BBC Scarborough: Here's what the cast said about the town on the red carpet

Last night the stars of BBC One's Scarborough arrived at the Stephen Joseph Theatre for the premiere of the first two episodes.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 1:33 pm
The cast. From left, Steff Todd, Harriet Webb, Steve Edge, Gina Fillingham, Olisa Odele, Derren Litten, Rebekah Hinds, Jake Canuso, Claire Sweeney, Maggie Ollerenshaw and Stephanie Cole. PIC: Richard Ponter

The sitcom, written and directed by Benidorm creator Derren Litten, follows the lives of a group of friends who live and work in Scarborough.

Though Jason Manford and Catherine Tyldsley, who play the show’s protagonists Mike and Karen, were unable to attend, the rest of the cast and crew were eager to discuss the programme and what they made of the town when they visited for filming in April.

Derren Litten on the red carpet. PIC: Richard Ponter

Derren explained he felt a responsibility to show the resort at its best and understood if residents were worried about how their town would be portrayed.

He said: “I completely get it. I’m from Hull, there’s no town that gets a worse press than Hull and by the same token I would never want to show a town in a bad light.

“It’s a bit of a love letter to Scarborough. The show’s not about Scarborough, it’s just set in Scarborough.”

He explained when he first thought of the idea for the series, Scarborough immediately came to mind as the place in which to set it, having spent summer days here as a child riding the donkeys, losing money in the arcades, eating ice cream and watching shows at the Futurist.

Maggie Ollerenshaw, left and Stephanie Cole, right. PIC: Richard Ponter

Film crews were spotted filming in May at locations all around the South Bay and much of the action of the show takes place in and around the old town but of all the place on view in the programme, Derren said Peasholm Park is his favourite.

“You can’t help but love Peasholm Park," he said. "You walk along the North Bay and it’s a bit craggy and you look back at the castle and it’s all lovely and then you go into this beautiful park and there’s this mad Japanese garden with a massive pagoda - it’s incredible.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, apart from in Japan.”

Neither Gina Fillingham nor Rebekah Hinds - who play Mandy and Yolanda respectively - had visited the town prior to filming but both fell in love with its charms.

Gina said: “I was made up to get here. I got to see all the sea and everything which was lovely, it’s a gorgeous place.

“Being from a small northern town myself, I’m from St Helens just outside Liverpool, it’s nice that places like this are getting seen around the UK."

Rebekah added: “I’d never been to Scarborough so when I got here I went oh my god this is so beautiful.

“I remember getting in and I wasn’t filming so I just walked around everywhere and was just looking at it all.”

Gina described how she was surprised by the look of the seafront, saying: "I describe it - because we spent a lot of our holidays in Blackpool - it’s like a posh Blackpool.”

The cast and crew felt confident the programme will bring new tourism to the resort.

During a Q&A after the matinee screening yesterday afternoon Derren said: “I think it will do great for the tourism of the town - it’s not why I wrote it but I think it’s a great by-product.”

Screen legend Stephanie Cole, who plays Karen’s mum, added: “The town looks stunning - it is stunning - all the regency buildings. It’s got everything that you should want really, and hopefully [the show] will give it a boost.

“If you think about it any seaside town in England, and we’ve got some wonderful seaside towns, but because of the cheapness of being able to go abroad for a holiday, of course they’ve suffered terribly.

“But hopefully people will actually discover their country again and start to visit.”

“It just needs investment doesn't it,” added Maggie Ollerenshaw, who plays hairdresser Geraldine, “and hopefully now there’s such a thing as screen tourism it should help it.”

Every cast member The Scarborough News spoke to at the premiere gave the script high praise, and said Derren and the production team had created a family amongst the cast and crew almost immediately when filming began.

Stephanie Cole said: "It’s very rare to get something as lovely, as beautifully written, with a writer who really knows his craft and who is the most extraordinarily good director and we had a wonderful cameraman and the whole crew actually.

"It was all up to Derren and Gill the producer because they made it into a family almost immediately and that was wonderful."

Rebekah added: "I think that sense of community that is really strong in it, the characters all having those friendships, they meet in a pub, you see a bit of people that you recognise or know in each of these characters."

The first episode airs tonight at 9.30pm on BBC One.