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I TALK TO Sally Lindsay

Sky 1’s hit comedy drama Mount Pleasant is returning for a sixth series, and whilst it’s very much an ensemble piece, Sally Lindsay has been there from the beginning and involved in some brilliant storylines, so I caught up with her for a chat.

The new series kicks off with the opening of a revamped Dog and Dart pub, now under the ownership of Bradley, the former criminal, who has turned over a new leaf and promised Ella he will follow the right path. What could possibly go wrong?

We find Sally’s character Lisa continuing to navigate her not-so-simple suburban life in Manchester along with her husband Dan, father and friends. Here’s what Sally Lindsay had to say about series six...

Can you believe we’re talking about a sixth series of Mount Pleasant?

I know, it’s amazing isn’t it? I can believe it because I love it so much and I want it to go on forever. Only Fools and Horses went for twenty years, so you never know!

Do you think Mount Pleasant can run for years and years?

I think so yeah. Because what’s so brilliant about it is that every series we have a format, we know we have a format, we have the montage sequence and a threat to Dan and Lisa’s marriage in whatever shape or form.

So as long as that format stays strong, and all the characters stay with us, and the writer still stays with us, and the production company is amazing, then I don’t see why we couldn’t.

With every series, every script you get seems to be stronger than the last one. This series is just fantastic what happens, it’s amazing.

What’s great as well is that the show is constantly finding new audiences through Sky On Demand, which is unusual…

It is unusual isn’t? The lovely thing about it is that people think they’ve found a hidden gem and when people think they’ve found a programme themselves, they get very protective over it and obsessed with it.

And it’s great that we’ve got that kind of feeling, you know the first people who discovered Breaking Bad or Game Of Thrones? It’s like that – “Oh my God have you seen this amazing series?” – and this seems to be happening now for Mount Pleasant when the boxset came out on Sky.

People saying to me “I can’t believe I’ve not seen this before, I’ve spent all weekend watching it” – and that buzz is happening now really, it’s weird.

What can we expect from series six then?

It’s a really interesting time for Lisa because she’s sort of settled over the past year. Her and Dan are stronger than ever, even stronger than before I think because they nearly lost each other. And they’ve never done that before. So they’re really strong and they see each other now, they need each other.

And obviously Molly is amazing, who’s incidentally played by my niece this year, Alexia Lindsay, she’s on the credits so we’re very proud of her! She came on and she was amazing and got cast. I couldn’t believe it, it wasn’t that easy for me! She’s an absolute blummin’ star in it as well.

Lisa’s best mates with Jenna, and they work brilliantly as best mates now. Jenna decides to take on this loval businessman who’s a bit of a git to them really, especially to Lisa, and all of a sudden it turns into something else. It turns into a quest, it was just about getting her own back because he called her Linda at the start, and then all of a sudden it tunrs into a quest for what’s right and what’s good.

It’s mental how big it gets and I don’t know how Mark’s done it because you believe in it in every single way and Lisa finds strength in herself that she never had. It’s great, it’s brilliant to play, he never ever stops shocking me or challenging me Mark in terms of what Lisa is going to do next.

Are you enjoying playing the friendship now between Lisa and Jenna?

Oh it’s brilliant. You know what, it’s even better because it’s brilliant that it started the way it did because what it showed the audience is that they are very alike.

It’s so brave to cast two people that are so alike, because usually you’d go – Oh we need to go for somebody completely different, the kooky friend – which Denise is – or the depressed friend that you help out.

But then again, you look at your real life and your mates are just like you aren’t they? Otherwise they wouldn’t be your mates! It’s so real, and they are so alike it’s absolutely brilliant.

How’s Barry this series?

He’s just off the scale funny. I mean Bobby (Ball) just gets better and as he grows as an actor every year his comedy feeds off that. He doesn’t need to be told now where the gags are, he knows. He can read a script.

With every script he used to go “Why is this bit funny here?” – because he didn’t understand the young language of it and now he asks me that once a season. He knows! He knows the characters and he’s a brilliant brilliant actor.

Not only a brilliant comedy actor,  but a brilliant dramatic actor as well. He’s an all rounder Bobby. He’s on fire that man and it seems to be that as long as Mount Pleasant goes he seems to get younger! It’s crackers.

