As Mount Pleasant returns for a fifth series, I took a trip up to Manchester to visit the set of this comedy, have a snoop around the different houses and speak to many of its fantastic cast including Bobby Ball and Paula Wilcox.
Bobby plays Barry, Lisa’s dad and Paula plays Pauline, Dan’s mum. From what they had to say it sounds like it’s going to be a brilliant series.
How does it feel to be back?
Paula: It’s great, it’s year five!
Bobby: Yeah it’s year five and it’s great. Mount Pleasant is just a family. I know that’s been said and said and said, but it is. It’s just a joy to come back.
Paula: We’re just been doing this scene where we’re all around the same table, and they find it so hard to film because we’re all chatting. We don’t all get together that much in the story, so on the odd occasion that we’re all together, it really is like a family. It’s so much fun.
Pauline’s got a brand new job in the Dog and Dart?
Paula: Yeah, it’s great. It’s a marriage made in heaven I think, Pauline behind the bar and the Dog and Dart, it’s great. I get to hear everybody’s problems, and advise everybody, so Pauline’s becoming a sort of oracle.
I hear there’s a new man on the scene for Pauline. A silver fox played by Clive Mantle?
Paula: Oh I don’t know how much I can say... Charlie, Pauline's husband, is away playing with the band again. Last year they were on a tour of working mans clubs, and this year they’re doing some sort of cruise, so they’re away for a long time. Then this guy turns up, and he’s so nice to Pauline. He stands up when she comes into the room, and lets her sit down first and stuff like that.
Pauline has never had this sort of treatment from anybody. So anyway, I’m having a nice time with this guy, but in quite an innocent way actually. And I think that’s all I’m allowed to say... but he is very persuasive, and a very smooth operator.
He gives her the job in the pub, and she owes him a lot, in terms of her standing now in the community. She’s got a proper job, and she’s making proper money which I don’t think she’s ever had before. Nobody has ever given her responsibility before, so she laps it up. She absolutely loves it!
What’s Barry up to this series? Is he still the doting grandfather?
Bobby: Yes, he’s a doting grandfather. He loves his family very much, and they’re not having a great time at the minute so he’s on the periphery of it all, and it brings back memories for him. He’s looking after children a lot.
Paula: And he’s being chased a little bit... Somebody finds Barry irresistible! (Laughs)
Bobby: Well the new neighbours have moved in across the road, and it’s the nana. There’s a bit of flirting going on, but she intimidates him a bit because he’s still thinking of Sue, his wife. I wouldn’t have minded an 18-year-old model, but no, I get the nana!
Because the Nana latches onto me, it makes me think about Sue, so I get very emotional with that. There’s lots of light and shade this series.
Paula: We all cried at the read through when they read that scene.
Bobby: I think it’ll surprise people. For me it’s quite new this whole acting thing. I’m loving it, and I just love Mount Pleasant, I just love the atmosphere that we’ve got back stage.
How are Pauline and Barry affected by Lisa and Dan’s marital problems?
Bobby: Yes, I go in quite sympathetic, but she puts them straight.
Paula: I think the problem is, that they both know there’s something going on, but they’re not quite sure what. So there’s a lot of soul searching and anxiety and it’s all bubbling under the surface.
Everybody knows what’s going on, and everyone in Mount Pleasant is affected by the fact that they’re not very happy, and neither of them really knows why.
Why do you think people love the series so much? It’s no mean feat getting to five series...
Paula: I think it’s the script. I think it always comes down to the script, and the fact that they’ve created all these characters, and they’re all catered for, and all the characters have interesting things happening to them. There’s something in the show for everyone out there.
A cab driver said to me the other day - “Between you and me, me and my wife think we are Dan and Lisa really, because they’re so like us!” And I think that’s true for a lot of age groups. There’s something there for everybody.
Bobby: There’s a warmth about it. People that I know absolutely love it, they’re addicted to it.