The first series of Sandylands was a hybrid of Carry On and Donald McGill postcards. Bright, colourful end of the pier comedy full of ‘nudge,nudge, wink, wink’ double entendres. Funny, if lines like “My name’s Swallows, Derek Swallows. Please don’t make fun of my name” tickle your funny bone. Funny, if lines like “Welcome to Sandylands Tours, come rain, come shine. Just come” set you chuckling. If you find it funny that the line was delivered by coarse, OTT tour guide Tina Taylor (Harriet Webb) displaying a tattoo on her arm reading ‘Carpet Diem’ (geddit?) maybe Sandylands could be for you.
Imagine if you can that the following conversation, between Derek (David Walliams) and his wife Jeannie Swallows (Sophie Thompson) whilst serving the one eyed man (Hugh Bonneville) at breakfast, was actually delivered by Sid James and Barbara Windsor:
Derek: Can we offer you a cup of Jeannie’s juice
Jeannie: Oh yes I squeeze it myself
Derek: It’s not to everyone’s taste but I can’t get enough
Jeannie: I’ll go and grab one of my jugs
Derek: And I’ll help squeeze
You can almost hear Sid’s cackle and see Babs waddling off.
Fortunately for Gold enough people do like this Carry On style humour to get Sandylands Nominated for Favourite Comedy at the TV Times Awards and warrant a second series.
The main characters, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Les Vegas and particularly Natalie Dew as Emily Verma hold the whole thing together.
Sandylands is the ideal location for the criminal classes. It is policed by two totally incompetent rookie police officers. Simon Bird playing, well Simon Bird. He has gone from Rudge Park Comprehensive via his parent’s house for dinner on Friday nights to patrolling the streets in the coastal resort with no discernible change in his demeanor. On the beat he is accompanied by an over-zealous, taser happy, officer Trudy Wright (Bronwyn James).
A surreal character is Bob (Darren Strange) a local taxi driver who, for some unexplained reason, only wears an unbuttoned shirt and budgie smugglers: apparently presenting no danger to unaccompanied female passengers. Even more surreal is that in part 3 he is buried up to his neck in the sandy beach for no seemingly relevant reason except to deliver the line “He was buggered by a dolphin right up the blow hole”.
Ahead of its release, the season two synopsis offers a glimpse of what’s in store when Sandylands returns to the screens in October:
“After what feels like an eternity at sea, series two sees our heroic but also law-breaking duo marooned on a beach that could be literally anywhere but turns out to actually still be in Sandylands. A relieved Les and Emily return home only to discover that Emily’s estranged mother Donna Vegas (Tracey-Ann Oberman), is back in town and standing, cocktail in hand, in Les’s Egyptian themed lounge.
With a hefty insurance pay-out on the horizon and yet another unreliable person roped in to keep their secret, only one question remains – will Emily ever escape the clutches of her bickering parents and her seaside hometown?”
Naturally writers Martin Collins and Alex Finch have been talking about the next run, saying;
“We are so excited to be back in Sandylands and working with the brilliant team at UKTV. We can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve got in store for our incredible cast and are absolutely delighted to be welcoming some amazing new faces on a return trip to the beautiful British seaside.”
Jo Sargent, exec producer for King Bert Productions added in RT: “We’re delighted to be returning to sunny Sandylands for another season and to have Tracy-Ann Oberman joining our illustrious cast. Martin and Alex have outdone themselves with brilliantly funny scripts that will see Les’s estranged ‘widow’ Donna returning home to stake her claim to the Les Vegas business empire and her daughter… in that order! Thank you to the team at UKTV and Gold, the perfect home for this show.”
Series 1 really is harmless seaside postcard stuff which does make you smile sporadically even laugh on occasion, however, very little would need amending to make this suitable for CBeebies.