Interview: Lucy Gannon on Frankie Series 1 & Future
Cult Fix spoke to writer Lucy Gannon on her latest district nurse drama, Frankie.
When did you first come up with the idea for Frankie?
About 2 years ago. The BBC wanted a series, about a group of professionals and didn’t want police/crime stuff. I suggested midwives but guess what.. they already had one on the boil.
How did it come to you and what drove you to write about the day-to-day life of a district nurse?
I always start with the character I want to write and everything spins from that. I’d been thinking about this lively, strong, bonkers woman for some time and as I looked at all the options for her professional life it seemed to me that District Nursing was both interesting and neglected. I like the team aspect of the job, and we’ve had some great response from district nurses saying that our team scenes are spot on.
Are you happy with the reception the series got?
Yes, I’m very happy. There’s something called the Audience Appreciation Index and we started at 84, which is very high for a first series, and gradually climbed to 89 for the last 3 eps. Fantastic. And I’ve never had so much enthusiasm from viewers, in person, in emails, on the phone, on Twitter. Amazing.
How long would you like Frankie to go on for?
Frankie could go for 9 or 10 series. I don’t think that any series should go beyond that as they get lazy, repetitive, tired. Some should stop at much less, but I think there are enough characters in Frankie to keep it going for 9 anyway.
Do you have more storylines planned?
We have some great strong, shocking (in the best way!) storylines for series 2, if we are commissioned. All our characters have great life stories and there’s enough conflict there to keep us going forever. They’re young people with great ambitions and potential so they can go anywhere in storyline terms.
Was Eve Myles your first choice as Frankie?
We didn’t have a ‘first choice’. I wrote it with no one in particular in mind and we let the audition process and our wonderful casting director, Andy Morgan, guide us towards the best of the best. When Eve came into the audition room, there was no question – she WAS Frankie. As the filming started we knew we were absolutely right to cast her. No one else would have been so Frankie-ish.
Did you always envision Dr. Zoe Evans as Frankie’s stalker or did you have another character in mind?
When we met Jemma we were thinking of her in another role, but that night both the exec and I had the same idea – Zoe Evans/Jemma Redgrave – that’s our stalker!
The public are convinced that another series is on the way. Can you talk about it and is it confirmed?
Of course I can talk about it, but there’s not a lot to say. The BBC have the final decision, the only decision really, as it’s their money that makes it. So far, there’s no decision either way.
One of the ongoing plot lines in Frankie was Frankie’s dilemma over Ian and Andy and by the end it wasn’t resolved. Can you shed a little light on her predicament?
I think the message is that there is no predicament for Frankie. She doesn’t NEED a man on her arm, and she won’t make a choice between two men just because they both fancy her. She is a woman of great principles and she will not take a cheat and a liar (Ian) nor someone who doesn’t make it clear who they are and whether or not they really are committed to her (Andy). Maybe Ian will prove that he has grown up and she will realise that he’s the one she has fun with, or maybe she’ll get to know Andy and realise that he’s a strong and unwavering and witty man she can love. Or maybe she’ll find someone else. Or maybe she’ll discover that she’s quite happy on her own. Who knows?
And a couple of other thoughts…
On Frankie’s dancing…
The dancing nurse: I always knew Frankie had to be full of energy, a bit bonkers with energy really, and that she would be a physical person. That’s why I wrote the dancing into the first episode. But when I saw how Eve really went for it, how delightful she was, I just wrote more and more and more…
On Frankie’s red sports car…
All District Nurses spend a lot of time traveling to and from their patients so we knew that the cars they drove would become characters in their own right. For Andy it’s a chunky 4×4, something he’ll drive up to Scotland and take on camping/fishing trips. For Frankie something as bright and sporty as she is. For Karen…. well, she has her own car story doesn’t she?
On the inclusion of BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce…
I wanted to make something of those moments in the car, rather than just having Frankie drive and the radio was one way to achieve that. My favourite presenter/DJ is Ken Bruce so he had to be her favourite as well. Ken has done voice overs for me in other dramas so I hoped he’d say a quick yes and he did. I thought of ringing the changes with a different radio presence but he’s the wittiest.
Interviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.
- See our review of episode one.
- See our review of episode two.
- See our review of episode three and four.
- See our review of episode five.
- See our review of episode six.