Behind the scenes on Save Me Too: Vegan sausage rolls, boozy karaoke and WhatsApp

Thomas Coombes, who plays Goz in the critically acclaimed drama Save Me Too, reveals some set secrets to BT TV. You can watch the full Box Set on NOW TV.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 11 May 2020 - 12.48pm
Sky UK Lennie James in Save Me Too
Watch the Save Me Too Box Set on NOW TV

If you haven’t watched Save Me Too or the first series, Save Me, yet, stop what you’re doing, binge it and then come back here when you’ve finished.

Written by and starring Lennie James, the dark drama series delves into a disturbing criminal underworld, but does so with heart and humanity.

Although Lennie James’ Nelly Rowe is the central character in the series, the show has an incredible ensemble cast including Suranne Jones, Jason Flemyng, Lesley Manville and Stephen Graham.

One of the show’s breakout stars is Thomas Coombes, who plays one of Nelly’s best pals from the Palm Tree pub, trivia buff Goz.

Thomas Coombes as Goz in Save Me Too Sky UK

Goz finds himself in a difficult place at the beginning of Save Me Too.

“He’s got a sense of guilt hanging over him from series one. He didn’t spot what was going on with the students and he feels a real sense of guilt about that,” explains Coombes.

“In this series he’s trying to make up for that. He’s always being willing to help Nelly, he’s his best friend and he thinks the sun shines out of his a**e, but because of the guilt, he’s going above and beyond.

“And Nelly is desperate so he pushes Goz with what he asks him and he ends up putting his family at risk.

BT TV caught up with Goz to find out some behind-the-scenes secrets from the making of Save Me…

Thomas was star struck by his co-stars

Stephen Graham as Melon in Save Me Sky UK

I knew Lennie had written it and was going to be in it, but I wasn’t aware of any of the other cast until I went in to get a fitting for the costume.

On the wall, the costume team had all the actor headshots and there was a list of the cast and I remember just saying, "F***ing hell, Stephen Graham is in it!"

He was one of my idols growing up. As an actor, he’s a pure inspiration and he’s definitely up there with the best for me.

The vegan sausage rolls are on Jason Flemyng

Jason Flemyng as Tam in Save Me Too Sky UK

We’ve all become such great friends and we’ve got an incredibly active WhatApp group. Lesley Manville got roped into it by Susan Lynch for this series and I think she was a bit taken aback because it’s very chatty this group.

Jason Flemying is the most joyous man to have on set. He’s just discovered Deliveroo. It blew his mind and he’s a very generous chap.

He kept ordering vegan sausage rolls for the cast and crew. I’ve got a memory of a very delicate moment being filmed where the directors were asking for absolute quiet and he’d gone out to a guy on a motorbike and he was handing out all these sausage rolls in paper bags, rustling the paper as he gave them to everyone.

The Palm Tree scenes are the best ones to film

Thomas Coombes in Save Me Sky UK

They are the most fun because that’s when all the cast are together, or nearly all the cast. At the beginning of series two they were a bit too much fun. It was just a big catch-up for everyone.

It was quite a big task for the directors, because they have all the supporting cast and it’s a very small pub, so technically getting it all shot is quite difficult. Everyone is always stepping on top of each other. It’s not the crew’s favourite place.

But it’s a joy to film for us. It’s such a great character in the show, the pub. And the small size of it adds to the intensity of the show. Those scenes in the pub really flow and it feels like a play. And although we stick to the scripts that Lennie writes, the directors often get us to improvise into and out of a scene. It makes the whole thing feel like real life.

Lennie James pushed the cast to their limits

Lennie James and Thomas Coombes in Save Me Sky UK

He’s amazing and he’s so generous. He never thinks: "You’re doing your bit, I’ll sit back and relax" - he’s always there and present. He is the writer of the series, but when he’s on set, he’s just the actor Lennie and that’s incredible to witness.

When you do some final run-throughs on set before the take, even in the rehearsals, Lennie would be doing his lines with tears streaming down his face. For the rest of the cast, that just showed us how we had to step up. He set the example.

There are some possible seeds for Goz in series 3

Thomas Coombes in Save Me Sky UK

There are a few bits of backstory that we set up with the characters. He’s a second-generation Pole and there are a few times in this series you hear him speaking Polish with the kids.

It’s not  a huge plot point, but it’s just dropped in there and it could be explored. His pride in his background and his history.

And also the fact he still does a bit of weed. He’s packed it in a little bit for the family, but it would be interesting to explore his dealings and what he got involved in.

I think we’d all like a wedding in a future series as well. A big knees-up with all the characters.

We need to hear Goz and Nelly duet

Thomas Coombes and Lennie James filming Save Me Sky UK

We did go out halfway through the series to do some karaoke. We went to a place around the corner from the Palm. It was a party because some of the crew weren’t continuing in the second half of filming.

Me and Lennie did a duet on Don’t Look Back in Anger. It was quite fun. The more people drank, the more people got confident and got involved.

I’d need a few drinks usually. Then maybe I’d get up and do a Chas and Dave. I’d need someone to do it with me.

The Save Me series 1 and Save Me Too Box Set are available now with the NOW TV Entertainment Pass.

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