TV drama could get Hollywood treatment as Spielberg is a big fan (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Kay Mellor's new drama set in Bradford likely to be a big draw for Hollywood director
A television programme set in Bradford could be getting the Hollywood treatment, its writer has revealed.
The show, about lottery-winning hospital workers, is a follow-up to writer Kay Mellor’s 2012 series The Syndicate – which she says Oscar-winning director Stephen Spielberg is a fan of.
The Syndicate 2 is set in fictional Bradford hospital St Anthony’s, where a group of low-paid workers share a £72m Euromillions jackpot. Filming took place over recent months in and around Bradford city centre, with locations including the Great Victoria Hotel, City Park, Little Germany and Manningham.
The series stars Alison Steadman, Mark Addy, Siobhan Finneran, Jimi Mistry and Bradford actress Natalie Gavin.
The first series of The Syndicate was a hit – with fans including Stephen Spielberg!
“He got in touch saying he loved it. He called it ‘gritty and beautiful’,” said Kay. “I was on the phone to him for 90 minutes. He said, ‘How big’s your writing team?’ and I said, ‘There’s just me at my kitchen table, in my slippers’. He couldn’t believe it. I sent him a photo of me in my kitchen!”
Spielberg’s interest led to an American version of the show, which Kay is overseeing.
“It translates well. The lottery winners are from one of those mini-supermarkets in American gas stations,” she said.
Kay, whose previous TV dramas include Band of Gold, also filmed and set in Bradford, admires the city’s “cinematic” qualities.
“I love Bradford’s elevations and vistas. It has the masculine stonework and the voluptuous, feminine beauty of the hills,” she said. “The City Park and Mirror Pool look amazing, and I wanted to capture the city’s vibrant multicultural feel.
“I’ve always loved kitchen sink dramas like Billy Liar; it means a lot to people to connect with a story and its setting.”
The new series explores what happens to lottery winners in a caring profession. “I wanted to look at what happens if your job is vocational and is important to you,” said Kay.
“In this series it’s a much bigger lottery jackpot - they each win £14m - and when you suddenly get that amount of money your life has to change.”
She added: “I spoke to real lottery winners for research and found that it isn’t always happy ever after. The euphoria often lasts just a few days. A load of troubles can disappear, sure, but a load more can appear just as quickly. Money isn’t called the root of all evil for nothing.”
l The Syndicate 2 starts on BBC1 on Tuesday at 9pm.