AN AWARD-WINNING Wirral writer returned to his roots to pen a new TV comedy show.
Michael Wynne’s Being Eileen, which started on BBC1 last week, follows the lives of the close-knit dysfunctional Lewis family in Birkenhead.
Parts of the series were filmed on location in New Brighton, Birkenhead and Landican Cemetery.
Michael – who won an Olivier Award for his play The Priory – said he enjoyed returning to the characters, who were first featured in a Christmas special, Lapland, in 2011.
The six-part series is being shown on Mondays at 10.35pm and BBC bosses hope it will build an audience like previous comedy hits Outnumbered and Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Michael, 40, said: “It was just a one-off after I had this idea about a family going to Lapland then the BBC said ‘do you think there’s any more life in it?’
“I’ve really enjoyed doing the series and getting involved in the process of the filming, even down to working with the composer and the woman who did the title sequence.
“I am a producer as well so I was there on set for a lot of the filming and editing, saying things like ‘have you got another shot of that?’ and ‘that doesn’t work!’
In the heartwarming comedy Sue Johnston plays Eileen Lewis, the recently widowed matriarch of the Lewis clan – and Michael has nothing but praise for the former Royle Family star.
He said: “Sue is brilliant. She is so experienced that she just hits it – the comedy and the pathos. It is exactly what you were thinking and 100 times more.”
Like Eileen, Michael’s mum Johanna lost her husband Billy a few years ago.
He said his family, including sisters Helen and Rachel, are proud of his success in what he jokes is an understated “Birkenhead way”.
He said: “This series is very much inspired by growing up in Birkenhead and my family and friends.
“I wanted to put a nice family who get on on the telly – they have problems but they like each other.
“There is one episode about them going to get a shower that was inspired by going to B&Q with my mum and trips to Ikea. You are all quite upbeat and then you lose the will to live!
“Sometimes I don’t remember where I picked things up and people say to me ‘I did that!’
“My mum says ‘don’t say anything – he’s listening!’”