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Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Bristol writer Catherine Johnson on her new TV drama
By Kate Wakefield
BBC Bristol

Lenora Crichlow
Lenora Crichlow, here in Being Human, stars as the lead role in Dappers

Catherine Johnson, writer of Mamma Mia!, has created a new television comedy based in Bristol called Dappers.

It follows the story of two single mums who live in housing association flats in Clifton and are described as "Del Boy and Rodders in thongs".

The pilot for BBC Three is being filmed around York Place and Richmond Terrace and it is hoped it will make a series.

It stars Lenora Crichlow, who has already spent time in Bristol filming the hit BBC drama Being Human.

Catherine is best known for penning hit comedy-musical Mamma Mia!

That was set in the Greek sunshine but she has used real-life experiences, such as being a single mum in Bristol herself, to create this new production.

"People often think of single parents in a kind of negative way," she said.

"I actually felt [when she was a single parent] that we were really, really positive about our ambitions and what we might do with our lives.

"It's kind of weird because this is actually proof that I did something that was not necessarily what might be expected from my circumstances at that time."

Catherine Johnson in Bristol
Catherine Johnson is well known for her love of Bristol

Lenora Crichlow, star of BBC dramas Being Human and Material Girl, plays the lead role, Ashley.

Ashley has a young daughter called Angel and is best friends with another young mother, called Faye - hence the title 'Dappers', which means best mates in Bristolian.

And Lenora said working with Bristolian Catherine was a big deal for her.

"She's an absolute dream," she said. "She's lovely."

"It's lovely that she's on set because she can kind of keep an eye on everything we're doing.

"This is so close to her and her passion for this is infectious, and her enthusiasm.

"She just keeps you going and you look over and she gives you the thumbs up, or "you nailed that" and it just really keeps you going."

The one-off 30-minute Bristol-based comedy-drama may make a full series, which would start filming in the summer if given the thumbs up.

And, according to Catherine, it's the Bristolian flavour that gives the drama an extra edge.

"I think our [Bristol] sense of humour is totally overlooked sometimes; people don't get it because it's so dry," said Catherine.

"I've lived here for years and years and years now and I just love the city.

"I'd never do anything like Little Britain [broad Bristolian character Vicky Pollard] on it, definitely not!"

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