From ‘This Is England’ to ‘Preacher’ Joe Gilgun has always kept it real and relatable in the characters he has portrayed. Now, co-creator and star of the new Sky One comedy ‘Brassic’, Gilgun goes grassroots in the depths of Northern England with edgy hilarity.
The 6 episode Sky Original series will spearhead comedy at Sky sees Gilgun team up with BAFTA award-winning writer, Danny Brocklehurst to deliver an authentic, challenging and razor-sharp show. The series focuses on a group of working-class friends finding unconventional ways to win at life in northern suburbia. What lay at the very heart of the series is irreplaceable, lifelong friends, loyalty and the things that come between them.
What the show aims to deliver is not just first-class comedy which is outrageous every step of the way but a look at how the forgotten working-class people have to deal with day in and day out. Struggling to make ends meet, a few cheeky, not quite lawful high jinks provide not just a few extra pounds but a bit of excitement to their otherwise humdrum life, but these working-class petty criminals have calamity in their soul and big enough hearts to endear them to the hardest of hearts.
The brain-child of Gilgun, the show is somewhat of a semi-autobiographical tale and the person we have to thank for the show emerging out of Gilgun’s intensely genius mind and coming to fruition is Dominic West. At a Q and A for the series, Gilgun revealed in a bluntly honest and extremely colourful speech exactly how West was involved in getting the story off the ground.
“Because of my bipolar, I do go through a lot of different symptoms, around the time I was filming Pride I started suffering from really quite chronic anxiety. It was f****** crazy, I had never felt anything like it before. I was pretty much convinced I had a sinus infection or something like that; I had this doctor come round. It said listen, the bottom line is you having a f****** meltdown, and you’re terrified of everything. He diagnosed it as general anxiety disorder. At this time I was talking a lot with Dominic West, I’m hanging out with him, we’re a bizarre pair up me and him but we do seem to get on for some reason. I was on this f****** balcony smoking dope and he had brought this geezer round from the Cirque De Soleil and a f****** 2-litre bottle of Evian full of IPA. So wherever they had been they had been out on the piss, they come back and we had a bit of a chat. I’m telling them about these stories, and he said just listen this is pointless, he went you can’t just be telling yarns like this on a f****** balcony. He said I need to introduce you to David Livingston…”
Who’s in the show?
Joe Gilgun plays Vincent, a Lancashire lad with bipolar disorder. Vincent is at the heart of every little deal that takes place and eventually goes wrong but one thing’s for certain, even though he always takes his mates down with him, his friends are his family.
Ripper Street’s Damien Molony plays Vincent’s best mate, Dylan. Inseparable and totally co-dependent on Vincent his arm is easily twisted. Dylan is faced with the impossible decision between a fresh start with the love of his life or staying behind with his inseparable gang of mates that he can’t live without.
Our Girl’s Michelle Keegan plays Erin, the long-suffering girlfriend of Dylan. The sensible one, who wants to start a new life with Dylan and her son Tyler away from the town and away from Dylan’s troublesome mates.
On her first reaction to reading the script, Keegan knew she wanted to be a part of it “I remember laughing out loud and halfway through the script I knew it was something I wanted to be part of straight away. I have never done a comedy before as well, so for me; it was a yes straight away”.
The rest of the gang are made up of Tom Hanson who plays Cardi, champion kebab eater and total liability and doesn’t go anywhere without his pet pigeon.
Aaron Heffernan as Ash, the son of a family of fighting Travellers whose fists can get them out of most kinds of trouble;
Ryan Sampson as Tommo, the most sexually liberated man in Britain who doesn’t care what people think;. Ryan on why he loved his character said “The breakdown for it said Tommo a pervert, I thought to myself, great I don’t need to do any research. I love playing a character, especially small men who overcompensate by doing a lot of squats. They have a massive bum, I thought he has a right powerful bum on him”
Parth Thakerar plays JJ, a sharp entrepreneur who runs a garage (with a lucrative sideline in stolen cars).
One of the most important issues of the series is the actual setting and the people who make up the show. For both the writer, Danny Brocklehurst and Gilgun it was important to portray the working-class people from the forgotten towns of England in a way that is very rarely seen, in the light of truth.
“I’ve written quite a bit of stuff in my career about working-class characters and particularly in the north where I live” Brocklehurst said. “When we were talking about this, I think one of the things we sort of thought, there is a line in the show about this that there is a lot of forgotten towns in the country or just little towns that people just haven’t left or they’ve made their own kind of rules. I think that’s an important thing to show, it’s a place where a lot of people live and a world, not this extreme, but there is a sort of recognisability to some of Brassic. Certainly, where I am from there are hints of this”.
“Well, Chorley – which we have imaginatively renamed as Hawley – It’s an ex-milling town, so it doesn’t know what the f*** it is now. Unless you’ve got a burning ambition to work at B&Q you need to get out really, that’s why I’m here, and we’re not in Chorley as there is nothing really there” Gilgun added. “F****** load of roundabouts, they do well for that. The one thing that was important to me and to Dan and the rest of the creative team. When the working classes are portrayed they often show how f****** miserable they are. It’s just not true; some of the happiest people I’ve met have got fuck all. Some of the most intelligent men and women I’ve ever met are working-class men and women who have read their way out of the grime and the bloody grind they are in. It’s an unapologetic disposition, a commentary on the working-classes particularly the town I come from Chorley. Because there aren’t any opportunities and because there isn’t an awful lot to do, it breeds these unbelievable bizarre people”.
Brassic will premiere on Sky One and NOW TV with all episodes available from the 22 August.