UKTV’s Gold Channel Orders ‘Sandylands’ Comedy; Sanjeev Bhaskar, Natalie Dew & David Walliams To Star

UKTV is adding to their scripted roster. The company’s Gold channel has ordered Sandylands, a three-episode comedy series starring  Sanjeev Bhaskar (Unforgotten, Porters), Natalie Dew (West End’s Bend It Like Beckham) and David Walliams (The Midnight Gang, The Queen And I).

Sandylands follows twenty-seven-year-old Emily Verma (Natalie Dew), who is living the high life in London, having escaped the clutches of Sandylands – her seaside hometown where her semi-estranged father Les Vegas (Sanjeev Bhaskar) remains a local celebrity as arcade owner and self-proclaimed ‘King of the Strip’. However, when Sandylands becomes headline news after a bloodied pedalo is washed ashore – a pedalo last hired by Les – Emily is forced to make a reluctant visit home.

She quickly discovers that all is definitely not what it seems in her old stomping ground. With Les declared ‘lost at sea’, Emily is charged with putting his affairs in order, organising his memorial and selling the family home. Unbeknownst to Emily however, her every move, and every subtle twitch of a curtain at her family home is under the constant scrutiny of a mysterious one-eyed man, who’s recently arrived in Sandylands and works for the life insurance company that’s due to pay out over Les’ unfortunate demise. The three-parter was penned by Martin Collins and Alex Finch and is being produced by King Bert Productions. Rosemary McGowan is the series producer, while Jo Sargent is the executive producer. Michael Cumming is directing. Filming starts this month.

Rounding out the cast is Sophie Thompson (Detectorists, Coronation Street), Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch), Simon Bird (Friday Night Dinner, The Inbetweeners), Harriet Webb (White Gold, Scarborough), Hamza Jeetooa (Our Girl) and Bronwyn James (Harlots, Wild Bill). The three-parter was penned by Martin Collins and Alex Finch and is being produced by King Bert Productions. Rosemary McGowan is the series producer, while Jo Sargent is the executive producer. Michael Cumming is directing. Filming starts later this month.

“We’re thrilled to be working with the hugely talented team at King Bert on this highly original three-parter”, said UKTV’s Head of Scripted Peter Thornton, who commissioned the series alongside UKTV’s Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham and UKTV’s Genre General Manager for Comedy and Entertainment Steve North. “As a father/daughter relationship comedy with a twist, this series breaks more ground for comedy originations on Gold. The quality of the cast is a testament to the range of brilliantly drawn characters that Alex and Martin have created and we’re very much looking forward to diving into the mysterious waters swirling around Sandylands.”

This marks the latest scripted commission for Gold over the past few months. The channel recently commissioned and aired Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes, a series of remakes of the three Dad’s Army episodes that were lost as a result of the BBC’s archival policy during the 1960s and 1970s. Other recent scripted commissions include: Murder On The Blackpool Express and Death On The Tyne follow up Dial M For Middlesbrough; and Isle Of Wight comedy The Cockfields, starring Diane Morgan, Joe Wilkinson, Sue Johnston and Bobby Ball.