We have finished our first season of Shades Of Bad so I was having a little look back. I can’t say it hasn’t been challenging. As an actress I am used to turning up on set, at the call time I have been given, going into make up being given a cup of tea and then going to set which has been dressed and made ready by somebody else.
On Shades of Bad, I am the person that gives the call times, I dress the set and then go and do my own make up ready for when everyone else arrives so I can make them a cuppa and give them a bit of breakfast. We were aiming to shoot 3 episodes a day. I am not naturally an early riser so the call time I gave on our first day, though popular with everyone was far too late. We started at 10am and consequently we had to do some pick up shots as we didn’t finish the 3 episodes. I was also caught out because the scene required great chunks of dialogue from me when I am pretending to read from my kindle. Great I thought, I won’t have to learn that bit I can read it. When we got on set, first problem was I couldn’t read the print without my glasses and second was that as Wilma was positioned behind me she couldn’t see my face so the director, Buster asked me to look over the top of the kindle so it was clear to the audience that I was making the dialogue up rather than actually reading. Good job I am a quick learner. I have gone through the episodes picking out some of my favourite lines. My favourite lines from ep 1 were
We tested the first episode on a group of women and they roared at this line.
Episode two turned out to be a very intense dramatic episode. It was shot very close up and Doris is playing with Wilma. She knows Wilma has been having an affair with her husband. She taunts her with the fact that
At the end of episode 1 Wilma is so upset she drops a cup, so we had to use one of my own cups that I had broken previously. At the end of episode 3 I say
Doris: “I used to have a full set of these cups and a husband” which is a line I loved, so cutting and dismissive.
Episode 4 was one of my favourites. Doris explains why everyone will think that Wilma killed her husband because she wrapped his sandwiches in foil bought from Lidl.
Doris “Bought from Lidl, we never shop in Lidl, I wouldn’t be seen dead there, so no-one will suspect me” Hilarious. Doris is such a snob. I also love the line
Wilma “Have you pressed the end in?” Doris “Not lately Wilma have you?” This episode also gives a very helpful household tip that none of us knew. Stuart the writer found it on the internet, and that is if you press in the end of the box of silver foil, the foil stays firm in the box and doesn’t move around. Try it!
Wilma has to know whether Brad was only attracted to her because he wanted revenge for Doris having an affair in Episode 5.
Wilma: “Your affair, before or after we started?”
Doris: “Ever since my u bend was blocked”. No idea why but u bend is such a funny word. It just makes you laugh.
Doris just gets worse and worse. In episode 6 she tells Wilma to go and get Bill’s chair because as Wilma is sleeping with her husband it is only fair that she gets her mother in law so she should put her in Bill (her husband)’s chair and wheel her next door to live with her. Wilma says: “What do I tell Bill?” and Doris callously says “He can now have his chair back!”
I had to do this line a few times before I could say it without laughing
In episode 7 we get to meet Elsie, Doris’ mother in law. This was great for me as I have worked with Donna Flinn who plays Elsie many times and we have always had fun. This was no exception. Doris even has her own language sometimes and she explains with a straight face that because Wilma has been sleeping with her son Bradley that
“Quasistatusartus, technically you are now her mother in law”
We learn in this episode that Brad has not been poisoned by the sandwiches because he forgot to take them to work so in episode 8 Wilma actually throws the poisoned sandwich to Elsie.
Elsie “You dare to give me white bread from Lidl” echoes the Doris theme, but the funniest line in episode 8 is
Elsie: “I’m not into bandage” This made me really laugh because in real life Donna often gets her words mixed up.
In my opinion episode 9 is the funniest episode. I must admit that I was shocked when I first read it and said that we couldn’t possibly have a child locked in the cellar it was too awful. But on reading it a second time I realized that it is so surreal and ludicrous that no-one could possibly take it seriously. Lynn who plays Wilma plays it brilliantly when she says.
Wilma: “You had a child what happened to it. Did you lose it?”
Doris: “No I know exactly where she is. Locked in the cellar”
Wilma: “I never knew you had a ……cellar. We don’t!”
Episode 10 was another one where I found it hard to get my words out without laughing. There are several lines I struggled with. Namely
Elsie: “Where do I live?”
