Greenisland man Stephen Hagan plays the role of smooth-talking Tom Fisher in the 1950s-set comedy-drama, an adaptation of The Darling Buds of May.
The Larkins follows the golden-hearted wheeler dealer Pop Larkin (Bradley Walsh) and his wife Ma (Joanna Scanlan),who with their six children live in a beautiful patch of paradise in Kent.
Stephen, whose previous small screen roles include Sky 1’s Lucky Man alongside James Nesbitt, appears as a love interest for the Larkin’s daughter Mariette.
“Tom is a very slick, suave and confident new comer to Littlechurch who wants to make his mark on the village,” said Stephen, who is currently based in London. “What drew me to the character was the car and the sunglasses - and the script.”
The character’s links to Stephen’s home turf have proved popular with viewers in Northern Ireland. “Tom is from Ballystrudder. He likes to keep his past under wraps for many reasons - it adds to the mystery.”
The series’ rural setting was another high point for Stephen, who attended Carrickfergus Grammar School before progressing to LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art).
“[Filming] was an absolute joy; the locations were gorgeous,” he said. “Filming outdoor in the countryside was great and very Covid safe. We were testing twice weekly and got through the whole shoot without having to shut down. It was the first contract I signed that had Covid protocol in it.”
Between projects, Stephen enjoys getting home to see friends and family. “I managed to get home last month for the first time in a while, but when I can’t we can now Zoom,” he said.
“I’m helping out with Interview Skills Day at Carrick Grammar next month over Zoom. I really don’t know what they are going to learn from me, but it's brilliant that they have access to drama in a way that I didn’t when I was there. I couldn’t do it as a subject at CGS - I had to do Accounting, Business Studies and Maths. It helps with contracts!"
As for future projects, the local actor is currently in the process of producing a TV comedy. “It’s written by two wonderful young writers, Colm Gleeson and Will Bishop,” he said. “It’s across between Peep Show, Father Ted and the reality show Love is Blind. We are in the process of getting a director and are hoping to start shooting before the end of the year.
“It’s great to have input into a project rather than waiting for the phone to ring.”