Jason Manford reveals his history with Scarborough in new BBC show's cast interview
Comedian Jason Manford revealed that Scarborough has "always a special place in my heart" ahead of the new BBC show of the same name airing.
Several of the show's stars including Manford, Stephanie Cole, Catherine Tyldesley and Claire Sweeney have spoken with the BBC about their experience of making the programme and filming in the North Yorkshire coastal town.
The show, which director Derren Litten told The Yorkshire Post could be the "first comedy soap", follows the lives of Mike (Manford) and Karen (Tyldesley) after the pair had split up a few years before.
Ahead of the first episode being aired on BBC One on Friday September 6 at 9.30pm, panel show regular Manford said that Scarborough "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."
Asked about his filming highlights, he said: "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!"He added: "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."
Manford said that working alongside his co-stars was "an absolute 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."
Veteran actor Cole is known to viewers from shows such as Tenko, Open All Hours, A Bit of a Do, Waiting for God, Keeping Mum, Doc Martin, Still Open All Hours, Man Down and as Sylvia Goodwin in ITV soap opera Coronation Street.
She said: "Derren sent me the script, and I’ve rarely read a first script which introduced all the characters without you being aware that they were being introduced.
"Very often it can be a bit plonky but this, it’s beautifully written, beautifully constructed and a really lovely story that you can be drawn into but you can also laugh. It was the sort of thing that there is a market for."
She added: "What is really lovely is that it’s like a really well baked cake because there is a lot of laughter in it and there are also a couple of fascinating stories. One is a love affair and one is something slightly darker so you’re actually engrossed because there are several strands you’re following through, which is extremely entertaining."
Fellow Coronation Street star Tyldesley agreed.
"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."
She also highlighted Manford's singing talents, describing him an "all rounder".
In his interview with the Post, Derren Litten also said: "Jason is more known for being a stand-up. He's also a phenomenal singer. He sings in the show. He's not just having a go - he's an incredible singer."
Claire Sweeney said that her character, Hayley Cox, is "quite fabulous", adding that "even the outfits alone are so empowering.
"The minute I get va va voomed up, I get the shoes on, the leather pants, the hair, I feel like ‘This is it, this is Hayley Cox’.
"She thinks she’s above everyone else. She doesn’t really care about anyone, she doesn’t care what they all think."
She added: "Anything Derren does is just genius. I did Benidorm for Derren and he writes these wonderful characters. I was so flattered to be asked to be involved. Derren makes me feel safe, I know I’m in good hands and I feel very comfortable being directed by him, he knows what he’s doing and he gives great notes."