Doris: “Would you like to live in my shed Elsie?”
Doris (to Elsie) “Don’t mention the mother child suicide bonding pact you have with your son. I don’t want to have to deal with her jealous and disappointment of missing out on something special” It still makes me laugh now.
Episode 11 is another very funny episode. I love it when Wilma says.
Wilma: “If I walk away, who will you watch Jeremy Kyle with?”
Episode 12 is another one I struggled with. Again because it is so dark. Elsie goes down into the cellar to help Doris’ daughter pack the drug shipment. All Doris is worried about is that she didn’t do a very good job.
Doris: “She’s probably ruined the whole shipment!” Again when you think about how far fetched the whole thing is you just have to laugh.
In episode 13 Elsie comes back up from the cellar and she is high. Se has inhaled some of the cocaine. She sees Doris and Wilma’s reflection in the oven and thinks they are inside it.
This was quite a difficult episode to shoot because you had to make sure that the camera and the cameraman were not also seen in the reflection.
Elsie: “What are you doing in the oven?”
Also Doris shows her real psychopathic self here. Wilma says
Wilma: “You’re a drug dealer”
Doris “Only part time and only in schools” as if that is complete justification.
In Episode 14 she is boasting about how taken with her the pig farmers were.
Doris “They thought I was a very stunning, cunning pusher”. We find out she is not only a drug dealer but she has also dabbled in prostitution. Very interesting to play. A complete psychopath who honestly can’t see that she is doing anything wrong. It is all perfectly logical in her head. She is just trying to make a living. Her husband was having an affair with her best friend and she had to find a way to build up some resources and protect herself.Even the affair with the plumber had a practical motive.
In episode 15 Elsie is still stoned and rambling. Doris decides it would be nice for Elsie to have a boyfriend, and maybe she could make some profit out of it. Elsie is mumbling so she throws the tea towel over her head and says
Doris: “I had a budgie like you once, went on and on till I threw the towel over her cage”.
Episode 16 is another one of the funniest, in my opinion. Elsie is flirting on the phone and Mark Blackledge our composer does a hilarious improvisation of the man on the other end who is a prospective client. Mark’s music really does add to the series but I think in another life he could have been a very good actor. My favourite lines from this episode are
Wilma: “What shall I do with the pig?”
Doris: “Tell him to throw it downstairs. Suzie’s training to be a butcher. Good to have options.”
By episode 17 the brothel is in full swing. Doris believes she is doing Elsie a favour as she hasn’t had sex in a while. A line that still makes me laugh is when Wilma comes in to announce there’ s another pig farmer at the door Doris decides she doesn’t actually want to be a prostitute herself any more but Wilma can do it.
Doris: “Tell him you’re o special, half price” That line really tickled me. So cold and hard but it is funny.
So to the last three episodes. I struggled again with Episode 18. It is sooo cruel. Doris and Wilma try to convince Elsie who is a bit absent minded that she has facial recognition dementia. This is so that she can sleep with a variety of men believing that they are all her boyfriend Bill. Of course the drugs help addle her brain. In the end it is so ludicrous it is funny and you just have to play it straight. At the end of the episode Wilma annoys Doris and Doris says
Doris: “Have you eaten Wilma?” referring back to the poison sandwiches.
We are all great fans of Breaking Bad and episode 19 is our homage to the fly episode in that amazing series. In this episode Donna playing Elsie does her first stunt. She falls back off a chair after trying to trap a fly on the ceiling, and in doing so breaks another of Doris’ best cups. We were lucky that Stuart, the writer is also a top stunt coordinator so he was there to catch Elsie as she fell and also knew how to make fake blood with washing up liquid and red food colouring. At the end of the episode Doris says
Doris: “It’s not all about the fly Elsie, that would just be stupid!” ……Our homage to breaking bad.
So the season ends. We find out that Suzie, the girl who lived in the cellar and was there when Doris bought the house escapes, the brothel is doing well, and Wilma is now packing the drugs. At the end of the episode 20 Doris says to Elsie
“We’re here for you Elsie” then turns to camera with a horrible smile.
Up till now everyone has escaped being murdered but something tells me it is only a matter of time.
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This blog will be cut to a video of clips introduced by actress Jean Heard, and it will be available here.