Jo Joyner joins this series, that must have been nice for you?

I know! Ain’t it mad that? It’s amazing because we’ve never been cast in anything together and then all of a sudden we get cast in two things together. Because we’re so similar we never got cast in anything together me and Jo for years. We’d always meet at auditions but never got cast.

She did Candy Cabs with Dan bizarrely and then she sent me this lovely email about how to cope with twins on set when I was pregnant with mine, then we did Ordinary Lies together and now we’re in this, it’s amazing!

What can you tell us about her character, Jane?

Well, we only have one scene together which is the power of Mount Pleasant. It’s such a massive ensemble piece now that she’s part of a completely different strain. It’s almost like Coronation Street with the factory and the pub.

It’s two huge worlds now that obviously collide now and again, but are completely strong on their own which is brilliant for everyone because if it was just called Lisa and Dan and Friends the show would be over by now because it’s just about us.

Because it’s about everyone it’s so strong and Jo comes in as this amazing actress playing Jane, who’s a complete liar. Pathological liar but really nice. She’s so clever with it. She’s brilliant.

There aren’t many comedy dramas on TV, let alone ones that do both genres justice, but Mount Pleasant does. Why do you think there are so few?

Because they’re so hard to make aren’t they? They’re so hard to get right. And you can’t because egos come into it and everyone wants to be number one, or everyone thinks they’re not being treated well and that just doesn’t happen on Mount Pleasant.

The culture is so ingrained in us that actually, let’s just fight for it and let’s have the biggest laugh ever. It doesn’t feel like work anymore, it’s amazing.

You’ve got stuff like Cold Feet that worked really well, but this just gets stronger and stronger and I think it’s the talent we attract, and I mean behind the camera as well. We’ve got the top focus pullers, the top DOP’s and they come because they’ve heard it’s such a brilliant laugh on Mount Pleasant.

We still have crew who have been there for six years and they read the scripts! Crew never read the scripts, and they come to certain scenes just to see how what we’re going to do with them.

So we feel like a big family that wants to keep as a family. Even David Bradley and Pauline Collins who are both sadly no longer in it, still text us at the start of every series to say good luck.

Students should study this in media to see how to make a programme, and how to make it last. I know that’s a really bold statement, but it’s true. And it’s not me, and it’s not Dan it’s all of us wanting to make it work. Benidorm have done it as well, which is interestingly Tiger Aspect as well!

There’s a big wedding this series, as Greg and Tanya get married. Does Lisa get involved?

Oh yeah, she’s in the middle of all that but it’s more about Bradley, Greg and Tanya that one. It’s a very interesting storyline.

Unfortunately, because of Sam’s (Womack) commitments in EastEnders, we only had her for a few weeks and we don’t half miss her. I think hopefully if we go again next year she’ll be in it a lot more because she’s so brilliant. Her and Greg are hilarious, so we missed her, but she’s fantastic in the run up to the wedding.

I have to talk about the last episode of series 5. What an emotional episode!

I know, it was quite scary wasn’t it? It was so real it was unreal. You couldn’t believe that it was happening in this normal pub, in the middle of Manchester. There were bars on the window and you could see your mother-in-law dying, and you couldn’t get hold of her.

We’d seen it on the page, but when we actually came to film it, it was quite hard. Jesus, can you imagine if your husband or your wife is literally in there behind them bars, and you can see them and they can breathe and you’re watching them… It still gets me now. And then when Dan didn’t come out, there was no acting required for that.

What’s next for you?

I start Still Open All Hours on September 11th and I’m in all seven of them this year, me and Johnny (Vegas) are in all seven. They’ve upped our appearance a bit, so that’ll be fun. Cath and Eric, at each other’s throats! So I go to my other TV husband for the rest of the year.

And then that’s this year, so I don’t know after that. Hopefully Mount Pleasant will go again, but we don’t know. It’s up to Sky really, or Sky viewers to make that decision. So thank you very much for pushing it for us, we really appreciate it. We really do appreciate your support Elliot, you know we do.

Mount Pleasant returns Tuesday 30th August at 9pm on Sky 1


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