Couple glad to have star quality put to the test

From left, Philip McGinley, Emily Atack and James Fletcher in a scene from Tested.
From left, Philip McGinley, Emily Atack and James Fletcher in a scene from Tested.

GARAGE owners Bob and Erika Dingwall could be on the road to big-screen success after landing roles in a film its makers hope will be the next Full Monty.

Bob and Erika ended up joining the cast of Tested, a black comedy shot in North Tyneside and Newcastle, after agreeing to allow their Whitley Bay garage to be used as a location for a scene in the movie.

Erika, 47, said: “One of our neighbours, Carolyn Moat, is a line producer for the film, and she approached us, saying they needed a garage which does spraying for a scene, and we said we’d be glad to help.”

It wasn’t only the Cullercoats couple’s garage, Smart Repairs, in Foxhunters Road, that ended up making the cut either as, once the cameras started rolling, Bob and Erica were talked into taking a share of the limelight.

Erika plays a prostitute, and her husband Bob, 59, formerly a defender for the Whitley Warriors ice hockey team, takes the role of a character called Robert, alias Yoghurt.

Tested is the couple’s first taste of acting, but they hope it won’t be the last as they enjoyed every minute of the handful of scenes they had between them.

“It was nerve-racking, but I really enjoyed it, and we were both chuffed to bits afterwards,” said Erika.

They weren’t the only first-timers as the movie also marks the big-screen debut of its writer and director, Ben Cookson.

“It’s tipped as a Full Monty-style film with its comedy coming from the characters’ personalities. It’s British life as true as you can make it,” said Ben.

The film, currently in post-production in London ready for a showing at this month’s Cannes Film Festival in France, is due for release later in the year.

It tells the tale of a bridegroom-to-be left with some explaining to do after picking up a sexually-transmitted infection during a stag weekend in Tyneside.

Other North Tyneside locations used during the shoot include the former Swan Hunter shipyard at Wallsend.

It stars Emily Atack, previously seen in The Inbetweeners on E4, as Lydia, and Philip McGinley, best known for playing Tommy Kerrigan in Coronation Street, as Kyle, her fiancé.

The cast also features, playing his pal Jarvis, Mark Stobbart, a veteran of north east-set TV dramas 55 Degrees North and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and soon to be seen in Harrigan, a crime thriller shot at Swan Hunter at the same time as Tested.