As season 11 of Trailer Park Boys lands on Netflix, here’s my attempt at launching a British version.
Trailer Park Boys returns for it’s 11th season today on Netflix. It is hugely popular around the world despite its very humble beginnings. It starts out as a documentary following Julian and Ricky as they get out of prison and attempt to go straight. They move back to the trailer park they have lived their whole lives, and the wacky characters of the park have made for a great comedy series eer since. After coming to an end on traditional TV, the three main actors (JP Tremblay, Robb Wells, and Mike Smith) kept the show going through a series of films, before launching Swearnet, their own produciton company and online network. They bought the rights to the Trailer Park Boys and have gone about making the franchise bigger than ever, having teamed up with Netflix to produce live specials, and even recently did a series with their characters touring Europe, which featured Noel Fielding in the first episode. They also regularly appear in character on chat shows, and there is a whole bunch of content on Swearnet featuring various cast members of TPB.
And with their international success, why not try to produce a British version?
Bear with me Bubbles, I think it would look a little something like this…
Julian (John Paul Tremblay ) to be played by… ANDREW LINCOLN
Julian takes the lead in most of the boys schemes, and at times he is even moderately successful, before his loyalty to his friends and trailer park, the law, or sheer bad luck usually end up with him back at square one. He has gone legit a few times, running a bar/club/casino, and also various illegal plans such as a clean urine business. He is also the one who invited the cameras into the trailer park for the first time. As nominally the straight man in the trio, there were a few names that came to mind in a British version, including Martin Freeman, Ben Miller, and of course Idris Elba, because he should be in everything. None of them had the greasy edge that Julian has, until I thought of Andrew Lincoln. Although now a superstar due to The Walking Dead, his role in Teachers showed that he can do comedy drama, and obviously Egg in This Life wasn’t a totally straight role. And look at that picture of him in a black T-short and jeans – a bit more tricep meat and he’s perfect!
Ricky (Robb Wells) to be played by… NICK FROST
Ricky is, simply put, an idiot. Rickyisms are one of the highlights of the show (“Make like a tree and f*** off”, “Looks like we need two turnips and heat” and “Don’t judge a cover of a book by its look” are some of my favourites), and I just think Nick Frost would be great at delivering them. He would also be brilliant with the physical comedy, as Ricky is constantly falling over:
A natural Ricky!
Bubbles (Mike Smith) to be played by… MACKENZIE CROOK
And so onto the breakout, and most difficult to cast, character. Bubbles started out as an odd neighbour, but over time has grown into being the heart of the show. He lives in a small shed and is devoted to his kitties, as well as being a budding singer. In turn, actor Mike Smith seems to be the most natural performer when it comes to the live shows. Although I toyed with the idea of Peter Kay or Steve Coogan doing a comedy character similar to a young Leonard the paper boy or Duncan Thickett. Or Marek Larwood from We Are Klang, to try and match Bubbles heer weirdness. But when it comes to oddball characters, giving it a British twist is what we do best, and I can’t think of anyone who would capture Bubbles’ nervous, naive nature than Mackenzie Crook. And in the same way that Gareth Keenan was originally a totally different character before Crook auditioned and won the role, Bubbles would be slightly tweaked by retain the spirit of the original character. Plus Crook is sublime in BBC Four’s The Detectorists, alongside the great Toby Jones.
Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth) to be played by…. JIM BROADBENT
The supporting characters in Trailer Park Boys are much more complex than in most comedy shows. Jim Fahey is the Trailer Park supervisor, an ex-police officer, with a serious drink problem. At the beginning of the series he is a comedic foil for the boys, almost like Officer Dibble in Top Cat, but later he goes on the offensive to try and get rid of Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles. He has season long arcs, and a love story for the ages with Randy. There were a whole bunch of slightly older British actors I considered. Paul Whitehous, Timothy Spall or Mark Heap. But there’s a underlying tragedy to Mr Lahey, and I think that Jim Broadbent would be fantastic in this role. He has a background in comedy, and one of his most recent roles, as James McAvoy’s therapist in Filth, shows that he isn’t afraid to get weird when required.
