Wonderland chat with Tyger Drew-Honey on life growing up in the spotlight and what the future holds for the Outnumbered actor.
In 2007 Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin broke the cardinal rule to never work with children or animals when they selected three child actors to improvise on the set of their family sitcom Outnumbered. The eldest child, Tyger Drew-Honey, was entrusted with the role of Jake. Seven years on and with Outnumbered in its fifth and final series, Tyger talks to Wonderland about the seven-year journey and life beyond the semi-detached in North London.
It seems only yesterday that a round-faced pre-teen Tyger Drew-Honey appeared on our screens in his first big break. Now at the ripe old age of 17, the chiseled actor is blossoming in front of our eyes. Bafta award winning Outnumbered has lead to roles in The Armstrong and Miller Show and The Ministry of Curious Stuff alongside comic genius Vic Reeves.
On the verge on adulthood, with his own documentary Eye of the Tyger coming up on BBC3 and a second series of Cuckoo in the pipeline, Tyger Drew-Honey continues to prove he’s no one-trick pony.
How did you get into acting?
It was very much a right place at the right time sort of thing. I had never even thought about performing as something I wanted to do, but when I was in Year 5 I had a good part in the school play. There happened to be an agent in the audience, a friend of my headmaster, who spoke to me afterwards asking if I wanted to do any professional work. She signed me up and things went from there.
How has it been growing up in the spotlight?
I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but it’s been fun. There have been lots of things I’ve missed out on, but also many things that most people of my age haven’t had the opportunity to do. So I feel very lucky, all the time.
It must be strange to part with your onscreen family in Outnumbered. Are you as close off camera?
We are all very close off camera, we’re just one big group of mates. It is a shame to know we won’t be filming any more Outnumbered together, although we may do a special or two in the future. We will definitely keep in touch, and who knows, maybe we’ll end up working together again at some point.
You’ve worked with some great comedians, who has been the greatest influence?
I would say Hugh Dennis without a doubt, he is always cracking jokes in between takes and has taught me a lot about comedy. Also, he is fantastically knowledgeable, about absolutely everything; he’s definitely taught me a fair few useless, yet fascinating things.
Up until now you’ve mainly done comedy, would you like to take on more serious roles in the future?
Yes I would love to do more serious drama; to experiment with different styles and characters. I think I could learn a lot from it.
With several sitcoms under your belt already, would you follow in the footsteps of The Inbetweeners’ boys and consider writing your own?
Yes it is something I have definitely thought about before, I would love to try and do it now, but I’m filming a new show at the moment and have literally no time.
You play acoustic and electric guitar as well as the drums. Is music something you’d like to pursue professionally?
I also play the keyboard, and I very much enjoy writing my own songs. I would love to, if I ever get the chance.
What prompted you to address teenage issues such as pornography and dating in the upcoming observational documentary Eye of the Tyger?
I had lots of meetings with the production company. In order for the show to work, it needs to address issues that are relevant to me and that I care about, and issues that all young people can relate to in some way.
What else is coming up for you in the near future?
I’m finishing my new show, before starting filming Cuckoo 2 for BBC3, then I’m hoping to go on holiday to Paris for a few months to improve my French!
Words Elinor Sigman
Photographer Amanda Searle