Making Funland

Jeremy Dyson on his new BBC show

League of Gentlemen writer Jeremy Dyson has been talking about Funland, the new BBC Three comedy-drama he has created with EastEnders writer Simon Ashdown.

The show, to be aired next month, contains a mix of surreal stories, all set in Blackpool over one long weekend.

Dyson, the only one of the League of Gentlemen not to perform too, said: ‘Funland is this bizarre and crazy mythical world with a larger-than-life set of characters.

‘One of my earliest memories is being taken on a family holiday to Blackpool. I absolutely loved the place. I think the world we have created is very much a fictitious world inspired by Blackpool. It’s a mythical version with one foot in the truth. There was a great pleasure in taking a real place and creating a very heightened version of it.’

Dyson added that it was a new experience to write with Ashdown, who has won Baftas for his work on the soap, rather than the rest of the League of Gentlemen.

‘I think it's unusual for two writers who are both established in a particular field to be able to then fuse with someone else,’ he said.

‘I think when we first sat down together we both began quite nervously, like people who had been sent on a Blind Date or something - but  we talked and talked for hours and seemed to get on really well so the writing process seemed quite natural, really, and hopefully it gives the show an original feel.

‘It was a very different experience to how I have worked before though. On The League of Gentlemen there were four of us writing and the other three are also the actors.

‘Writing with the actors is very different to writing with another writer. And not knowing the cast in advance was all new to me too - basic stuff to most writers - so it was a big learning curve for me.’

Ashdown, too, said: ‘I'm not the kind of person who would normally write with another writer. I think we got really lucky because we hardly had any creative disagreements.

‘There certainly wasn't loads of ego in the room. If there was a difference of opinion then we would both argue our case and whoever had the best argument would win."

‘I think what's interesting is there's a lot of overlap between the worlds of drama and comedy and Jeremy would quite often write the dramatic lines and I would write comic lines.

 ‘Despite mainly working on drama series, I have always been interested in comedy and my first job was in comedy, writing scripts for John Cleese for a series of short films.

‘I have definitely learnt a lot about comedy from sitting in the same room as Jeremy Dyson


Published: 29 Sep 2005

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