Re-making Fleabag's Guinea Pig Cafe by Jonathan Green

After creating the iconic cafe for Series 1, we were faced with a huge dilemma for Series 2.

The cafe was in the process of undergoing a major re-fit and was completely gutted. Worse still, the restaurant was due to be finished just as we needed to start shooting. So we toyed with the idea of a script change that would have had Fleabag updating her cafe to something a bit more normal.

But ultimately, we all felt that the Guinea Pig cafe was as much part of Fleabag’s world as she was, and so we even considered a set build in a studio.

Once the shoot started, we still hadn’t decided which way to go, but we heard that their re-fit was running way behind schedule. At that point I decided to pay them a visit late one evening after a long shoot day, to see how the restaurant was looking.

When I got there, I was a bit disturbed to find a gutted empty shell of a building, but miraculously, the outside frontage hadn’t been touched.

And so the idea of turning it back to how it was, for a few short days, started to seem like a pretty decent idea.

The owners would need to be on board to hold up their builders for a week, but that felt like a possibility. And so I got measuring and sketching, and went away, with a telephone call to the Producer, and emails to the Director to put forward my plan.

There was a bit of scepticism, because the counter area was completely ripped out, and so we would only be able to effectively shoot in one direction, but everybody jumped on board to get re-creating the cafe.

About a week later, carpenters went in, and we set about building a set within the shell, and once that was done we dressed the set with as many items as we had stored from series 1 (the tables and chairs belonged to the previous restaurant, but had long since gone, so we had to hire as close to the original as we could)

And the next day, the shooting crew arrived, and we all felt like we’d come back to visit an old friend.

It was a real joy to recreate a space we all thought had long since gone, and Phoebe’s delight at returning to her old cafe was a great reward.

We were only there a few days, and then we pulled it all out, and left it as the shell I had found a few weeks before. Fleeting moments of joyful memories and nostalgia.

Work update by Jonathan Green

It's been a long while since I wrote a blog post, so here's a quick update of whats been going on:

January started with designing Jack Whitehall's current travelling tour, which started at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

The Chase also returned to the studio after a Christmas s break, and I worked on a small pilot called Coconut for BBC3

Next I designed a small studio set for a Facebook Live show called Studs Up, and then want on to Series 2 of the Channel 5 comedy, Borderline which shot through March.

April seemed to come and go all too quickly, with a brand new Channel 4 show called Lego Masters. Not sure when that airs, but reckon it will be popular.

Then into May and the annual visit to Qi and Mock The Week, and then straight in to pre-production for the new series of Still Game in June.

So that's about it for now. Hoping for a nice juicy show in the Autumn before Fleabag 2 goes in to production early next year, if all goes to plan.....

 

Michael, Marlon & Elizabeth - Urban Myths by Jonathan Green

Sadly, as a viewer, you'll never get a chance to see this production.

As of two days ago, Sky in their wisdom decided to pull it on the strength of objections by the Jackson family, who thought the portrayal (having only seen a 10 second trailer) to be "offensive".

Having worked on this show and seen the completed programme, I can honestly say all the hype around it is totally wrong.

Unlike every other comedy before it, this portrayal of Michael Jackson is not a "piss take", and does not show the artist in a bad light. It's a beautifully performed charming and heart-warming piece, with caring and nuanced acting by all of its cast, including one of the last performances by Carrie Fisher.

Unfortunately, the world has been robbed of this delightful show, which sets a seriously worrying precedent for the Film & TV Industry.

If we are to have a show pulled that is deemed too offensive because of it's portrayal of celebrities, we will never again see the likes of shows such as Brass Eye, Spitting Image, even Star Stories amongst many others, or actors such as Ben Kingsley playing Ghandi, which is a depressing thought.

 

Stag by Jonathan Green

Now that Stag has started airing on BBC2 Saturdays 9pm, I'm able to start uploading some on set photos.

Stag was spilt across locations in the Highlands of Scotland, and in and around Pinewood Studios, outside of London.

If you get the chance to watch on catch-up, please do. It's a remarkable piece of television, that I'm hugely proud to have been involved in.

The house that we turned in to a pub

The house that we turned in to a pub