New challenges in old haunts for Kay
After 30 years in the business, with some of television's best loved shows among her credentials and being responsible for launching the careers of James Corden and Jude Law from her Leeds living room. writer Kay Mellor is taking herself out of her comfort zone.
Her latest project is a musical collaboration which will see the hugely successful and popular Fat Friends TV series, first aired in 2000 and running for five series, take to the stage at Leeds Grand Theatre in November.
A musical touch is being given to the classically northern show as she works with Nicholas Lloyd Webber, son of the West End legend Andrew, on a concept that she has never looked at before.
The fiercely proud Leeds lass said: “I have been writing for 30 years and never done a musical. I have watched them in Leeds Grand Theatre and thought ‘I wish I could do that’ so this is a dream come true. Music with words is so powerful and I want the music to touch emotion.”
Another departure from the norm for the writer is her next show for the BBC, set to hit screens in the Autumn.
“Love, Lives and Records” follows the central character of Leeds Town Hall registrar Kate Dickenson, her work and how it affects her.
Another commission, Girlfriends is about three 60 plus friends and the challenges life has thrown at them.
Kay said: “It is a departure for me as it has one leading central character. With those and Fat Friends it is going to be an exciting and extremely busy time for me - but lovely.”
While the musical and new show might be a departure - the Leeds influence absolutely is not.
Playing The Field, Fat Friends, The Chase, The Syndicate are like snapshots of everyday Leeds life and the people Kay meets and knows.
Whether it be walking her dog in the park, going to the local shops or standing in Leeds market – she can come away with six story ideas.
She said: “Those shows literally are graphics of Leeds and I am not ashamed by that. I love where I live and I want to show it off to viewers and production companies.
“I would like to think that because of these shows producers see Leeds is a place to shoot and put on screen.”
It hasn’t always been that way and when she first started writing, some scenes for her shows had to be filmed elsewhere as crews wouldn’t come up north.
Kay recalls: “Someone asked me once if Leeds was near Liverpool and for the second series of Playing the Field they realised they could get to Leeds and for Band of Gold I said to the producers ‘why don’t you get on the train and come and see what inspires me to write?’
“And they did do that and they have done that over the years and I am thrilled to bits. It fills me full of pride when I can show it off.”
Still living and working from Leeds, Kay has rejected the industry norm to relocate to London referring to the vibrant cultural offering the city boasts.
She said: “West End shows are now staged at the Grand Theatre, shopping, art galleries, fringe venues.
“Seven ArtSpace and Carriageworks are doing different things. I do not live in London and why would I when I have got this glorious city. I am close to everything, can get on a train and be in London in two hours, countryside in 15 minutes. I am very proud of it.”