Worthing pub from BBC drama closes

A WORTHING pub that featured in the new BBC drama Cuffs has closed its doors.

Popular pair Ray Johnson and Trish Matthews beind the bar at The Castle
Popular pair Ray Johnson and Trish Matthews beind the bar at The Castle

The Castle Tavern, in Newland Road, ceased trading on Sunday, when popular landlord Ray Johnson retired after 12 years behind the bar.

But the pub will be opening again under new management at the end of January.

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Mr Johnson, 65, has run pubs for 35 years and took over The Castle in 2004, with his partner Trish Matthews. They have been described as constant stalwarts by their loyal punters.

Amanda Abbington as DS Jo Moffat and Shaun Dooley as DC Carl Hawkins in The Castle for BBC drama Cuffs

Mr Johnson said: “I have had no time for hobbies and interests as this pub has been an all-consuming thing. Even when I’m not here, I’m thinking about it or buying things for it.

“All my time has been tied up here and that’ll be the hardest thing, to adjust to life without it. We have loved this pub and all of those fond memories and good times will always be with us.”

His approach has remained old school throughout and when earlier this year the Cuffs team approached him to ask if they could use the pub for filming, they said the look was ideal.

The Castle featured in episode three of the police drama, when Amanda Abbington as DS Jo Moffat and Shaun Dooley as DC Carl Hawkins popped in for a drink, then spotted an escaped prisoner at the bar.

Regulars at the pub say they will miss dropping in for a quiet pint and nice chat with Mr Johnson or Mrs Matthews.

Matthew Hicks, 29, of Moat Way, Worthing, has been drinking at The Castle for the last ten years.

He said: “I have made so many friends that I would never have met in any other odds and socks pubs in Worthing. I’d come in after work for a couple of quiet pints and a nice chat with Ray. I see him as a father figure.”

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