Downton Abbey star Andrew Scarborough finally steps into the spotlight as Emmerdale’s mystery man

Andrew Scarborough (Matt Crossick / PA Wire)

HE’S been in some of the biggest shows on the box but has somehow managed to keep a low profile.

However, Andrew Scarborough, who plays Graham Foster in Emmerdale, says the ITV soap has changed all that.

And he’s told iN10 that not even a key role as tenant farmer Tim Drewe in much-loved, award-laden Downton Abbey brought him the kind of attention that he’s now getting.

“I wore a flat cap in Downton, so unless I had one of them on I really didn’t get spotted,” said Andrew.

“But I’m far more recognised for Emmerdale, which is a bit weird. I’m one of those lucky actors who’s worked a lot but has remained quite anonymous.

“It’s been lovely for 20 years, but now I’m having to get used to people staring when I go into Sainsbury’s.

“It’s very different being recognised everywhere I go at the moment.”

Andrew in Emmerdale (Amy Brammall / ITV)

The attention is hardly surprising as troubled character Graham has been front and centre of some of Emmerdale’s most gripping storylines.

None more so than the drama surrounding the death of dodgy businessman Joe Tate, who hit his head in a fall after being punched by Cain.

Graham agrees to hide the body – but did he do more than that and actually finish off Joe?

Things go from bad to worse this week when alcoholic Graham hits the bottle and gets behind the wheel with revelations coming amid the danger.

“He’s struggling over what happened with Joe and is looking to unburden himself,” explains Andrew, who reckons viewers see Graham as a bit of a man of mystery.

Giving a realistic portrayal of a drunk can be tricky and Andrew says he’s really had to immerse himself in Graham’s predicament over the long weeks of filming.

He says: “The thing about it is you don’t play drunk, because most drunks try and sound sober.

“Alcoholics have a different way of behaving because their bodies are used to the alcohol and they sort of reach a plateau.

“That’s difficult to pitch but they tend to be a little more emotional.

“I think for about a month-and-a-half at work I was drunk for every scene and not very happy. That’s quite tiring.”

While the part – or otherwise – Graham played in Joe’s demise has still to be clarified, what is crystal clear is how much Andrew is pining for his old screen buddy, played by Ned Porteous.

“I miss him dreadfully,” admits Andrew. “We got on so well he almost became like a family member.

“We really did get it straight away and would both have ideas as to how to flesh out a scene.

“It was his decision to go but I miss him so much because he’s a great actor and a lovely bloke.”

Andrew in Downton (Carnival Film &Television / Nick Briggs)

What never fails to lighten Harrogate-born but London-based Andrew’s mood is the opportunity to be working back in Yorkshire again.

“I absolutely love it and have so many childhood memories of the area where Emmerdale is filmed. I’d walk and cycle around there a lot.

“I find it quite unbelievable that I get to work there. I’ve still got friends in Harrogate and I forgot just how friendly everyone is.”

Casualty, Silent Witness and Jamaica Inn are just a few of the many credits on Andrew’s impressive acting CV.

But he cherished being a part of something the nation took to its heart as much as Downton Abbey.

“It was like the old days in that you’d only film two or three minutes of screen time a day as they’d really take time over the scene.

“It was a special moment to be involved in something that was such a success. I’m not sure we’ll see its like again on British TV.

“What made it even more special for me was when I got my scene with Maggie Smith. I was beside myself when I got that. I was really nervous beforehand but it was just amazing to get to work with my hero.

“She is a brilliant actress and you’d sit there and watch her and think, ‘Ah, that’s how you do it!’”

Emmerdale, Mon-Fri, ITV, 7pm.