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29 October 2014
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Ricky Tomlinson is "Nice Guy Eddie" - a new six part drama series from BBC Northern Ireland starting soon on BBC ONE

Ricky Tomlinson is back on BBC ONE as the warm and wisecracking Liverpool Private Investigator Eddie McMullen – a man for whom the chaos theory might have been invented.

Created specially for him by Liverpool writers Johanne McAndrew and Elliot Hope, Eddie is Ricky's first leading role in a television drama and filming took him back to his hometown of Liverpool.

"Eddie's got a big heart and although as a private detective he's not involved in the glamorous side of the business he treats every case with respect," says Ricky.

"He's always getting personally involved in his cases and just wants everyone to be happy.

"But for all his niceness he's not against bending the rules if it brings about the right conclusion. There is certainly a mischievous side to him and he'll bluff his way out of a tight spot.

"There must be a dozen real nice guy Eddies knocking around Liverpool doing exactly the same kind of job. In my opinion the writer, Johanne McAndrew, is the female Jimmy McGovern and the scripts have that magic mixture of tears and laughter that makes up real life."

Streetwise PI Eddie certainly sees all human life in the average working day before returning home to another dose of dramas in his houseful of women.

The double whammy of his outspoken wife Ronnie (Rachel Davies) and strong-willed Mum Vera (Elizabeth Spriggs) is backed up by his trio of gutsy daughters – Ange (Christine Tremarco), Becca (Emma Vaudrey) and Laura (Stephanie Waring).

Adding to the chaos is the shock appearance of a handsome, young stranger claiming that Eddie is his father. Frank, played by Tom Ellis, sticks around to help Eddie out at work and Eddie's brother-in-law Lol (John Henshaw) completes the male fight-back.

The six one-hour episodes also feature guest stars Eva Pope (Coronation Street, Peak Practice); Joanne Frogatt (Coronation Street, Bad Girls); Paul Barber (The Full Monty); Sharon Maughan (Gold Blend) and Jayne Ashbourne.

While researching the series the writers found a real "Nice Guy Eddie" – Liverpool private investigator Tony Smith, who acts as script consultant on the drama.

"From our first meeting Tony was very friendly, very chatty and basically told us that most of the job is very mundane, " says Elliot.

"Suddenly we realised that they don't solve murders, they serve writs. What he did say is that they tend to get involved with their clients. Tony still has people who visit him who were his clients years ago.

"We sold the series on the characters, particularly Eddie – fat, fifty and flaming knackered."

Johane says: "Then I met Ricky Tomlinson at a comedy writing course and we had him in mind as we wrote. When it came to trying to get him interested in the part he was brilliant.

"I remember ringing his house up and this dead posh man answered and I thought – 'whos this, it must be the butler'. I said who I was and where I'd met Ricky and the posh voice said 'Hiya girl, alright?' It was Ricky.

"I told him about the show, sent the script over to his house and the next day he rang and said he'd do it."

Tony Smith has been a PI in Liverpool for 25 years and – in his words – has seen "the lot".

"It's not exactly The Rockford Files," says Tony. "It's hours of bum-numbing sitting in cars followed by a few moments of excitement.

"The good side of the job is the people you meet. Just like Eddie I find it hard not to feel sorry for people whose lives are in a mess."

Executive producer Carol-Ann Docherty says the scripts capture perfectly the essence of a man who deals with the small dramas and misdemeanours of life but has integrity.

"Eddie always tries to do his best for everyone… even if that means lying through his teeth on more than the odd occasion," she says.

Robert Cooper, BBC Northern Ireland Head of Drama says: "It's a great feeling to get so caught up in a show that you start thinking the characters are real.

"Watching Eddie dodging and weaving around the truth, trying not to upset anyone - his wife, the rest of his family, his friends, the lad who claims to be his son – sinking deeper and deeper into a mire of hilarious deceit, I keep wanting to leap through the screen, give him a good talking to and tell him to sort things out."

Nice Guy Eddie was shot on location in Liverpool and is produced by Paddy Higson. The directors are Douglas Mackinnon (Episodes 1 & 2); Alan Macmillan (Episodes 3, 4 & 6) and Morag McKinnon (Episode 5).

Notes to Editors

The Nice Eddie Press Pack is available below in pdf format. You may require Adobe Acrobat Software to read pdf files which can be obtained here.

The cast and characters (436kb)

Interview with Ricky Tomlinson (12kb)

Interview with the writers (16kb)

Production Credits

Episode synopses - for journalists only - are available from the BBC Press Office.



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