Brits in LA — Michael Greco, Andy Newton Lee and Charlie Brooks
By Larry Jaffee
LOS ANGELES – Last month the Walford Gazette reported about the forthcoming comedy pilot TV show British Andy, which is being modeled after The Office’s spoof mockumentary style.
Now we can share exclusive photos taken on the Hollywood set from the pilot, which was shot last week.
Of interest to EastEnders fans is the featured role of Michael Greco (EE’s Beppe di Marco) and Charlie Brooks (EE’s Janine Butcher Evans), who stepped in the last minute for Patsy Palmer (EE’s Bianca Jackson Butcher).
Palmer was unable to take the part, but Brooks happily took over.
British Andy is the brainchild of actor Andy Newton Lee, who shared the photos with the Gazette.
Eight years ago, he came to Hollywood in hopes of furthering his acting career, which included stints on Coronation Street, Casualty and Hollyoaks.
He’s had a more difficult time landing parts in America, and instead founded a successful relocation company for mostly Brit expats called Next Stop LAX, the inspiration for the series. The company is called “Make It in Hollywood” in British Andy. Newton Lee plays the title role, and in his real-life he uses that moniker.
In the pilot, Greco and Brooks play themselves, although Greco’s character plays off his EastEnders celebrity by heading an LA removal company called “Beppe & Friends.” (Editor’s note: “removal” is Britspeak as in furniture/moving company.)
Greco in real life has been located in LA for several years, and has focused on playing poker professionally. However, he recently had a scene and few lines as a hotel concierge in the ABC drama Revenge.
Unlike actor Shaun Williamson being referred to by Stephen Merchant as “Barry from EastEnders” in Ricky Gervais’s Extras a few years ago, Beppe only comes up as a mover, and Greco is known as Michael around the “Make It in Hollywood” office. Newton Lee admits that British Andy is shot to look like Gervais’s earlier hit The Office.
Newton Lee, who’s starring in, producing and writing British Andy, tells the Gazette that he’s slated 13 episodes for British Andy, and as soon as postproduction is complete, he will be shopping it to television outlets on both sides of the Atlantic.
“The biggest challenge was getting everyone’s schedules together,” Newton Lee was quoted in the Daily Hull, his hometown newspaper.
“We originally had Patsy Palmer from EastEnders playing our ‘big celebrity’ and then Patsy became unavailable.
“I’d written the episode around Patsy’s arrival, so I was a little taken aback when we couldn’t make it work. I then had the idea of asking Charlie Brooks, who agreed to step in.”