Swapping Yorkshire for Florida doesn’t sound like a bad plan – especially in January. That’s the idea behind this returning comedy drama
Tuesday 15 January, 9pm, Sky One/HD (CH 110/109). Also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > Sky One
They’re best known for playing detectives in gritty British dramas: Philip Glenister as DCI Hunt in Life On Mars and Lesley Sharpe as DC Janet Scott in Scott & Bailey. So a chance to swap their sombre office suits for the vibrant threads worn by their sun-seeking ex-pat characters in Living The Dream was too good an opportunity to miss.
Philip and Lesley play Mal and Jen Pemberton, who decide one day to up sticks and move from drizzly Yorkshire to Florida with their teenage children to run a caravan park, but will it be happy camping in series 2?
Sharpe, Will & Grace star Leslie Jordan, who plays one of the park’s oldest residents, and more of the cast took time out of filming to speak to Virgin TV Edit about what to expect.
Mal and Jen’s dream of a better life came crashing down in the first series when they discovered that their upscale caravan park was actually run-down and full of dubious characters. In this series, they’re slowly putting the pieces back together; overcoming challenges and making improvements here and there. That is, until Mal realises he has to sack Jen because of visa employment laws.
“Jen’s bright, her children are at school and she wants to work. But Mal has to sack her and obviously that’s not ideal. There’s a bit of jiggery-pokery between them and Jen has to go behind his back to get some work as a physiotherapist, which was her profession back in England,” explains Lesley.
“What I love about this show is that rather than show a family who are at odds with one another, it’s a family that’s pulling together and trying to make things work.”
Another boon for the cast in the weather. “While the show is set in Florida, it’s filmed in Spain. It’s a gorgeous area and everyone has a brilliant time. It makes a change from Scott & Bailey, which is usually filmed in a freezing studio or a car park or on Saddleworth Moor, and we’re always running for the heater in between takes. On Living The Dream we’re always running for the air conditioner!”
The show also stars Paula Wilcox as Jen’s mum Maureen. Having previously been upset with Mal for uprooting the family, Maureen is beginning to see how Mal is simply trying to do his best to make life comfortable for everyone. “She was dead against the park to begin with, but when she gets there and sees just how hard it is to run, she sees how having a go at him isn’t going to help anybody, especially not her daughter and grandchildren,” Wilcox explains.
“I think she’s in that typical situation, where she knows it’s important to keep her son-in-law on side. She’s making an effort with Mal, but on the other hand she’s worried because he’s a bit of a chancer! She’s no pushover and she’s always got an eye on him.”
And while most of the residents are resistant to the changes the Pembertons are introducing to the park, Aiden (Leslie Jordan) has taken a shine to them and does his best to help out where he can. “Aiden is the middle man between the Pembertons and the other residents. He’s one of the few people in the trailer park who understands their dilemma – if they don’t make money, they could lose their green card status, and they’re simply trying their best to make a new life with their kids,” says Jordan.
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