Blackpool (TV serial)

Blackpool (TV serial)

Infobox British television
show_name = Blackpool

caption = The UK DVD Cover
format = Drama
runtime = 60 mins each (360 mins total)
creator = Peter Bowker
starring = David Morrissey
David Tennant
Sarah Parish
directors = Coky Giedroyc
Julie Anne Robinson
channel = BBC One
first_aired = November 11 2004
last_aired = December 16 2004
num_episodes = 6
country = UK
producer = BBC
related = Viva Blackpool

"Blackpool" is a British television musical drama serial, produced in-house by the BBC. It was screened on BBC One as six one-hour episodes on Thursday nights at 9pm from November 11 to December 16 2004. When retransmitted by BBC America in 2005, it was renamed "Viva Blackpool", and went on to win a Peabody Award for BBC Worldwide, the commercial overseas distribution subsidiary of the BBC. [cite press release|url=|title=BBC Worldwide triumphs at the 65th Annual Peabody Awards|publisher=BBC|date=6 April 2006|accessdate=2008-02-02] A sequel was produced, also called "Viva Blackpool" in the UK.


Ripley Holden (David Morrissey) is a small-time entrepreneur desperate to make it big with his new state-of-the-art amusement arcade. The opening extravaganza is overshadowed by the find of a dead body on the premises. DI Carlisle (David Tennant) is called in and quickly finds he has more on his mind than murder, when he falls in love with Ripley's long-suffering wife, Natalie (Sarah Parish).

As the murder investigation deepens, Carlisle closes down the arcade for investigation and calls in Ripley's son, Danny (Thomas Morrison) for questioning. Carlisle suspects that Danny is hiding something, possibly covering for his dad - as evidence is found at the arcade linking Ripley with the victim. Adding to Ripley's worries is a huge tax bill, his planning permission denied and the discovery that his daughter Shyanne (Georgia Taylor) is having a relationship with a man his age.

Danny goes on to confess to the murder but Carlisle doesn't believe him. When Natalie finds out he is a detective she tells him to stay away from her family. This gives Carlisle a renewed impetus to nail Ripley, his love rival. However, events take a startling turn when Danny attempts suicide.

The series comes to a finale with the wedding of Shyanne and Steve. Ripley gives Natalie and Carlisle his blessing and in return all charges are dropped. Danny confesses that he is gay. Ripley hands over the arcade to Danny, who is now in the clear and publicly out of the closet. Finally, Ripley discovers from a prostitute that Danny had committed the murder to save her.


Starring David Morrissey, Sarah Parish and David Tennant, the serial was written by Peter Bowker (who had previously written for BBC One's modern adaptation of "The Canterbury Tales" (2003) and BBC Two's "Flesh and Blood" (2002)) and directed by Coky Giedroyc and Julie Anne Robinson, it was filmed on location in Blackpool itself and Brentford. It was renamed "Viva Blackpool" for transmission on BBC America in 2005. Also in the cast were John Thomson and Steve Pemberton.

The series is particularly notable for its comic touches and the employment of pop music in the course of the narrative - although the originals are played, they are sung along with and accompanied by slightly surreal dance routines acted out by the characters. This latter device is strongly reminiscent of the style of television playwright Dennis Potter, who used it in several of his famous productions such as "Pennies from Heaven" (1978) and "The Singing Detective" (1986).

A sequel one-off, "Viva Blackpool", starring David Morrissey reprising his role as Ripley Holden, and Georgia Taylor reprising her role as his daughter Shyanne was shown on the BBC on Saturday June 10, 2006.

Critical reaction and awards

Critical reaction to the serial was generally positive, although there were some poor reviews as well. Its audience figures were not spectacular, falling between four and five million viewers. In 2005, it was nominated in the Best Drama Serial category at the British Academy Television Awards, eventually losing out on the Award to Channel 4's "Sex Traffic". It did, however, win the "Best Miniseries" and Grand Prize accolades at Canada's Banff Television Festival. In December 2005, it was announced that it had been nominated (under its American title "Viva Blackpool") in the category at the 2006 Golden Globe Awards. [cite web|url=|date=December 13, 2005|title=63rd Golden Globe Awards Nominations]

In October 2007, American network CBS aired a series adapted by Bob Lowry and the creator of Blackpool, Peter Bowker, and based on the same premise, coproduced by BBC Worldwide, CBS Paramount Network Television, Sony Pictures Television and Seed Productions called "Viva Laughlin"; the series was cancelled after two episodes, due to low ratings.

