BBC America, BBC
Part mystery-thriller, part splashy, karaoke-style musical, and part love story, Viva Blackpool takes a brazen chance with a fusion of television genres and succeeds brilliantly. Writer Peter Bowker’s vision is beautifully realized by directors Julie-Anne Robinson and Coky Giedroyc in this six part British miniseries. It tells the story of Ripley Holden (David Morrissey), his dream of turning the run-down seaside town of Blackpool into his own Las Vegas, and what happens to that dream when a dead body unexpectedly turns up. Morrissey and costars Sarah Parish and David Tennant inhabit their roles of a British Donald Trump wannabe, his beautiful wife, and the police detective who comes between them with compassionate energy. The Holden children, played by Thomas Morrison and Georgia Taylor, add their own provocative layers to the narrative, and Adrian Marr, as Holden’s sleazy accountant, manages to add nightmare to his imagined dream world. The drama is advanced through these keen characterizations, deliberately garish and provocative cinematography, and the excitement that comes when the entire cast bursts into song and dance three or four times an episode. They lip sync and augment classics by such artists as Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra, Billy Idol, Jimmy Cliff, and Diana Ross. Produced by Kate Lewis with executive producers Sally Haynes and Laura Mackie (BBC Drama) and David Bernath (BBC America), Viva Blackpool proves that something completely different and completely excellent is still possible in television. For its kinetic vision and technicolor audio and visual pleasures, Viva Blackpool receives a Peabody.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive Producers: Sally Haynes, Laura Mackie (BBC Drama), David Bernath (BBC America), Kate Lewis. Director: Julie-Anne Robinson. Writer: Peter Bowker. Cast: David Morrissey (Ripley Holden), Sarah Parish (Natalie), David Tennant (Peter Carlisle), Thomas Morrison (Danny), Georgia Taylor (Shayanne).