FUNNY IN SUN THE
Philip Glenister, Lesley Sharp and some very snappy locals star in Sky’s new comedy about a British family coping with a wild new life in Florida
The temperature’s over 90ºF, the air’s heavy with 80 per cent humidity and bugs and mosquitoes abound… Welcome to the set of Living The Dream, the new six-part Sky One comedy-drama about an ordinary Yorkshire family who up sticks to head across the Atlantic to run a trailer park in the sunshine state of Florida.
The series reunites Life On Mars actor Philip Glenister with his Clocking Off co-star Lesley Sharp as Mal and Jen Pemberton, a loved-up couple who leave rain-lashed England with daughter Tina, 17, and son Freddie, 15, after buying a dilapidated residential trailer site which Mal plans to turn into a booming family business. However, their hopes of a dream life in the sun look decidedly over- optimistic after their initial encounters with some of the eccentric park residents and the local wildlife, which includes alligators and snakes.
Reality sets in for the children when they attend their new high school, says Rosie Day, who plays Tina. ‘She has an image of what it’s going to be like but the reality is Florida is quite religious and boring and not full of parties and the glam lifestyle she expected. She is desperately trying to get her new boyfriend to kiss her but even that isn’t allowed!’
Tina’s brother Freddie, played by Brenock O’Connor – who you might recognise as Night’s Watch member Olly from Game Of Thrones – also struggles to adapt. ‘He wears a hoodie and has earphones in, head down, not wanting to change from a proper Yorkshire boy.’
Fresh from filming a scene in which Mal has an angry stand-off with his colourful residents, Philip explains why he jumped at the role. ‘Having just finished playing a Southern preacher in Fox drama Outcast, which is all about demonic possession and not a barrel of laughs, I wanted to do some comedy,’ he says.
‘Mal is the eternal optimist in many respects. He’s been fairly successful, he’s provided for his family, and his wife Jen keeps everything grounded and real. The core of the show is their relationship, and it’s nice to see a middle-aged couple on TV who get on. They decide to go off on an adventure at a stage in their lives when a lot of people are thinking of slowing down or retiring.’
Living The Dream also offered Lesley some light relief, having just played DC Maggie Oliver in the critically acclaimed but harrowing BBC1 drama Three Girls, based on the Rochdale child-grooming scandal. ‘This show’s the polar opposite,’ she says. ‘You’re always looking for vari-
ety in the tone of the work you’re doing, so it’s great to engage in something light, warm and a bit of a caper.
‘Jen is incredibly proactive as a mother and a wife,’ Lesley adds. ‘She and Mal still have great fun together. Often you’re presented with the problems that exist in a family at this stage of life, and while those conundrums are there with the Pembertons, the way they choose to deal with them is through adventure, humour and communication.’
The hope now, of course, is that the Pembertons’ exploits appeal to viewers. ‘I’d love this to continue,’ says Philip. ‘There’s lots more to explore so it would be great to get a second season and beyond, and just keep going with it.’ Living The Dream starts on Thursday at 9pm on Sky One.