OTB Meets New ‘Trollied’ Boss, Stephanie Beacham
Here on the set of Trollied, melons and cartons of orange juice have been known to explode. The filming of the second series of Sky1′s supermarket sitcom has been taking place for weeks now and perishable food items have began to burst and ferment under the bright studio lights.
This isn’t a northern supermarket like fans of show might have expected, but a purpose-built replica on the outskirts of Bristol, the shelves stacked with real – but now completely inedible grub. The products here will be familiar to most people, but Valco – the fictional supermarket from the show – also has its own new budget “No-Nonsense” range.
“That’s what my character is,” former Dynasty star Stephanie Beacham explains. “She’s no-nonsense — just like the new range that she’s desperately trying to push.”
Stephanie is a new addition to the sitcom this series. She plays the new Valco store-manager, Lorraine, who she tentatively reveals is in part based on Dragons’ Den millionaire Hilary Devey.
“Not in terms of personality — because Lorraine’s an arsehole,” Stephanie says. “But she looks and sounds a bit like Hilary, who’s very much this self-made woman — somebody Lorraine would probably admire a great deal.
“A lot of the women that I’ve played in the past have been very rich; Lorraine’s very much no mascara, hair snagged up with a bit of acrylic hair. It was difficult for my vanity. But then, I suppose, comedy has no vanity.”
Over the years, Stephanie has earned herself a reputation for being a bit of a diva, recently sending up her media persona in a Snickers advert alongside Joan Collins. Nevertheless, she seems to get on brilliantly with the rest of the cast, although I struggle to imagine her trudging around Morrisons to research her role.
“No, I went to a supermarket beforehand,” she says when I mention this. “I tried to listen in on employees’ conversations.”
Nick Blood, who plays Kieran, overhears and interrupts her. “Was it at Harrods’ food-hall by any chance?”
Stephanie rolls her eyes at him and I use the opportunity to ask Nick how it feels to be back filming a second series.
“It was a huge commission,” he says, “and in this business I’ve just come to not expect anything, so it was a nice surprise. I think it’s 13 episodes and a Christmas special, which is obviously a lot for British comedy.”
So did Stephanie watch the first series at all?
“I watched it all in one go on DVD,” she confesses. “It was one of those things where I watched one episode and then found myself watching one more and then another and another. I was enthralled, I suppose, by the dullness of it all.”
“But I was! I just loved the Laurel and Hardy act going on here,” she tells me, referring to the butchers, Kieran and Andy (played by Mark Addy – The Full Monty, Game of Thrones and loooooads of other stuff).
Stephanie admits that she’s had a blast playing Lorraine and describes the character as a hard-nosed bully with a fondness for the male form. In one episode, for instance, she tells Kieran that he contractually obliged to work with his shirt off.
“And that wasn’t even in the programme,” Nick jokes.
So with the recent launch of a new Dallas in the US, would Stephanie be up for a Dynasty reboot, playing her breakthrough role as the ludicrously rich, bitchy Sable Colby again?
“Well, Joan and I have talked about it,” she says. “We’ve said, ‘Drop us in there; we can play those parts like that.’ We’d love to do it again!
“Actually, in many ways, Lorraine isn’t a million miles away from my character in Dynasty. She’s a hard-nosed bully, very ruthless. If anything she might even be more of a bitch!”