Today’s Joanna Page: Bleak Expectations (the pilot)

Well, I mentioned it last week, but thanks to Mark at The British Comedy Guide we have word from Mark Evans himself about who was in the Bleak Expectations pilot and why Joanna Page wasn’t in the series itself:

"Yes, she played Pippa in the pilot. And was excellent. The reason she was not in the series itself was entirely down to availability… It would have been excellent to have had her in the series, but luckily we got the wonderful Susie Kane to play Pippa as she has done fabulously ever since.

The non-broadcast pilot was actually March 2006… then it was a whole year before the first series. Anthony Head wasn’t actually in that pilot – Tom Hollander played Mr Sourquill and Mr Gently Benevolent. Again, it was entirely an availability thing for him not doing the series; again we luckily got the fantastic Mr Head. I think both he and Mr Hollander are superb actors.

James Bachman was still Harry Biscuit, even in the pilot (doubling also with Servewell, Sir Philip’s butler). Thomas was played by Kim Wall; in the first series he became Mark Perry. Again, all availability. I’m a huge Kim Wall fan.

We also had Sophie Thompson as Agnes, Pip’s mother. (In the series played by Celia Imrie.) Once again it’s the whole availability thing. I think Sophie was in Eastenders at that point… but may be wrong. We were very lucky – every time we lost someone from the pilot cast, we found someone just as great to replace them in the series. Oh, and Poppy was played by Kellie Bright, who turned up recently in small parts in Horne and Corden and who is/was Kate Aldridge in The Archers. She, too, was unavailable for the series. Everyone got very, very successful and busy after the pilot. Coincidence? Or just great excuse making so they didn’t have to be in it?"

So there you have it. However, since it’s Today’s Joanna Page, have another picture of Joanna Page filming the third series of Gavin & Stacey: