Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Dancing With Angels

Feature from 2011

Samantha MacNicol
A new television drama is in production that is heavily entangled with the legend of Eric Morecambe. Based on a short story by the comic’s son Gary, it is being filmed at Elstree Studios in London under the careful eye of Paul Burton.

The leading character, Reggie, played by Ian Prosser, is a run-of-the-mill jobbing comic who becomes infatuated with Eric, to the extent of watching home movies and trying to replicate his comedy on stage (he performs his own material – not Eric’s!). This of course goes dramatically wrong and along with his drug addicted girlfriend, played by Samantha MacNicol, his life spirals forever downward.

“I wrote the short story about six years ago,” Gary explains, “it was in a book called Dancing with Angels. I liked the story because it related to Eric and I thought it would be good as a short film.”

“I knew Paul Burton from other work, including The Morecambe & Wise Quiz Book and some of his films, so we got together. I knew he could do a good job within a tight budget so we decided to go for it.”

“I wanted to turn this wonderfully dark story into a twenty minute film.” continues Paul, the director and producer, “I spent two weeks working on the script and Gary liked the changes I had made. I went from a four page short story into a fifty two page script. I wanted to make it far, far darker than original with Eric being the only light in it. ”

“I think the two main characters can only be described as damaged really.”

“The great tragedy,” continues Gary, “is that they come together. Two damaged people who slowly get worse when really they both need support.”

The drama itself is best described as bizarre and surreal; the inclusion of Eric’s home movies and pictures is an additional layer of weirdness. There is a heady mixture of real-life and dream sequences that sees Reggie drifting in and out of reality.

Originally planned to play the main role was Bob Golding, the man who recently toured the UK with his one-man show Morecambe. He was the obvious choice but due to contractual reasons could not make it. Ian kindly agreed to step in at very short notice and has really taken to the role.

“We began work on the project only about seven weeks ago and from there we have written and re-written the script, booked all the locations and actors and started production.” says Paul, chatting after a long days filming in the famous studios.

“We had a full day’s studio work that involved various bar scenes and dream sequences with a host of extras that very generously helped out. Then we will move to our external locations for the last few days. We now have to do all the editing, all of course scrutinised by Gary who is the executive producer.”

“We didn’t want to make just another short film,” Gary added,”that would be pointless. We wanted to make something that when you watch it you think that it is different and that you haven’t seen anything like it before. That is the challenge we have.”

The finished product should be available on DVD by mail order by the middle of the year and then it will be taken to various film festivals. Other productions by Paul have already been screened on Showcase TV 2 so he is confident they will broadcast at some point.

The DVD will also include a behind-the-scenes documentary shot throughout the filming so you can see what happens on a project like this.

So if dark dramas with heavy helpings of the surreal appeal to you, then keep an eye out for this production.

*This never made it to DVD and only cast/crew were given home created discs.

© 2011

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