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Save Me Too: Floral bum-bags, Polish pop songs and that special yellow coat – Secrets from the set
Lennie James and the cast of the hit Sky Atlantic drama series reveal behind the scenes secrets and clues about series two.
Save Me Too is one of the most highly anticipated TV returns of 2020, reuniting an incredible cast and continuing the dark gripping storyline of missing teenager Jodie.
Starring Lennie James, Suranne Jones and Stephen Graham, the second series brings Lesley Manville into the cast and revisits the characters of the Palm Tree pub 18 months on from the events of series one.
Nelly (Lennie James) is still on the hunt for his missing daughter Jodie and the investigation into Gideon (Adrian Edmondson) and rescued Grace (Olive Gray) are only pushing him harder to take more drastic measures.
Will we finally find out what happened to Jodie? What will Gideon’s trial reveal about the criminal underworld that Nelly infiltrated? Will Melon and Bernie get a happily ever after? And what karaoke classics can we look forward to in the Palm Tree in series 2?
The cast of Save Me Too reveal some secrets about the new series…
Lennie James wanted to get rid of that yellow coat
“In the first episode of series two Nelly gets a birthday present - and it’s another yellow puffer!” reveals Lennie.
“In the draft for the second series he opened it and it was a red puffer. The first note I got back from everyone at Sky and World and everybody who read it, was: ‘Are you an idiot?’ It has got to be a yellow puffer, are you nuts?”
Thankfully Lennie was persuaded to not ditch the famous yellow coat, which he describes as Nelly’s “suit of armour”.
Ade Edmondson wasn't afraid to play a dark villain
We only got a small glimpse of Ade in series one, playing a dark boss who was orchestrating the human trafficking auction that Nelly attended. It’s a character with a complete moral vacuum, which the actor believes may have put off others taking the role.
“I think what may have made the role of Gideon difficult to cast in series one, apart from it being a small part, is that he is such an odious character,” said Ade.
“I don’t want people to pre-judge Gideon before they watch series two, but he’s obviously involved in some nefarious and unpleasant activity. There’s no secret what the world is that he comes from. I think some actors don’t like to feel tainted by association. I took it as a challenge.
“I had to invent a legitimate path to what he had become. You can’t comment on a character as you play them. You can’t play ‘oh, here comes the evil person’. Like a barrister you have to give them the best defence you can. Though it’s not a nice place to take your thoughts. I wanted to play a dark character who was real and fully formed – not just a two dimensional villain – and I thought Lennie was the person to write that.
“Gideon is much more present in series two so I was able to build more into the character.”
Kerry Godliman gets some more incredible outfits
The Palm Tree locals weren’t the most stylish bunch in series one and Kerry Goldiman’s Teens had some of the more outrageous costumes.
Her favourite from last time was “a furry pink leopard skin thing” that looked like it belonged to a “psychedelic clown”.
Teens has ditched her dressing gown and dodgy toilet for series two as all her scenes are down the pub, but she’s still got some very special outfits to watch out for.
“It’s not as pink and fluffy this time. Although I did have four pattern clashes in one scene,” she admitted.
“It was three and then I got a floral bum-bag. I like Teens’ clothes but I wouldn’t wear them myself.”
James couldn’t film a particular scene without crying
Save Me goes to some dark places and even the show’s creator, writer and lead actor struggled to get through one particular scene in series two.
“There is one particular scene, even though I wrote it and created it, every read through and rehearsal, every time I read it out loud, I found it very hard to control my emotions,” admitted Lennie.
“It got to the point where after a few takes my director saved me. He said, I don’t think we should do this again.”
James said those sorts of scenes are kept to minimum on the show and that he avoids “being gratuitous”, preferring to have the characters describe what happened rather than showing it.
“I don’t have any desire whatsoever to put the actress through that, let alone the audience, but this is grown-up telly for grown-up people,” he said.
“It’s a grown-up subject matter. It’s the story I want to tell and I believe that audiences can take it. I think they take it in the way it is intended which is come meet these people, fall in love with these people and then follow them as they go through this thing. As a writer and as an actor that’s the best that you can strive for.”
Susan Lynch has a great idea for series three
Stace, the landlord of the Palm Tree, is Nelly’s oldest friend and the scenes between actors Susan Lynch and Lennie James were some of the most powerful in the first series.
We only saw a few glimpses of Stace’s life beyond running the pub, but Lynch has developed some strong ideas for what she would be like after closing time.
“We’re always joking that she goes upstairs and plays country and western songs about the fact that she doesn’t have any love in her life,” said Stace.
“But actually I kind of love that she doesn’t. Must a relationship always define us? Are people necessarily happier because they are in relationships? I look at Stace and think ‘She seems pretty happy to me’.”
Joking about a possible direction for the next six episodes, Lynch said: “I tell you what would be amazing. That her mum or dad dies and they all go to Greece. They rent a villa, it’s all a bit of a nightmare because something happens. Greece would be a great location, wouldn’t it?”
Thomas Coombes learned some Polish to play Goz
Goz, the Palm Tree’s pub trivia legend and loyal pal to Nelly, is played by Thomas Coombes.
To prepare for the second series, Coombes visited friends in Gdansk to soak up some Polish history and languge to play the second-generation Eastern European.
“There were bits in the script where what Goz says isn’t specified so I got loads of phrases that I brought back to Lennie,” revealed Coombes.
“For example he says to his kid in Polish, ‘I love you. How are you my darling?’ My friend said there’s a cheesy Polish pop song and so I learned that. It’s the sort of thing that only Polish people would know. It’s like the equivalent of Seventies ABBA. The lyric is something like, ‘How are you my dove? How are you my darling?’ but in Polish.
“My friend said parents always sang it to you growing up there as a kid. So I did that with my wife Daisy, played by Remmie Milner. We sing it. It’s a nice little genuine nod to the world.”
Watch Save Me Too on Sky Atlantic with the NOW TV Entertainment Pass.