TV pilot starring ‘Shameless’ actress shot near film-maker’s East Lancs hometown

Burnley's Jack Hartley, has been filming a TV pilot in Burnley starring Shameless actress, Alice Barry. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Burnley’s Jack Hartley, has been filming a TV pilot in Burnley starring Shameless actress, Alice Barry. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

A TV PILOT episode for a potential six-part comedy show has been filmed in Padiham – and fans of Channel 4 show ‘Shameless’ might recognise Alice Barry.

Burnley filmmaker and actor, Jack Hartley, has written and directed the pilot episode which has a working title of ‘The Baths’.

Filming for the episode took place over three days at Padiham Leisure Centre at the end of April and it is now being edited together to be pitched to major production companies.

Lancashire Telegraph: Alice Barry with cast of 'The Baths' pilot, which was shot in Burnley. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Lancashire Telegraph: Alice Barry with cast of ‘The Baths’ pilot, which was shot in Burnley. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Alice Barry with cast of ‘The Baths’ pilot, which was shot in Burnley. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Jack, who appeared in Peaky Blinders, Doctors, Throw Me To The Dogs and other productions before moving behind the camera, said it was important the production was shot near his Burnley home town.

He said: “I recently set up a production company and we make videos, documentaries, short films and that sort of stuff.

“I have a love for storytelling and film making. I wanted to make something back in my home town that is a nice light-hearted comedy.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jack Hartley. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Lancashire Telegraph: Jack Hartley. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Jack Hartley. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

“I knew the swimming baths had to be in Burnley or Padiham because that is where I come from.

“I had written the script based on that town, that setting and based on those people.”

The former Towneley High School student says it is a very “Northern-based comedy” based on a group of workers at a leisure centre.

Lancashire Telegraph: A swimming pool scene being shot for 'The Baths'.(Photo: Sam Crowston)

Lancashire Telegraph: A swimming pool scene being shot for ‘The Baths’.(Photo: Sam Crowston)

A swimming pool scene being shot for ‘The Baths’.(Photo: Sam Crowston)

He said: “We meet the team at their swimming baths environment but soon realise it is under threat from a new sports complex.

“To protect the baths, staff decided to up their game and try an employee of the month scheme.

“Employees push themselves to the limit and it brings out a lot of their true colours… with funny results.

“It’s a very ordinary environment but these characters are full of life and quirky.”

Jack, 28, and the team were able to pull the production together on a shoestring budget.

He said: “We pulled a lot of friends together, did a lot of street casting and found people that were like-minded and understood what I tried to achieve.

“We made it for next to nothing – we got t-shirts embroidered for the uniform and some food and drink in… but everything else has been done as a favour which has been really nice.”

As well as 50-60 Leisure Centre members, another cast member will be familiar to Shameless UK fans, a show which aired from 2005-2014.

Burnley actress Alice Barry played local busy-body and brothel owner, Lilian Tyler, on the Channel 4 show.

Shameless’ creator Paul Abbott is also from Burnley and said Shameless was inspired by his experiences growing up in the town.

Jack said it was great to get Alice on board and had always wanted to cast her in a local show.

He said: “I had never met her before but I was a fan of her work and knew she was from the town.

“For years I was thought that I really needed to make something with Alice in it because she’s local and understands comedy.

Lancashire Telegraph: Alice Barry. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Lancashire Telegraph: Alice Barry. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Alice Barry. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

“This project came about and we knew she would be perfect to play the manager, Janice, who is a bit of a loose cannon.

“She connected with the script and I think she wanted to support a local film maker as well and saw some potential to it.

“Having her on board might also make others see it’s a project that should be taken seriously.”

Jack predicts that the pilot will be edited and cut together by the end of May.

From there, it will be sent to production companies, such as the BBC, where it will hopefully be commissioned into a six-part series.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jack Hartley with Alice Barry, who plays a character called Janice/ (Photo: Tom Lally)

Lancashire Telegraph: Jack Hartley with Alice Barry, who plays a character called Janice/ (Photo: Tom Lally)

Jack Hartley with Alice Barry, who plays a character called Janice/ (Photo: Tom Lally)

“We are sending it to broadcasting companies now and hopefully it makes them laugh and see some potential,” he said.

“I imagine it being a six-part series on something like the BBC, that families can enjoy.

“Even if it doesn’t get picked up I am still glad we went out there and made something and we got an idea off the ground. We also had a laugh and really enjoyed the process.

“It all came together really nicely. It felt like a community driven project instead of me just going in with a camera – and that is exactly how I wanted it to be.

“I am excited to see how it cuts together.”

If a potential major TV series isn’t enough, Jack is also planning to open up a film and photo studio, Pennine Studio, on the Lomeshaye Industrial Estate in Nelson.

He hopes to open it at the start of June and hopes it can be used as a community space for busineses and budding young filmmakers to use.

Lancashire Telegraph: 'The Baths' cast. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

Lancashire Telegraph: ‘The Baths’ cast. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

‘The Baths’ cast. (Photo: Sam Crowston)

He said: “I want to bring productions to the studio, building film sets and setting up photoshoots for local businesses .

“I want to encourage community groups to use it, such as schools and youth zones, to create opportunities for young people.

“Growing up in Burnley, creative job opportunities for me were limited. You were told to become an engineer or factory worker, there wasn’t anything creative in the town connected to film making and photography.

“I am eager to create these opportunities for young people who want to break into the industry but just don’t find it accessible.”

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