advert was at Beamish. I didn’t have any lines as it was a silent advert filmed in black and white. I’ve seen the advert but it isn’t shown on TV screens over here – only in America.”

Simon has two other parts lined up in films next year.

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