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29 October 2014

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So Somerset

Sarah Parish in Blackpool

Yeovil's Sarah Parish in Blackpool

Yeovil-born actor Sarah Parish is in fine voice in a new BBC ONE drama. Blackpool, written by Pete Bowker, is a darkly comic six-part thriller with musical numbers.

The action centres around Ripley Holden, played by David Morrissey. He is a flawed hero; a charismatic family man who trained at the school of hard knocks.

Ripley is poised to make top dollar as the seaside town reinvents itself as the Las Vegas of the Lancashire coast.

As he struggles to keep his chaotic family in check, Ripley hangs on to one hope - the good life is just around the corner.

But family life begins to take its toll, and when the body of a young man is found in his showpiece arcade, he finds himself brought down by a series of events that are out of his control.

Behind every successful man...

Well, as the saying goes, behind every successful man there's a good woman, and for the Holden family, that couldn't be more true.

Sarah Parish and David Morrissey in Blackpool
Natalie and Ripley

Sarah plays Ripley's neglected wife Natalie, whose attention is drawn elsewhere when Ripley becomes distracted by his money-making ventures.

But without her, Ripley would be nothing... yet he doesn't realise that yet.

They've been together since their late teens, and Natalie is the mother of Ripley's two children - Shyanne and Danny.

Natalie has a home to be proud of and wants for nothing - except the love and affection of her wayward husband.

"They live in a fantastic house, they've obviously done incredibly well in the time they've been together," says Parish, who has also appeared in Hearts & Bones and Peak Practice.

"But Natalie's a bored housewife, which is why she does charity work - she works at the Samaritans, she works at Oxfam - she'll go anywhere that people need her.

"Natalie is one of life's lovely people. She's quite a hard-done-by person and is very much under the thumb of Ripley, who's a very vivacious, huge character.

"You often find in couples like that that one person swamps the other person's personality.

"I think Natalie, through the years, has become quite dominated by Ripley and has lost a lot of herself - she's become smaller and smaller over the years."

Difficult teenagers

Parish, once again, finds herself playing a woman with children in their late teens, despite having no children herself and only being in her mid-thirties: "It's funny, isn't it?" she laughs.

"I've been doing it ever since my first television job, Peak Practice - I had three kids in that and the oldest was about 15, and I was only 28!"

Her daughter in Cutting It, Ruby, is in her late teens and, in Blackpool, Shyanne is 19 and Danny, 16.

"Natalie is supposed to be around 38, I would've thought, so she's only got two years on me. Every series I do the kids get older and older though, and I think, 'I must go and have that facial!'"

In Blackpool, Natalie has a fraught relationship with her children and finds it hard to relate to them.

"Her daughter is very brittle towards her and her son is a very messed up young lad who doesn't really know how to talk to his parents.

"She's a very timid, sweet, lovely, good mother but she's in a place in her life now when she feels that she isn't needed by anyone.

"Her kids have grown up, Ripley doesn't need her and suddenly, someone comes along who takes an interest in her and wants to listen to her."

That someone happens to be DI Carlisle, the policeman investigating Ripley Holden for murder, but it's a while before Natalie finds out about her new friend's career.

"He takes an interest in her and wants to listen to her and pay her some attention - that hasn't happened to her in such a long time."

On song

"Another great song is Should I Stay or Should I Go. It just reminds me of being a Goth and charging around lots of different clubs in Yeovil!"
Sarah Parish

Parish relished the chance to brush up on her song-and-dance skills for the role, but admits that she had to work hard at it.

"When I was younger I did ballet, until I was about 15. I also did a musical at the Donmar Warehouse called Nine - I had to dance a lot and do a bit of singing - but I wouldn't say that I'm a born dancer or singer at all.

"The most fun song I've done in this is probably Don't Leave Me This Way, by The Communards, because it was a huge dance number. That was really good fun. We all came out feeling like we'd done a day's work after that!

"There's been loads of great songs though - David Tennant [DI Carlisle] and I did the Gabrielle song, Should I Stay, and that looks beautiful, and the Elvis Costello one, King Of America, is a great song.

"My brother was always a big Elvis Costello fan - I must've been around 14 or 15 at the time.

"Another great one is Should I Stay or Should I Go, by The Clash. It just reminds me of being a Goth and charging around lots of different clubs in Yeovil!

"I'm into old funk music these days - Stevie Wonder, Sister Sledge - things that are really quite corny! I love going to discos and dancing around my handbag!"

Love story

Parish describes Blackpool as a "beautiful love story" but, like all good love stories, the course certainly doesn't run smoothly.

"It's a story about things falling apart - a marriage falling apart, a man falling apart, his business falling apart, a dream falling apart, but the songs kind of bring it up."

Parish believes that viewers will be drawn to the drama because it's so different from anything else.

"People will watch because they've never seen anything like it before. It's colourful and bright and fun."

Back to the salon

After spending weeks up in Blackpool filming the drama, Parish has a couple of months off before returning to the north west of England.

"I'm going back to do Cutting It in Manchester," she says.

"It's good fun up there. We always have a scream and they're a great bunch of people. We try to get apartments in the same block together.

"It's a riot, it's exhausting - that's why I need two months off before I go back."

When can I see Blackpool?

