LOS ANGELES — Former EastEnders actor Michael Greco (Beppe di Marco) has signed on for a role in a pilot television show to be filmed in Los Angeles, and former colleague Patsy Palmer (Bianca Jackson) is in the “final stages of talks” to also appear in the initial episode, the Walford Gazette has learned directly from the show’s runner.
The planned series, which is being pitched to both UK and US networks, is the brainchild of Andrew Newton Lee, CEO of Next Stop Media, which helps expatriates and actors with American immigration issues, such as obtaining visas.
Newton Lee, who had acted in Coronation Street, will play the pilot’s title character, ‘British Andy’. Newton Lee told the Gazette he’s also considering talking to other EastEnders actors, such as Danniella Westbrook (Sam Mitchell), about appearing in his show. Shooting is to begin most likely in mid-October, he added.
“[British Andy] is the same premise as The Office, Extras and Episodes. The actors play parodies of themselves,” Newton Lee explained. His show revolves around a fictional relocation service called ‘Make It Hollywood’, and the celebrities who come seeking its assistance.
In Extras, Ricky Gervais’s follow-up to the workplace mockumentary The Office, celebrities played versions of themselves, including Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell), Kate Winslet and David Bowie. Extras, which featured Shaun Williamson in a recurring role as ‘Barry from EastEnders’, was situated in London, and The Office was located in Slough, the London suburb.
British Andy, like Episodes, will be set in Hollywood. In Episodes, soon to be starting its fourth series on the American pay cable channel Showtime, Matt LeBlanc (Friends), stars as an actor playing a gym teacher in an American sitcom based on a British hit series, whose husband-and-wife comedy writing team have a problem adapting to Tinseltown.
A British-American production, Episodes, which airs on BBC2 in Britain, was renewed for a fourth season on Showtime.
A British tabloid, the <em>Daily Mirror</em>, first broke the story about the pilot, and reported that Palmer recently relocated her family</a> to Los Angeles. The pilot reportedly would be her first LA job.
In 1995 Palmer told the Gazette’s Tim Wilson that she would love to do a Disney movie, and fancied herself doing a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
In 2002 Greco left EastEnders, and he told this reporter at the time during an interview in London he recently found an agent in Los Angeles and hoped to make it big in the States. “Brits are really accepted there. I know a lot of Brits go to America to try to crack it.”
Greco has since sporadically acted, rather focusing on a professional poker career. He once played himself in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous.
On his IMDB resume, Newton Lee is described as a ‘series regular’ on the BBC’s Casualty and Hollyoaks, as well as Granada’s Coronation Street.
Newton Lee appeared on Piers Morgan in Hollywood, which aired in the UK on ITV1 in February 2009, and he spoke of the difficulties actors face when relocating to Los Angeles.
Instead of waiting to “pass the audition” in a heartless town, Newton Lee now is seeking to create his own vehicle.