For the first time in more than 20 years, actor, comedian, writer and explorer Michael Palin is heading the cast of a television drama.
Remember Me is a haunting, three-part mystery by award-winning Slaithwaite writer Gwyneth Hughes (The Girl, Five Days, Miss Austen Regrets) and Sheffield-born Palin will play Tom Parfitt, a frail, old Yorkshireman seemingly alone in the world, whose admittance to a nursing home triggers a series of inexplicable events.
Palin says: “This is my first lead role in a TV drama series since GBH. It’s also a return to Yorkshire, where I was born, brought up and learnt my acting in amateur dramatics.
“I was attracted to Remember Me not only by the Northern setting, but also by a good, strong challenging role, something I could really get what remains of my teeth into... I’ve always loved ghost stories, so playing the lead in one is a very exciting prospect.”
On the day Tom leaves his home to move into residential care, he becomes the sole witness to a violent death. Teenage care assistant Hannah (Jodie Comer – My Mad Fat Diary) and investigating police detective Rob Fairholme (Mark Addy – The Full Monty, Atlantis) try to unravel the riddle of his mysterious history, and are drawn into an eerie and dangerous world of lost love and betrayal.
Julia Sawalha (Larkrise to Candleford) also stars as Hannah’s troubled mother Jan Ward with Mina Anwar (The Thin Blue Line) as Tom’s neighbour Roshana Salim.
Chris Carey (The Ambassadors, Dirk Gently, Run) is the producer, and Ashley Pearce (The Accused: Tracie’s Story, Garrow’s Law) directs.
Controller of BBC One Charlotte Moore says: “It’s a real coup for us that Michael Palin has chosen to make his return to a leading role for the first time in over 20 years on BBC One, and a testament to Gwyneth Hughes’ hauntingly brilliant script.”
Rebecca Keane, executive producer for Mammoth Screen, says: “Gwyn is one of the UK’s most accomplished writers and Remember Me is a strikingly original supernatural story.
“With the hugely impressive young actor Jodie Comer joining Mark Addy and Michael Palin in the key roles, we’re confident this will be a very special drama.”
The drama was filmed on location in Huddersfield and is another coup for the county which has hosted a number of high-profile shoots in recent months, including the big screen version of Dad’s Army in Bridlington and the thriller The Hunter’s Prayer, which recently took over the streets of Harrogate.
Damien Timmer, joint managing director of Mammoth Screen, said: “Michael is always top of our wish list. We have offered him so many parts over the years but he is always busy travelling the world, doing lecture tours or writing books.
“This is such a great part, and Tom goes to such unexpected places, that we thought it was worth one last attempt. It is not necessarily a part you would expect Michael to play but when we did the read through, as soon as he opened his mouth, it was just perfect. We all know he’s a great dramatic actor, but he’s one of our best.”
Remember Me, Sunday, BBC1, 9pm