Blackpool is the inspiration for GP show

Ben Cottam
Ben Cottam

A Blackpool-born comedy writer has based his new show on the misadventures of an East European doctor working in the resort.

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Ben Cottam

Ben Cottam

Ben Cottam, who was born in the resort before his family moved to Knott End, has written the Latvian Locum for BBC Radio 4.

And Ben, 30, says the show will take an affectionate look at the town and the characters attracted to the seaside.

He said: “The one thing about Blackpool is that everyone has an opinion about the place.

“Things like Strictly Come Dancing have put Blackpool in the spotlight, but a lot of people don’t have much of an idea about the place.

“While the series pulls no punches about some of Blackpool’s social problems, I hope it comes across as a celebration of the place that I and countless other people are so fond of.

“It also felt especially important to draw attention to the excellent work our under-funded NHS carry out in the resort – facing some problems if not unique, then certainly very uncommon throughout the country, and its multi-ethnic composition at a time when Britain prepares to exit the EU.

“I came up with the idea of a Latvian doctor last year when Brexit first hit the headlines.

“Thee main roles are Dolya Gavanski as Dr Dace Zake and Michelle Holmes as Jan, the surgery’s receptionist.

“I crop up a bit as a fellow doctor.

“The series is set in a fictional GPs in South Shore.”

Ben started out as a member of comedy group Three Englishman, appearing at the Edinburgh Festival, before working as a producer at the BBC.

It was while working on political satire The Thick of It, that he decided his future lay in comedy writing.

He is currently working on a second series of the comedy Plum House, starring Simon Callow, Jane Horrocks and Miles Jupp.

He is also developing the TV sitcoms Little White Lies and Washed Up.

He co-wrote a number of episodes of the Bafta and Emmy-winning The Amazing World of Gumball for the Cartoon Network and is a regular contributor of sketches to a variety of BBC3, ITV1 and E4 shows and pilots.

Latvian Locum’s first episode is on Radio 4 at 10.45am today.”