Series 2 of UNDONE is now available as a download from AUDIBLE / AMAZON
undone series 2
'stranger is gooder'
When the first series of Undone was broadcast, in the Autumn of 2006, it received a lovely amount of feedback. There were posts on the 7th Dimension messageboards and on this website's forum, and I received a number of very kind emails. The producer, Colin Anderson, was keen to make a second series, and a lot of people wondered about the ending to series 1. I wrote a document, laying out how a second series could go, with some of the concepts and events Edna would deal with and we handed it in to the powers that BBC. Along the way a lot of tweaks were made, but this became our roadmap for the next few months.
Undone series two was commissioned by BBC7 in early 2007 and we planned on recording it in the Summer, with broadcast at a point from the Autumn onwards. The commission was for six episodes which meant there was a little more time to develop the story, but there was still the discipline of keeping extra characters to a minimum per episode.
One of the best features of the first series was working with Sarah Solemani. She brought Edna to so much life. But with someone as talented as Sarah, she has many demands on her working life. For the recording dates of series 2 she just wasn't available no matter how we tried to juggle things and so we had to seek out a new Edna. We didn't look far. Alex Tregear came highly recommended by other producers in the Radio entertainment department, she had already appeared on a 7th Dimension comedy, and came to the job incredibly well prepared and full of thoughts and ideas. What had looked like being a massive hole in the road for series 2 was nicely avoided.
Other cast members coming back episodically included Montserrat Lombard, Tim Key and Emma Kennedy. Kevin Eldon was cast as a new character, and we welcomed the excellent Sophie Duval as Ida. Lots of mini-roles were taken by members of the Radio Drama Company and Rae Baker made a fab cameo. And of course Duncan Wisbey played three Carlos, a Billy, and numerous other roles. Colin produced and directed brilliantly. We recorded again in lovely weather at Marijke's in Primrose Hill. Alison and Jerry did wonderful things with the sound. I sat about and smiled.
And it was somehow all done.
Here's how. . .
Episode 1 - Unaccompanied
Having saved the world, Edna’s life seems to be back to normal. But something keeps taking her back to Undone.
Starring Alex Tregear, Ben Moor, Duncan Wisbey, Tim Key and Nitin Ganatra
The series picks up a couple of weeks after the end of series 1 but not much has happened in story terms; things get going when Edna gets out of her slump. Edna’s developing abilities would become more apparent over the course of the series and without Tankerton to help her, she’s active off her own bat in this first episode. Well, he is still bossing her around from her imagination, but that’s as far as it goes. The scene in the wardrobe was recorded inside an actual wardrobe (that’s how realistic we get) and Tim and Alex really worked the Morris Dance Dance Revolution (“Hankies!”).
Episode one’s first task was to wrap up a couple of things from the end of the first series, especially relating to Carlo and Grant. Once those were out of the way, the hints about the Prince and the larger mystery Edna guesses at lead into the rest of the series. Not my favourite episode in terms of writing, but finding a balance between the necessary elements of pushing Edna and pulling in lighter moments wasn’t easy. However, it was a joy to see Alex totally grasping the character and the world Edna inhabits from the off. Nitin Gantra (who I had worked with briefly on Piccadilly Jim) took to the world of undone very nicely. The RDC are very skillful actors who fly in to various projects around the BBC when certain voices are needed. We couldn't have made this series without them. Tim Key played Grant with charm and wit and although there wasn’t much more from Billy in episodes to come, Duncan played him perfectly here.
First broadcast - BBC 7 - 20th January 2008
Episode 2 - Unsurprised
Visiting the dull parallel city of Donlon, Edna encounters an old friend while for Tankerton love is the drug. Who is running the drugs and who is the Man Man?
Starring Alex Tregear, Ben Moor, Duncan Wisbey, Montserrat Lombard, Sophie Duval, Kevin Eldon
Edna’s inquisitiveness (and female uninterest at a sporting event) gets the pair going to a whole new city in this episode. Donlon’s existence followed naturally from the rule set up in the original pilot; if weirdness comes from Undone there must be a similar place where the unweirdness comes from. And it was a sweet way to bring back Kate from where we left her in the first series. Her life in Donlon sounds fine to her (boring to the rest of us) and the tale of the Undone drugs opens up the introduction of Ida and the Prince. The barge was fun to record in a shed (see photo) and the astronaut wrestling was a giggle too. The Museum of Upturned Cups was recorded in the same church we used for the wedding scenes in episode 6 and this took quite a bit of time. We tend to record “on the move” so as the characters walk around the museum we did a couple of laps of the church.
I was very pleased with this episode. Making up the drugs was fun and so was naming them. Duncan’s dealer in the barge was very funny and Alex did another excellent job as Edna – really capturing her struggles with all the people who are meant to help her but hardly ever do. It was a pleasure to welcome back Montserrat whose Kate is just about my favourite character to write. And Sophie Duval’s Ida was just a joy – dippy and odd but lovely and real in her way. Kevin Eldon played a faceless bureaucrat in series 1 but we knew there would be more for him this time. He makes a great Prince, sinister without being out and out villainous – lovely shades.
And the cliffhanger ending, Colin made that sound wonderful – urgent and keen. And his use of music is just so perfect. I never know the names of the songs he uses, but if you have a question about a specific piece leave a message on the forum and I’ll find out the answer.
First broadcast - BBC 7 - 27th January 2008
Episode 3 - Unrelated
Edna and Ida team up to stop the Undone threat of public information porn films while Tankerton is more concerned with the backyard panto scene. A meeting with the Prince, however, gives Edna more to think about.
Starring Alex Tregear, Ben Moor, Duncan Wisbey, Sophie Duval and Kevin Eldon
Cliffhanger resolved – they are sisters! – the public information porn industry finally gets the attention it deserves. And having got Tankerton and Edna back together, it was time to get them working on different missions again. Edna seems keen to take on a mission, but her expectations for Ida aren’t great. And her attention is more drawn to the mystery of the Prince’s plans. The scene at the Heckhole is a central one to series 2 in that for the first time we get a proper idea of what the Prince has been up to and the mystery of the gem. If the first half of the series has been all about Edna’s increasing self confidence, after the conversation with the Prince she starts to have doubts again.
We recorded the ice cream van scene in a mini with real live actual ice lollies. Nothing beats naturalism! Sophie makes Ida’s dippiness so endearing here and Duncan’s porn director is genius. But the scene between Kevin and Alex, I was really happy with. There had to be a lot of plot to get across there but they did it with lightness and intelligence. As a writer, moments like those are wonderful. The clips of the public information pornos were hysterical to act out (all done in the best possible taste) and once again the music in the club scene adds so much to overall feel of the show.
First broadcast - BBC 7 - 3rd February 2008
If you have any questions about the show, please send me an email - I'd be happy to reply.