The idea for Border Cafe came from two sources, as Tim explains: "First off I wanted to write about a place that I would have liked to have gone. I'm in a fortunate position where if I feel I've missed out on anything in my life, I can write it and live it vicariously. I did that with 'Preston Front' - I would have loved to have had a gang of friends that size. Here is a place I would have loved to have hung out, a place where there was a real mix of age groups, from fifty-year old down to sixth formers."
Tim continues, "The idea of it being a border cafe is very important. I actually live where the cafe is notionally set: on the border of a town, which is on the border of two counties, which are on the border of two countries. We're also on the border of industrial and rural areas, and the way people live across all these cultural, national and social fault lines has always fascinated me."
"Obviously what you then need is a no-man's land where they can meet. I didn't want a pub, because I'm sort of bored of seeing pubs on television and also it needed to be somewhere that was open at the crack of dawn right through till the small hours. Crucially it had to be somewhere people don't necessarily drink alcohol. I love that cafe culture we've never had in the UK where the cool drink is coffee or soft drinks. The cafe is, in a way, a mixture of American and European cultures - another border."
"The other story it is based on is one I saw in a newspaper years ago. When Robbie Williams was kicked out of Take That, the fake Robbie Williams was kicked out of copycat band 'Fake That'. I kept that cutting for ages, because I thought how extraordinary it was to think the actions of one guy, millions of miles away in a completely different world, could have such a massive effect on someone else's life."
"The two ideas met in that I needed some way of introducing us to the world of the cafe. The idea of the copycat going in search of the cat seemed to me a great way of getting someone stranded in an alien world. The two stories collide on what I suppose is the final border: the crossing of the perimeters of a life, escaping the person you always thought you were and becoming the person you never thought you could be. In this series the copycat, Ronnie, develops into this fantastic, vibrant beacon of light for everyone around her by stopping trying to be someone else and turning into one hundred percent of herself."
He continues: "Like all my series I chose stories which I hoped would be funny and sad at the same time. In this series the cafe was great, because life is totally reflected in that seating arrangement - when you're having your long, dark night of the soul, the cafe, people whose hearts are breaking find themselves talking to people who arr completely wired or on a huge high. Forcing these different experiences together is great for a writer. You feel like some experimental scientist throwing unknown chemicals together and running for cover."
Set in a fictional town on
the borders of England and Wales, home to a cross-section of
amazing, colourful characters who, under normal circumstances,
would never have met.
star Charlotte Smith quits at the height of her fame and buys
the American diner on the outskirts of her home town so she can
settle down with her builder boyfriend David Doyle. He invites
his daft elder brother Kidder to become the chef while the nervous
Ronnie gives up her life as "Charlotte" in a copycat
band to become waitress.
The Border Cafe becomes a meeting
place for all sorts of curious characters and a centre of intrigue.
But as the cafe takes off, the whole notion of whose life depends
on whose starts to shift with dramatic consequences.
Charlotte - Elizabeth Carling David - Sean Gallagher Ronnie - Georgia Mackenzie Kidder - Anthony Strachan Edwardian Clive - Michael Attwell Doug Roscoe - Michael Elwyn Chris Caine - Mark Bazeley
Max - Tom Goodman-Hill Danesy - Dean Lennox Kelly Beejay - Richard Mylan Naomi - Nia Roberts Beth - Catrin Powell Ollie - Rhys Miles Thomas Lorna - Stephanie Chambers Robbo - Gareth James
No DVD is available for this series, as yet, but see below for a taste of the series.
"Stopping off for a
roadside coffee may never be the same again after Tim Firth's
new comedy. The writer of PRESTON FRONT serves up another quirky
offering that borders on the absurd... All the right ingredients
are in place for an enjoyable series. Quirky and appetising." (Sunday Express)
"A stunningly good
start to a new romantic comedy set in a café... I think
you'll like [these characters] a lot." (OK! Magazine)
"... was quirky, off-beat,
wistful, intriguing." (The
"Wonderful mix of comedy
and drama. It's funny. Extremely funny. And quite moving actually.
Wonderful stuff." (TV
Actors Richard Mylan (Beejay) met
Catrin Powell (Beth) on the set of Border Cafe. They are now married with a young family.
The Arlenes provided the soundtrack 'Stuck on Love' for Border Cafe.
DVD is currently available at the moment although the
soundtrack of the series is available:
Other scripts, CDs and DVDs of Tim Firth's work are available.
Like so many others I should love to see Border Cafe on DVD, Preston Front is a favourite and I have watched it loads of times. But please can we have a DVD of Border Cafe. Elizabeth Armstrong
Please please please can someone,somehow get me a copy of Border Cafe,it was my favourite programme and at the time was highly popular with my mates & I. I understand it has never been released on DVD and can't understand why,especially with the mountains of drivel I and others have had to endure on tv in the last decade or so.So if anyone can help me I would be eternally grateful. Robert Burgess
Hi. Please put me on the list of people who would love a Border Cafe DD. I emailed the BBC when I was 15 for a copy of he show and I'm still hoping one day it will happen. It was my favourite program 10 years ago and it's repeat on UK Drama reminded me that it still is. A DVD release would be fantastic. Thank You. Jodie Rhodes
Has it really been 10 years since Border Cafe? I would like to add my humble cry for its release on DVD. Although I'm a dyed in the wool Preston Front fan I remember Border Cafe with much fondness. In truth I guess I'm just a Tim Firth fan as I love Flint Street Nativety and the rest of his work. I would however like to see another Preston Front series before all the locations disappear. The Roman Holiday Restaurant is really delapidated these days, but the Greasy Spoon Cafe seems not to have changed too much. I'd love to see if Alley & Carl ever got together and it would be great if young Kirsty returned from America as a young woman looking for her father. Do Eric and Dawn have any children yet? Has Lloydy made his millions yet? Has poor Spock finally found true love and does Diesel own a large car dealership yet? If not a TV series how about a novel (the production costs are a lot less!!!) Chris Evans
Can you tell
me if there is any update on the possibility of Border Cafe being
released on DVD? I having been trying to find this for so long
that my original search is bookmarked as "Border Cafe Video"! Vivienne Smith
I have been
looking extensively for a dvd of Border Cafe. Where can I obtain
one? I am sure I will not be the only taker! Cheers! Kevin Hudson
Is there any reason why Border Cafe hasn't come out on DVD yet? I check every so often to see if it has. Thanks. Vanessa Grey