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The Long Call's Ben Aldridge reveals he drew on strict religious upbringing for role in new drama

The actor opened up about his upbringing

ben aldridge on beach
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Ben Aldridge, the star of ITV’s new detective drama The Long Call, has revealed that he reflected on his own Evangelical upbringing while preparing for his role in the new series.

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Speaking to 1883 magazine, he revealed that playing the role of Matthew, whose parents are members of the Barum Brethren, gave him the opportunity to explore his own religious upbringing. He said: "I had to really reflect on my time growing up in a religious community, although mine wasn’t as strict and hardline as the one in The Long Call. I had knowledge of it as my parents both grew up in something similar and then I also have my own experience of growing up evangelical as well."

WATCH: The trailer for ITV's new drama The Long Call

He continued: "You don’t really comprehend how much it’s shaped you until you’re an adult. I’ve become witness to that in my own life more now than ever because of the show and how I’ve had to explore that period of my upbringing."

The Our Girl actor also spoke about the religious upbringing of his character Matthew and how it affects his choices. He said: "He’s realising he’s a product of that environment, whether he likes it or not, even if he has left it. His choice to navigate the world in a very quiet, reserved way, will be influenced by the religion in which he grew up."

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Like his character, Ben also grew up in a church that rejected homosexuality. Ben spoke about the similarities between himself and Matthew in the same interview. He said: "Although we are very different, the core of who Matthew is and what he’s examining is something I continue to do myself. I’ve been having conversations with my parents discussing sexuality and how unwelcome it was in our church."

the long call detective beach© Photo: ITV

Ben Aldridge stars as DI Matthew Venn in the new drama

He continued: "Although I never was subjected to those ideas or themes, I grew up around the rhetoric of praying gay demons out of people. They were very much circling me as a child and as a teenager. I was already aware of who I was and I was absolutely terrified of it. This project has been the only one where I’ve been able to explore that."

The Long Call continues on Tuesday night at 9pm.

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