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Paul Marquess

Dec 20 2000

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Brookside - Paul Marquess

Paul Marquess, the series producer of Brookside joined us for some festive season soap chat.

Chat Ed : Welcome Paul, ready for your questions?

Paul Marquess : Hello I'm Paul Marquess, I'm the series producer of Brookside, I've never done this before, but I'm looking forward to it, so ask away!

Chat Ed : OK, here we go:

Claire Horwood : Hello Paul - When you first joined the production team of Brookside, did you feel nervous about taking on a show with such a reputation for controversy and innovation?

Paul Marquess : Yes and no. I'd worked on Coronation Street and I was really excited to work a show that was much riskier. I was more nervous about the Brookside legacy and the 17 years before I'd joined and I hoped I could manage to keep the show fresh and exciting.

Emily : Why do you only use single camera?
hayleyliverpool : i always wondered why you only use one camera

Paul Marquess : We only use one camera because it allows us a huge amount of freedom in the edit. We can pick the very best moments in every scene and on every line. The other soaps are all multi camera. And I think it shows. Shooting single camera takes much longer and gives us loads of scheduling headaches, but I think it's worth it.

Nadine : I think the shows great, where do uyou get the brilliant scripts?
Linda : Do you actively seek new writers - what's the best way to get your attention? Do you look for sample Brookie scripts?

Paul Marquess : I don't like sample Brookie scripts, I'd much rather read something fresh and exciting - something original. We are always on the look-out for new writers. I'm currently looking for some younger writers. The best way to get onto a show like Brookside, is to write for the theatre or for radio and get some sort of track record behind you and then pester us. We'll reply eventually, when we find the time.

Jessica : How young is young?
Louisa : I can do young!
Linda : Is 32 young??!!

Paul Marquess laughs
Paul Marquess : The average age of our writers is 37. I'd like to have some of the writers that are in their early to mid 20s, which is a lot younger than I am!

catherine : What do you think is the best storyline so far in all the years of doing the programme?

Paul Marquess : Well since it's started... erm... when Sheila Grant was raped - it was ground-breaking, the acting was fantastic and the writing was brilliant. I think it moved soap onto a new level.

Meena Patel : Why don't you have any Indian people in the show?
speed : Why are there no Indian people in the show, I will volunteer!!

Paul Marquess : Well we have just introduced Nisha, who is an Asian character - she is the nurse in our new medical centre. She's got big storylines next year, because Sue who plays her is a fantastic actress and we're beginning to think that at some stage we will see some more of her family.

Claire Horwood : Would you consider broadcasting a live Brookside, similar to the Coronation Street episode two weeks ago?
laura : paul do you think you will do a live episode?

Paul Marquess : No!
Paul Marquess chuckles
Paul Marquess : It would be impossible with our single camera technique to go live. What I would like to do is a Brookside where part one is all one shot and part two is all one shot.

groovychic : Have you ever thought about doing a cameo role yourself?

Paul Marquess : Absolutely not. I can't act. I'm sure I'd screw things up. I've always said that on my last day I'm going to be on the bus driving around the parade having a fight with someone, but blink and you'll miss it.

Becky : Who is your favourite brookie character?
groovychic : If you could be one of the characters in Brookside which one would you be?

Paul Marquess : groovychic - I wouldn't want to be any of them! They have such bad luck! One of the great joys of soap is watching other people suffer.
Paul Marquess : I have lots of favourite characters, but if I had to pick a couple I suppose it would be characters like, Bev, Ron and Diane.

James : What was the most difficult storyline to shoot?

Paul Marquess : The recent episode we did with Jimmy standing on top of the school was technically difficult. But the Christmas special which was last night was a massive undertaking. We had a huge cast, hundreds of extras and night shoots in Liverpool city centre. I'm glad we only do it once a year!

t!mo : What was the brookside cast Christmas party like? Do anything dodgy happen?

Paul Marquess laughs
Paul Marquess : I wouldn't tell you if it had! We had a fantastic party in November for the 18th Birthday of the show, it got quite emotional, and it would be hard to top that.

Little Miss Dolly : Congratulations on producing a soap that deals with real life issues - is it hard to not come up with the same issues as other soaps?

