There were barrels of laughter combined with serious mental health discussions as one of Chorley’s most famous faces showcased his new comedy at a VIP screening.
Joe Gilgun, known for his work in This Is England and Emmerdale, and the cast of new Sky comedy Brassic – including Michelle Keegan – turned up to the Manchester screening of the show at The Printworks on Tuesday evening (August 20).
“It stems from growing up in Chorley, the people I mixed with in Chorley, and the characters that that kind of environment breeds,” said Joe, who wrote the show with Danny Brocklehurst, of Shameless fame.
“I talk a lot of nonsense and I realised quite quickly that producers like these stories, so I’d embellish them each time around.”
The show follows Vinnie (Gilgun), a Lancashire lad with bipolar – a disorder Joe also lives with – as scamming, bribing and conning catches up with him and his mates.
“I’ve a bit of a colourful past – [but] I’m not El Chapo,” joked Joe.
"The show celebrates the working class," added Danny.
"We wanted it to be a show that was fun and took this 'grim' impression away from the North."
Brassic centres around Vinne's friendship with Dylan (Damien Molony), loosely based on Joe's real life best friend Dave Quayle, looking at how utterly co-dependant the two are on each other while also dealing with Dylan's girlfriend Erin (Keegan) who wants to leave town for good with Dylan and her son, Tyler.
Speaking about his own mental health, Joe added: “I was diagnosed with GAD; general anxiety disorder. I thought during filming for [2014 comedy-drama] Pride I had a sinus infection.
"I was dizzy; going through the symptoms of severe anxiety. I was having a mental breakdown.
"I settled into this breakdown and said ‘I better write something’ [Brassic] because I’ll never go in front of a camera again. I was terrified.
“The bipolar is a very real thing and I do go through periods of prolonged depression – I’ve actually just come out the other end of one.”
When asked why she joined the show, Michelle said: “I think because it was based in Manchester and it was a Northern show.
"I’m really proud to be Northern and I had been away working for eight months in South Africa and Malaysia.
“I’ve worked with Danny before so I knew his scripts would be brilliant.
"I read them and I literally laughed out loud. Right then I thought this is something I want to be a part of.
“And I’ve never done comedy before so it was something new for me.
"It was so hard to keep a straight face. I watch scenes and you can see I'm not even looking at anyone.
"There's a scene with Joe, Damo (Damien Molony), and my brother, and the whole scene I'm not looking at any of them.
"I'm constantly looking at the ground because I can't look because I get caught up so many times.
"It was like that on set all the time. It was so funny, honestly."
Brassic airs on Sky One on Thursday, August 22 at 10pm, with all episodes available on Sky Box Sets and Now TV