Philip Glenister and Lesley Sharp lead the cast of Sky 1's new comedy drama Living the Dream, about a family who move to America to start a glamorous new life... to find it's anything but! Phil and Lesley tell us more including how cold the swimming pool was!
Philip Glenister and Lesley Sharp on the pluses and pitfalls of filming their new sitcom Stateside…
Most of us Brits have dreamed of what it would be like if we just upped sticks and moved halfway round the world to start a new life. And that's exactly what one middle-aged couple does in Sky1's new comedy drama, Living the Dream.
Ashes to Ashes' Philip Glenister plays Mal Pemberton, who moves wife Jen (Scott & Bailey's Lesley Sharp) and their two teenage kids, Tina and Freddie, from rainy Yorkshire to sunny Florida, where he's bought a caravan park.
As the Pembertons arrive in the US, it seems Mal's got everything covered: a gorgeous new house with a giant swimming pool and space for two new cars. The family is thrilled but reality soon bites: the caravan park looks nothing like the pictures in the glossy brochure and it's going to need a LOT of work.
Throw in some eccentric locals, an ex-wrestler and an angry alligator (don't ask!) and it looks like Mal's American dream is about to turn into his worst nightmare! TV Times caught up with Phil and Lesley at an American diner in London – where else? – over burgers and milkshakes to find out more…
What's Living the Dream about?
Lesley Sharp: "It's about a couple – Mal and Jen Pemberton – who are at a point in their lives when they could settle for where they've got to in the UK, or they could rip all that up and go on an adventure. So that's what they decide to do. They're a very positive, warm and engaging middle-aged couple, and they take their two teenage kids off to Florida to run a caravan park business and to lead a different life." Philip Glenister: "They want to live the dream. Instead, when they get there, what they find is a complete mess! There’s a lot of red tape and obstacles to overcome if you want to start a business in America. It's not all a bed of roses."
The Kissimmee Sunshine Park certainly has some interesting residents like ex-wrestler Troy Marshall (Magic Mike’s Kevin Nash) and colourful suit-wearing Aiden (Will & Grace’s Leslie Jordan)…
Philip: "Kevin is 6'10" and weighs 295 pounds but he's an absolute pussycat. Leslie Jordan is great, too. All these characters have got their own eccentricities but you never feel the actors are overplaying it and it’s not too caricatured or clichéd. Having seen some of the real people over there, I think they've toned it down, if anything!"
Philip, there’s a scene in episode one where, as Mal, you jump into a pool naked. What was that like to film?
Philip: "We filmed that scene all in one take. It's in my contract now; that I've always got to get my kecks off! You know, being a global sex symbol, and all that. We filmed another pool scene on a day when the sun wasn't out. I jumped into the water and it was freezing. Then I discovered my cameraman hadn't been ready to shoot, so I had to do it all over again!"
What did you miss about Britain while filming in the States?
Philip: "I take teabags with me every time. That's the one thing I do miss when I'm away, a good old cup of tea. I like to teach the Americans how to make a proper brew." Lesley: "I took Mintoes, you know, those butter mints with a brown stripe on, from Marks & Spencer. I took about five bags and got people to post more to me when I ran out!"
What makes Living the Dream different to other comedy dramas?
Lesley: "There aren't many family shows these days, plus I think it's fantastic to see two middle-aged characters intent on going on an adventure instead of sniping at each other and talking about how miserable their lives are about to become because they're heading towards death! I think it's quite common actually that people over the age of 40 feel they've still got a bit of gas in their tank. They're up, they're energetic and they're having a go – they're not just sinking into some muddy version of middle age."
Living the Dream starring Philip Glenister starts on Thursday November 2 at 9pm on Sky 1 and Now TV.
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With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!