Soap actors join forces to bring comedy drama to life in Storyline

Jane Gurnett in CrossroadsFrom the actors and writers who once brought to life Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Crossroads and Casualty comes Storyline – a comedy about the drama of making a soap.

It may bring memories of Echo Beach and Moving Wallpaper to some by the description, but this entirely new idea from writer Neil Anthony Docking (Emmerdale, Casualty) and directed by Maxine Evans (Coronation Street, Crossroads) is different; it is being written and produced by those who have experience working on soap opera… It also features a majority of cast who have previously popped up in much loved serials including ITV favourites Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Crossroads. The BBC is represented with familiar faces from EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty to name a few.

Tilly Blackwood has starred in Casualty and The Bill in guest spots as well as a recurring role in Holby City as Emma Waring. Deddie Davies has popped up in many of our great dramas over the years including Upstairs, Downstairs, The Forsyte Saga, Dangerfield and Midsomer Murders. However she too has had soapy experience popping up in The Bill as well as several different roles in BBC daytime serial Doctors.

Terri Dwyer has had a fair bit of soap experience popping up in Brookside video spin-off Brookside: Double Take – itself a send-up of behind the scenes life at the now defunct Merseyside saga. Serious roles include Ruth Osbourne in Channel 4’s other serial Hollyoaks and a guest spot in Holby City. Ray Emmet Brown is another who has appeared in a number of UK serials including Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Casualty, The Bill, Holby City and Doctors to name a few. Jane Gurnett spent three years as the matriarch of the Crossroads Hotel following in the footsteps of Gabrielle Drake and Noele Gordon. Other soapy roles include as a regular in Casualty, a recurring role in The Bill and a guest spot in Doctors.

Mary Healey has featured in some classic sagas including the now often forgotten medical soap Angels for the BBC, a two year stint in Channel 4’s Brookside as Ruth Sweeney, two roles in Coronation Street, three roles in Holby City and four different character appearances in The Bill. Guest spots include parts in Casualty and Night and Day. Also Mark Homer has been signed up, best known for his long running role as Tony Hills in EastEnders.

“We want to make 3 totally original episodes and broadcast them for free across the internet as a prelude to something more ambitious and long running. Each episode will be 15-18 minutes long and feature a stellar British cast that includes Jane Gurnett, Terri Dwyer, Mark Homer, Steve Speirs, Jo Matthews, Deddie Davies, Mary Healey, Morgan Deare, Cameron Blakely, Tilly Blackwood, Ruth Minkley, Ray Emmet Brown, Lewes Roberts and John Weldon.” – Independence Pictures

Storyline is described by production company, Independence Pictures, as a fast-paced, quick-fire comedy with dramatic twists- set behind the often unruly, unbalanced and unyielding scenes of a fictional soap opera. Doocking and Evans believe it will give viewers the chance to see what really goes on behind the scenes of a long running saga and what actors, producers and storyliners really get up to behind the scenes.

Other cast include Cameron Blakley, Joanne Matthews, Morgan Deare, Ruth Minkley, Lewes Roberts, John Weldon and Steve Speirs. The venture is being funded by a Kickstarter campaign which can be found here.

Pictured top: Jane Gurnett as Kate Russell in ITV’s Crossroads, 2001.

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