TV: Derren Litten's Sitcom Scarborough Comes To BBC One – Interview with Jason Manford and Catherine Tyldesley

Benidorm creator Derren Litten's new sitcom Scarborough, set in the North Yorkshire seaside town comes to BBC One from September 6 at 9.30pm. Below are interviews with all the key cast members but first here's a guide to the scene-setting opening episode to get you in the mood...

Mike (Jason Manford) and Karen (Catherine Tyldesley) are nearly-40-somethings that are giving their relationship another go, five years after they split. The pair were always meant to be together, but Mike’s ambition to become a professional entertainer meant that he was never at home. Now in his late 30s, Mike has realised what’s actually important to him - he’s given up life on the road to come back to Scarborough and give their relationship another go.

Karen truly loves Mike, but she ended their relationship first time around as she realised what she wanted was stability and that wasn’t something Mike could offer. Her life in Scarborough is doing a job that she loves and making sure her mum is OK. Karen works at Geraldine’s, a local hair salon where the elderly clientele are always keen to share the latest gossip – if they’re not talking about it in Geraldine’s then it’s not worth talking about. The salon is the very heart of the community – but as the series unfolds is that heart about to be ripped out by unscrupulous local businessman Tony Peroni?

Between Geraldine’s and the local pub/karaoke hot spot, The Good Ship, there’s never a dull day in town. But will the course of true love run smoothly for the couple the second time around, or will the trials and tribulations of their lives get in the way?

In the first of six episodes a week has passed since a devastated Karen caught Mike drunkenly kissing another woman at the back of a Scarborough seafront crab stall and she is still avoiding his calls. It’s only when they bump into each other at their regular Friday karaoke night that Mike finally has a chance to explain. But will Karen forgive him or is their relationship over forever? 

Meanwhile at Geraldine’s hair salon there’s trouble brewing when one of the regular clients Mrs Bookham goes missing and the police are called. Its only when all the excitement is over that Geraldine has a confession to make to Karen. 

Karen is played by Catherine Tyldesley, Mike is played by Jason Manford, Geraldine is played by Maggie Ollerenshaw and Mrs Bookham is played by Veronica Roberts.

Interview: Jason Manford 

Can you introduce us to your character and what role he plays in the series?

I play Mike who used to go out with Catherine Tyldesley’s character Karen years ago, but his constant gigging and being away did nowt for their relationship so they broke up. Now he’s knocked all that ‘show-business’ on the head and is trying to make a go of it with Karen for a second time. He’s hitting 40 and needs to make some big decisions about his life.

Tell us a bit about your co-stars and what it’s been like working with them?

It really was an absolutely joy. Catherine is so talented and a lot of fun to work with. Stephanie Cole is a legend and so funny, every scene she has she steals and so that was a huge honour to work with her. Playing my best mate is my actual best mate Steve Edge, who I think is one of the best character actors in the country. He just has funny bones and it’s a travesty that we’ve not seen more of him before. I can’t wait for everyone to see just how hilarious he is in this show.

Had you visited Scarborough before?

Yes, it was actually one of my first grown up holiday destinations that me and my girlfriend at the time saved up and paid for! It’s always had a special place in my heart.

Do you have any stand out moments from filming?

All the scenes I had with ‘Bigsy’ (Steve Edge) were great because after a 20 year friendship this is actually the first time we got to act with each other. Location wise, we couldn’t have wished for better weather so Scarborough looks glorious! I reckon we’ll have done more for tourism there than their own tourist board!

What can people expect from the series?

Each episode is a really lovely half an hour spent with a group of characters who I think the viewers will really like. It’s funny and warm and feels like just the sort of TV show we need in these current times.

Interview: Catherine Tyldesley

Can you introduce us to your character?

Karen is a hairdresser and five years ago she dated Mike. Things didn’t quite work out because Mike was trying to make it as professional singer and was prioritising that. They went their separate ways and Karen married someone else, but later got divorced. We’re now at the point where her and Mike are trying again. She works in this lovely little hair dressers called Geraldine’s, it’s like the hub for all the matriarchs of Scarborough. This is last chance saloon with Mike, so if it doesn’t work then that’s it.

What attracted you to the role in the first place?

I’ve always been a fan of Derren’s writing, he writes so well. For me it’s hilarious but it’s so genuine and so warm. It’s completely character led and all of them are so wonderful. In terms of Karen and Mike, a lot of couples will be able to see themselves in them. I’ve been reading the scripts with my husband at home and said ‘oh god, it’s us’. So it’s very relatable, very warm, very genuine and extremely funny. I fell in love with it the minute I read episode one.

What can people expect from the series?

I think people will fall in love with the characters and they’ll want to see more. I’m hoping that each week they can’t wait for the next episode because the storylines and the sub plots are super interesting and get you hooked. You can relate to the characters, you care about them and that is key for me in any comedy. Derren’s gone into so much detail you can tell that he really cares about them.

Tell us a bit about your co-stars and what it’s been like working with them?

This is my first time working with Jason and right from the audition process we hit it off. He made me feel super comfortable to work with. He’s been an absolute joy because yes, he is funny but he’s a bloody good actor and he can sing! He’s an all-rounder. I think he’s going to surprise people, he’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant. It’s been nice to work with Steve Edge again because I did a comedy show with him 10 years ago now and I loved him to bits then, he was a dream to work with so I’m chuffed to bits to be back with him.

Click here for more cast interviews.

Scarborough, BBC One, Fridays, 9.30pm from September 6.

Picture Credit:BBC/Kieron McCarron

Interview supplied by BBC.

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