Lip Service, BBC Three’s provocative drama, returns for a second series. Revisiting the lives of Lip Service favourites Cat, Frankie, Tess, Sam and Sadie, the second series also introduces exciting new characters into the tangled web of sex, lies and true love set in Scotland.
Lip Service fans can look forward to developments in the women’s love lives, careers and friendships which are as complex and challenging as ever. Here, writer and creator Harriet Braun, reveals the dramas which await the Lip Service women this time around.
“Although there will be as much comedy as ever, I think I would say Lip Service gets a lot darker this season.
“First time around, I looked at people at a pivotal age - late twenties or early thirties, trying to get what they want and avoiding making the same mistakes again. This time it’s about what happens when you get what you want and it isn’t quite what you expected…or you can’t have what you want.
“A lot of life is about how we deal with adversity, do you sink or do you swim? I guess I wanted to throw some emotional curve balls at the characters and see what they did with them.
“We left things on a bit of a cliffhanger in the finale – Cat, our uptight architect, slept with her ex, Frankie, behind her policewoman girlfriend, Sam’s back. And, as the new series starts we meet Cat returning from a holiday with Sam, who is still in the dark about Frankie. Frankie is waiting with bated breath for her return, full of hope and Cat faces a tough decision.
“This new series of Lip Service has some great twists and turns and characters go in some very surprising directions. It also gave me the chance to bring some actors in supporting roles in to the foreground. I loved Sam and Sadie in series one and this time around they really get to flex their acting muscles.
“The biggest challenge I faced was introducing new characters to an already established cast. How do you integrate them in to the group and make them as compelling as the characters the audience are already rooting for? Of course I was helped greatly by some wonderful new cast members.
“Frankie and Tess have moved to a new flat and need someone to fill the spare room…enter Lexy, a sexy, straight-talking Australian doctor - played by the fantastic Anna Skellern - who hits it off with our gang.
“I’ve always fancied writing a doctor, there’s something intrinsically sexy about the whole “I can handle a crisis” thing, or is that just me? We looked long and hard for Lexy and then Anna Skellern just blew us away. She manages to deftly walk the line between Lexy’s confidence and caustic wit and vulnerability and ability for empathy.
“Then there’s Lexy’s fantastically irreverent, gay male friend, Dr Declan Love, played by the hilarious Adam Sinclair. Adam is Scottish but lives in LA so we auditioned him by Skype. Even over a rather fuzzy screen he cracked me up as soon as I heard him reading the lines. I hope the audience will enjoy his performance as much as I do.
“And then there are the wonderful Sinéad Keenan and Stuart McQuarrie playing Tess’s fellow actors in Uncle Vanya, Nora and Hugh. Sinéad’s a face you may well recognize from Being Human. She’s brilliant as Nora, we wanted an actress who could play someone very manipulative without being too moustache twirling and obvious about it.
We were very lucky to get Sinéad and it’s a measure of what a great actress she is that she’s so different in this to her other BBC Three role in Being Human.
Stuart McQuarrie is Tess’s down-on-his-luck, lovable, new friend Hugh. I absolutely loved writing Hugh, although he’s witty and cynical and a good friend, he’s also obsessed with his ex and ‘drinking and dialling’ a bit too much
Neve Mcintosh joins the cast a little later in the series. I’ve been a huge fan of Neve’s ever since seeing her in Bodies and she’s fantastic as Lauren, the steely magazine editor.
When I was writing the show I knew how vital it was that the lesbian characters chimed with and felt authentic to lesbian viewers, so I was delighted that we got such a good response from the gay audience and media.
I had a hunch that if I wrote believable characters and a good story, that Lip Service would also appeal to a wider audience. It was incredibly exciting to see the Facebook page and Twitter stream inundated with people chatting about the show.
I tried to do something different with Lip Service. Often when you see gay characters in a show, their stories revolve around issues like coming out or homophobia. Those stories are important, they raise awareness and reflect the struggles many people still go through, but I feel it’s also important at this point in time, to see characters who happen to be gay but their sexuality is depicted as part of their lives, it’s not their main focus.
In TV schedules dominated by dramas with straight characters, I think it’s important to have more gay characters on television. The success of Lip Service proves that there’s a strong audience, both straight and gay, for programmes with central gay protagonists.
Lip Service is a Kudos Film & Television production for BBC Three through BBC Scotland.
Frankie - Ruta Gedmintas
Cat - Laura Fraser
Tess - Fiona Button
Sam - Heather Peace
Lexy - Anna Skellern
Sadie - Natasha O’Keeffe
Nora - Sinéad Keenan
Ed - James Anthony Pearson
Jay - Emun Elliott
Hugh - Stuart McQuarrie
Dr Declan Love - Adam Sinclair
Bea - Alana Hood
Lauren - Neve McIntosh (from ep3)
Series Creator - Harriet Braun
Writers - Harriet Braun (eps 1 & 2), John Jackson (ep3), Rachel Anthony (ep4), Louise Ironside (ep5), Lena Rae (ep6)
Directors - Sallie Aprahamian (eps 1-3), Jill Robertson (eps 4-6)
Producer - Emma Kingsman-Lloyd
Executive Producers - Derek Wax (Kudos Film & Television), Harriet Braun, Matthew Read (BBC Scotland)