Stanley Park writer introduces the Carrie Bradshaw of Croydon
Dappers stars Being Human's Lenora Crichlow and Ty Glaser as a pair of sparky chancers who are best friends and single mums struggling to bring up their toddlers in Bristol.
(Photo shows Holliday Grainger as Dirty Debbie in Stanley Park.)
The second of our pilots is Stanley Park which was originally written as a stage play. I asked the young creator Leo Richardson to tell us about writing the show and how it felt to adapt it for TV...
Welcome to Stanley Park... It's where I grew up, and before anyone from home slaps me round the face - the characters are mainly fictional. Stanley Park and the adjoining Stanley Place is based just outside of Croydon and was inspired by my play 'Sh*t-Mix', which was on stage in the West End just under two years ago. I'm so thrilled to have the chance to get this put onto the screen. When the run of the play was over, I was kinda sad. I felt like the characters were friends I wouldn't see again. Also, and I know it's odd (but I am), I'd always hear the characters voices in my head. Sometimes I'd even be out shopping, for example, and look in a window and say, Dirty Debbie would love that. So I decided, off my own back, to write a six part series, totally unaware if it would ever be made.
Stanley Park's all about young people really - and all the sh*t you go through. That was part of the double meaning to the play 'Sh*t-Mix'. I wanted to do something the total opposite of Skins. That's had its success and did immensely well, but for me, the kids were far too cool. I never knew anyone that cool. No one I ever knew at that age started a riot or smashed up a pub. We just got drunk and made fools of ourselves. I spent so many Sunday mornings, waking up aghast at what I may or may not have done. I still do sometimes. The kids in Stanley Park are far from cool. They're immensely human and vulnerable and fallible. And they live in a world full of consequence and it's so important for young people to see that.
My aim with Stanley Park was to create something both funny, and dramatic. Just like life. When you love someone enough to laugh at them, you're there with them when they're down. Take one of the characters Dirty Debbie. She's utterly ridiculous. She's so very deluded, and the stuff she comes out with is hilarious. Thinking she's the Carrie Bradshaw of Croydon? I mean, come on. But it's where this comes from that interests me. Debbie's actually so, so vulnerable. She lost her mum three years ago; she's had three step dads and her Auntie Pat has clearly got a drink problem, as well as being in denial about her own loneliness. Like so many young people today, Debbie's had a tough time, so she's created this image. When you blow the lid off of her facade, that's when the drama is created.
I'll wrap up by saying we have such a talented director and cast and crew. When I first saw the show all the way through it blew me away. I was so proud, I actually cried. You can write a good script and it can come out dire. But when you get those extra layers of talent, as well as amazing producers - you realize how it all comes together. I'm so, so proud of everyone that's been involved in this show, and knowing how in love with the show everyone was, made it such a special experience.
When I sat in my bedroom in Carshalton and wrote this script every night after working all day on a building site with my dad and brother (if I didn't have an acting job that was!), I never expected it to be made. I just wanted to tell my story. All I can say is, I poured my heart and soul into this series, so I hope it sees the light of day and I hope you enjoy our pilot as much as we all enjoyed making it for you. I promise if you like pilot, we have even better stuff in store. These characters go on a real journey.
(Photo shows Joe Cole as Lee Stephens in Stanley Park.)
And please, if you like it, tell us why - it means a lot to us.
Leo Richardson is the writer of Stanley Park.
You can watch Stanley Park and Dappers here on the blog from Thursday.
Both programmes will also be screened on BBC Three on Thursday 10th June from 9pm.
You can watch the first of our drama pilots, Pulse, on this blog now and on TV on Thursday 3rd June at 9pm.
- Watch Pulse now
- Pulse writer Paul Cornell writes about his inspiration
- Watch more preview clips from Stanley Park
- Watch preview clips from Dappers
- More about the drama pilots season
- BBC Three drama pilots scripts on the BBC Writers Room Website
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