The first episode of Blackpool is due to be screened on BBC ONE on Thursday 11 November at 9pm.

You can get more of a sneak preview of the series by taking a look at our photos of Sarah in our gallery - the link is at the top of the page.

Fancy being the Bard of Burnham?

The BBC wants you to write a ballad of your home town, and you could have it performed on BBC Radio 2's Mark Radcliffe show.

The competition, Get Writing with Blackpool, is being launched to accompany the first episode of the series.

You can get information about how to enter the competition, plus tips and advice for improving your creative writing on the BBC's Get Writing site - the link's at the top of the page.

last updated: 02/12/04
Have Your Say
Are you going to be watching Blackpool? What did you think of Sarah in Trust and Cutting It?
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sarah parish was amazing in blackpool she played her part very well i loved it

I ve got to be her biggest fan!!!i loved allie much ..couln't wait for the next episodes...but WHY did they decide to kill her off???hasn't she suffered enough??..i will be missing this great drama..nothing compare to it ..

Sarh was absolutely amazing in cutting it one moment her character would have me laughing the next i would be crying!it was an absolute tragedy to see her leave the programme and in sucha horrible way. she was also fantastic in blackpool. i have bought the blackpool dvd and the cutting it 1 to 4 box set. money well spent. i hope that there will be another blackpool or that she will appear in something else soon.

Andrew Robson
Her acting hasn't got any better.. she was allways brilliant even in her drama school days!

Melvyn Hull
BLACKPOOL.Watched it!! and loved it.This has to be one of the best musical dramas ever.My congratulations to all the stars of the show.They excelled themselves.As for Trust & Cutting it, alas I have not seen either. My loss.

In cutting it I think Sarah Parish carried her role very well. She was so good in it that it has inspired my sister and I to be hairdressers.

I loved Sarah in Cutting It. Her acting in supreme and flawless. I am so sorry to see her go from the program and think there will be a huge hole now that she is gone. I feel there will be no actress able to fill the great chasm that will now be in the show.

I thought She was amazing in Cutting it and its a shame that she is no longer on the show as the viewers will miss her! Its not going 2 b a good show without Allie!

i have cried so many tears for Cutting it. It is the best tv programme ever, i haven't missed one. Without Allie (Sarah) it truly wont be the same. I am very disappointed, i think getting rid of her was the worst thing the show could have done. She truly is a star and she is gorgeous. How will Gavin cope without her? and if Gav got with melissa it wouldn't be the same and in my eyes it would be trying to replace Allie but Allie is her own person no one can ever replace her. But whatever she is going onto i wish her all the best and i'm sure she will be just as brill!

Sarah Parish without any doubt is seriously beautiful externally and internally. I would willingly die for 5 minutes of her time should she devote it to me! Fact

Tara Nevet
Cutting it is ace! The series has seriously been brilliant but it wont be the same without allie she along with gavin made the series so compelling. Please bbc find a way 2 bring her back! The way the cancer subject was handled was truely amazin n i like how they made us question whether she killed herself on badness cant wait till the next episode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think the whole "cutting it" lot make a great team,but Melissa does not fit in--I believe this was a faux-pas. Without Sarah the series won't be the same & I am extremely disappointed that you ended it in this way...

holly wasson
allie cant go in cutting it she made the series.. she is a brilliant actress!!!!

allie come back!!!!!!!!!

Claire McGrath
One word sums up both series - brilliant.

i cryed so much watching Cutting It, it was so well acted and so light hearted and funny even though it was a serious subject, i will miss Ally!

awwwwwwwwww, allie dont go

Dee Nicholls
Sarah is brilliant in cutting it she makes the series and it wont be the same with out her. you have to bring her back

Definitely to watch Blackpool, end of. Cutting it was enough to make me move from London to Manchester - looks like I'll be selling up and moving to Blackpool

David McCreanney - Belgium
Blackpool was fantastic, both David Morrissey and Sarah Parish were as usual wonderful.Sarah has a most beautiful and erotic body as depicted in the love scenes.

Roy Jervis
Sarah is very attractive and sexy.She plays Natalie to perfection and I envied D I Carlisle

I watched Blackpool, and i thought it was brilliant. Haven't seen anything like it for agessssss Thank you from a BBC watcher in Holland

exceptionally good

Mike Thompson
Being an adoptive Mancunian though am back in the Midlands at the moment I think Cutting It is a wonderful series. I am however disappointed if its true that this will be the last one with the lovely Sarah Parish. I think she is a wonderful and talented actress and despite my uncertainty about Blackpool I really think The Beeb with the truly talented Actress' and Actors have pulled this off. Lets hope its put out for general release when the series comes to a close and hope theres a follow up. Thanks Sarah you are well loved and liked.

Steve - Manchester
Blackpool is ace ! & Sarah is stunning !

michael robert
I must comment on the current performance in "Blackpool". This is a really wonderful performance, by a superb actress who is developing her character as each episode is shown. Very believeable, which is the top accolade. Super performance by a gifted lady.

Sarah was brilliant in both Trust and Cutting it, but I think I liked her parts in Hearts and Bones and Peak Practice best so far. Blackpool is really devellopping into a great drama, so I'll definetely be watching all episodes! Poor Natalie! I hope everything will work out for her!

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