Paul Marquess : We don't think of it like that. We try to come up with stories that we believe for our characters. There's a story next year for Ron which tackles a very hot issue. But it's definitely a believable Ron story. Sometimes we do end up tackling similar subjects to other soaps, but I think we do it better.
Paul Marquess grins

Lee Jackson : impotence?

Paul Marquess : No!
Paul Marquess laughs
Paul Marquess : That's a hot issue but it's not what we have for Ron.

Santas FireGoddess : Hello Paul, what do you think is the most outrageous storyline which the writers have come up with, which hasn't made it into the show?

Paul Marquess : I'd have to say there's a story on the table about one of our male characters being revealed as a transvestite, so far I have said no and it's going to be hard to convince me!

Chat Ed : Jimmy?
Chat Ed grins

Paul Marquess chuckles
Paul Marquess : I'm not going to say anymore. I don't want to encourage the writers!

Claire Horwood : Paul, I don't believe that Dave Burns really killed Calum Finnegan. Do you think we'll ever see a return of Manor Park's most notorious Scotsman?

Paul Marquess : He DID kill him and no we won't, cos he's dead - sorry.

Louisa : Are there any good stories planned for Leanne?

Paul Marquess : Yes there are some cracking Leanne stories next year. She is going to make life difficult for a lot of people, and believe it or not she is going to find love.

Emily : With soaps being traditionally a female orientated pleasure, do you get as many men watching? Whats the split?

Paul Marquess : I don't know the split exactly. We definitely get more women than men, though the number of men watching is going up. We have got a couple of stories next year which I think are more male friendly. The sort of stories that you might talk about in the pub. So hopefully that will help redress the balance.

daniel : i tape brookie always
Bobby : The men like the lesbian storylines, paul

Paul Marquess laughs
Paul Marquess : Some men!

Mad Brookie : What was the viewing figures for the Christmas special and how does it compare to the normal episodes?

Paul Marquess : The overnight figures were 2.9 million which will end up being over 3 million. It peaked at 3.6 million. The figures went up all the way through. That is better than a normal episode, but not by a huge amount. A more interesting figure would be a comparison of Nov 1999 and Nov 2000, Brookside share rose by 34%.

Chat Ed : OK folks, our half hour is nearly up, so last three questions now thanks....

PaulMarquess : How long have you been producing brookside and what other programmes have u been involved in???

Paul Marquess : I've been doing it since July 1999, so not even 18 months yet. I was story editor of Coronation Street for two years. I produced the video of the Duckworths in Las Vegas, and a series called Springhill.

rayhigh : Springhill was excellent

Paul Marquess : And an eight part series for ITV called Picking up the Pieces, about paramedics. I also did some writing and some consultancy for Family Affairs, but Brookie is a dream job.
Paul Marquess : I agree rayhigh - much under-rated.

Claire Horwood : Are there any plans to have an open day at Brookside or Childwall?
Mad Brookie : Can you actually visit the Brookside set?
Alex Holme : I wanna visit Brookside Close!!

Paul Marquess : No Claire no plans as yet, as we don't get a day free! The sets are constantly busy and much much more than you'd expect. There's no room for visitors - sorry :)

Chat Ed : Last question now folks:
rayhigh : How much did the refurbishment of the parade cost?

Paul Marquess : About half a million pounds... it was a major re-building programme but we're really really pleased with it.

Alex Holme : wow!!!!

Paul Marquess : It has vastly improved.

Chat Ed : That's it! Thanks for joining us Paul, that was great...

Claire Horwood : Merry Christmas to you Paul - have a great 2001 !
Mad Brookie : Congratulations on a successful year Paul and us devoted Brookie fans will watch it
forever lets hope for some good plots in the coming year!!!!!
Mad Brookie : For the better
Alex Holme : Thanks Paul!!!!!! :D
lauren_baby : bye
daz : good work paul
James : Bye Paul Happy Christmas
Lee Jackson : good luck paul!
groovychic : Seeya Paul - take care !

Paul Marquess : Thanks for all the questions and all the loyalty, and Happy Christmas!
Paul Marquess leaves the room

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