Randy (Patrick Roach) to be played by… JOHNNY VEGAS
Randy is the Assistant Supervisor at the Trailer Park for most of the show, occasionally holding different positions depending on the whims of the owners. At one time in their younger days he was friendly with Julian, Bubbles, and especially Ricky, but now he is on the side of law and order, helping Lahey to thwart the boys. He is also truly in love with Mr Lahey. There was only really one choice for the role of the shirtless, cheeseburger-eating, rotund Randy – Johnny Vegas. His BBC Three sitcom Ideal is also probably the closest thing Britain has produced to Trailer Park Boys.
Sarah (Sarah Dunsworth) to be played by… JESSICA HYNES
Onto the female characters. Sarah has got the measure of the boys, never taking any of their nonsense and with almost no romantic entanglement to cloud her judgement. She is also far more successful than Julian when it comes to planning and executing schemes – Trailer Park Girls would be a much different show! Jessica Hynes is a comedy great – she was one of the highlights of my Christmas countdown with her star turn in Nativity 2 – and as a smart woman trapped by her circumstances, she would be perfect. She’s also grown beyond her role as Daisy in Spaced, but I reckon we could work in one reference with her and Nick Frost, and someone else later on…
Lucy (Lucy Decoutere) to be played by… SHARON HORGAN
Another smart, confident woman who is held back by one thing – although with Lucy it is her love of Ricky that keeps dragging her back to him. She knows that she deserves better than him, but she loves him so they always end up back together. Although Horgan has made her name with starring roles in comedies like BBC Three’s Pulling and more recently Catastrophe which has been picked up by Netflix. This has led to her new show Divorce getting picked up on HBO, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church. This would be a great role for her to just be a comedy actor though, a bit like when Chris Morris was in the first series of The IT Crowd.
Barb Lahey (Shelley Thompson) to be played by… JULIA DAVIS
Barb is the owner of the Trailer Park, and the wife of Jim. She also has a bit of a dark edge to her, being ready to act in her own self-interest and sell the park to anyone with the money. Julia Davis would be great to be involved, stuff like Nighty Night and Hunterby more than shows her comedy chops. I also see Barb as a young woman being impressed by dashing police officer Jim Lahey before he lost his job and fell into his spiral of self destruction, so that is why she is so much younger than Jim Broadbent. This would also help her bond with Lucy and Sarah, who I’ve always thought more of as an older sister rather than a mother figure.
J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens) to be played by …. SIMON PEGG
J Roc is the trailer parks’ resident wannabe rapper. He has a million and one catchphrases that have evolved over the course of the show,“maafk”. For the equivalent version in Britain I needed a very British comedian with a love of hip hop – so why not Simon Pegg? I reckon we could shoehorn in ONE Spaced reference with the Tim, Daisy, and Mike reunion.
Cyrus (Bernard Robichaud) to be played by …. JASON STATHAM
You didn’t think I could get through this without The Stath, did you? Cyrus is the inept faux gangster/pimp/tough guy who is the Boys main criminal antagonist. I’ve not recast everyone in the series, but Cyrus would be the big bad over the course of the first season of my British version of Trailer Park Boys.
Sebastian Bach (Sebastian Bach) to be played by …. BRUCE DICKINSON
Rockstar Sebastian Bach plays a recurring role in Trailer Park Boys, and a British reboot would need someone of a similar stature. Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson could get involved with a drug distribution scheme either with his band on tour or with his own jet (he’s got a pilot’s licence).
Cory and Trevor (Cory Bowles and Michael Jackson) to be played by… DANIEL RADCLIFFE and RUPERT GRINT
Cory and Trevor are basically used by Ricky and Julian as a supply of cheap labour and free cigarettes. They are basically included in the plans to be ready-made scapegoats and take the rap when things naturally go wrong. So why not get the boys from Harry Potter back together?
But where is it set?
Sunnyvale, Nova Scotia to be replace by… BRIDLINGTON, YORKSHIRE!
In this country, we don’t really have “trailer parks” on the same scale of North America, so it has to be a seaside resort. Bridlington it is!
And that’s it for my British version of Trailer Park Boys. I’d like to thank our Senior Wrestling Correspondent Jonny Hogarth for his help as a sounding board to bounce my ideas off with this article, as I mentioned throughout there really were a a lot of names in the mix. What other shows would you like to see remade in a British setting?
So, what do you think now, Bubbles?
That’s all I ever wanted to hear.
Until next time, stay gold Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.