Sanjeev Bhaskar, Simon Bird and David Walliams have been cast in Sandylands, a new three-part sitcom which will air on UKTV’s Gold next year.
Also starring Sophie Thompson (Detectorists, Coronation Street), Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch) and Natalie Dew (West End’s Bend It Like Beckham), the series starts filming this month.
Twenty-seven-year-old Emily Verma (Dew) is living the high life (or so she tells herself) in London, having escaped the clutches of Sandylands – her seaside hometown where her semi-estranged father Les Vegas (Bhaskar) remains a local celebrity as arcade owner and self-proclaimed ‘King of the Strip’.
However, when Sandylands becomes headline news after a bloodied pedalo is washed ashore (a bit like the Marie Celeste, but on a smaller scale) – a pedalo last hired by Les – Emily is forced to make a reluctant visit home, where she quickly discovers that all is definitely not what it seems in her old stomping ground.
With Les declared ‘lost at sea’, Emily is charged with putting his affairs in order, organising his memorial and selling the family home.
In the process of doing this she is befriended by oddball next door neighbours Derek Swallows (Walliams) and his wife Jeannie (Thompson). Emily also becomes reacquainted with her old best friend and extreme hedonist Tina (Webb), who holds the local record for most saveloys consumed in under three minutes, local nightclub owner Terry Chino (Parkinson) and former childhood crush Nathan (Bird).
Unbeknown to Emily however, her every move, and every subtle twitch of a curtain at her family home is under the constant scrutiny of a mysterious one-eyed man, who’s recently arrived in Sandylands and works for the life insurance company that’s due to pay out over Les’ unfortunate demise.
The series also stars Harriet Webb (White Gold, Scarborough), Hamza Jeetooa (Our Girl) and Bronwyn James (Harlots, Wild Bill).
Written by Martin Collins and Alex Finch (writers for sketch group This Glorious Monster) and directed by Michael Cumming (Brass Eye, Toast of London), the series is being produced by King Bert.
Pete Thornton, UKTV’s head of scripted, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the hugely talented team at King Bert on this highly original three-parter.
“As a father/daughter relationship comedy with a twist, this series breaks more ground for comedy originations on Gold.
“The quality of the cast is a testament to the range of brilliantly drawn characters that Alex and Martin have created and we’re very much looking forward to diving into the mysterious waters swirling around Sandylands.”
Jo Sargent, executive producer for King Bert, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Gold to bring this three-part series to life.
“Martin and Alex have written a brilliant comedy that celebrates the great British seaside; full of laughs, twists and turns and seagulls. We can’t wait to introduce the world to Sandylands.”