Overseas distribution

The serial has been shown abroad in several countries, including:
*Television New Zealand's TV One
*United States cable television station BBC America under the alternative title, "Viva Blackpool"
*Canadian specialty channel BBC Canada
*Australia's ABC from November 30, 2005.
*Belgium's Canvas.
*Finland's YLE (The Finnish Broadcasting Corporation).
*The Netherlands' VPRO.

It has also been released on DVD in the UK and Australia.


*Ripley Holden — David Morrissey
*DI Carlisle — David Tennant
*Natalie Holden — Sarah Parish
*Shyanne Holden — Georgia Taylor
*Danny Holden — Thomas Morrison
*Adrian Marr — Steve Pemberton

ong list

A list of the songs used as musical numbers throughout the show.

Episode 1
*"Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis Presley
*"You Can Get It If You Really Want" by Jimmy Cliff
*"She's Not You" by Elvis Presley
*"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra

Episode 2
*"The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers
*"Cupid" by Johnny Nash
*"Should I Stay" by Gabrielle
*"I Second That Emotion" by The Miracles

Episode 3
*"Brilliant Mistake" by Elvis Costello
*"Skweeze Me Pleeze Me" by Slade
*"The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" by The Smiths
*"The Secrets That You Keep" by Mud

Episode 4
*"Walk Tall" by Val Doonican
*"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" by Diana Ross / The Supremes / The Temptations
*"Ooh La La" by The Faces

Episode 5
*"Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash
*"Invisible" by Alison Moyet
*"Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen
*"Knock, Knock (Who's There?)" by Mary Hopkin

Episode 6
*"White Wedding" by Billy Idol
*"There Goes My Everything" by Engelbert Humperdinck
*"Don't Leave Me This Way" by The Communards
*"(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" by Sandie Shaw

A soundtrack was also released to accompany the TV series, in which a six-page booklet explained why each song used was included in the series.

"Viva Blackpool" (the sequel)

Following the events of Blackpool and the implosion of his life and his dreams, Ripley headed to the bright lights and casinos of Vegas. Once there he discovered... God.

Now a Reverend, of sorts, Ripley has returned to his spiritual home and established Blackpool's first Vegas-style Chapel of Love. With daughter Shyanne as his assistant, Ripley performs weddings themed on anything from Elvis to Hogwarts. He's happy enough, living in a caravan in the Chapel car park. But then he meets American sexpot Kitty De-Luxe when she's jilted at his altar, and falls hopelessly in love.

At the same time he's courting Kitty, he's being courted himself. He's been left a collection of football memorabilia by his friend Patrick, including the genuine Jules Rimet World Cup trophy, and two rival bidders are determined to get their hands on it.

Totally smitten with a woman who's more than a match for him, is Ripley letting himself be played for a fool? Or will he pull an ace from his sleeve, and succeed in his new dream of opening a chain of cheerful, cheesy Chapels of Love across Britain?

Songs that appeared in the sequel included:
*"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen
*"I'm on My Way" by The Proclaimers
*"I Only Want To Be With You" by Dusty Springfield
*"Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash
*"It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones
*"Dream A Little Dream" by The Beautiful South

Further reading

*cite journal |first= John|last= Mundy|year= 2006|title= Singing Detected: Blackpool and the Strange Case of the Missing Television Musical Dramas|journal= Journal of British Cinema and Television|publisher= Edinburgh University Press|url= |volume= 3|issue= 1|pages= 59–71|doi= 10.3366/JBCTV.2006.3.1.59


*cite web|last=Cawley|first=CM|year=2005|title=David Tennant & Awards News|url=|accessdate=2007-04-20
*cite web|url=||title=What's New Page|accessdate=2007-04-20

External links

* [ Official "Blackpool" site] at
* [ "Blackpool"] at the Internet Movie Database

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