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Coming Soon? The Mystery of ‘Cockney And Scouse’

Scally Mag Team

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Production or faux production? That is the question. Helen Wilkie looks into the long awaited arrival of self-proclaimed TV series Cockney and Scouse…

A new BBC police drama set in Liverpool was released this week. The Responder hit the screens and was welcomed with warm praise by TV critics and nods of approval by some parts of Scouse Twitter for Martin Freeman’s solid attempt at our accent.

Written by ex-Merseyside police officer and cab driver Tony Schumacher and opening to scenes of a llama exploring night-time Liverpool to the sounds of When the Sun Goes Down by local legends Tramp Attack, this is firmly a show about Liverpool, made in Liverpool. 

But that’s not what I want to talk about. It reminded me of another Scouse Cop Drama that I, and apparently many others, have been eagerly awaiting for several months. Reader, are you aware of the mysterious, action-packed, hard-hitting bro-fest that is COCKNEY & SCOUSE?

To give them their credit it was the Liverpool Echo who got the scoop on this one, bringing it to my attention in March 2021 with a breathless headline “Mystery surrounding new TV drama set to be filmed in Liverpool“. What is the mystery? Well, The Echo obviously picked up that this story didn’t come from the usual reliable channels and the show had not been picked up by any broadcasters, but that didn’t stop them from uncritically repeating teasers from the producers and “insiders”.

At this point, all that existed was a YouTube trailer, a (now-defunct) website for the production company Liverbird Films, and some social media accounts. I was already spotting red flags, but it was the YouTube trailer that sent them right to the top of the flagpole for me thanks to a lucky coincidence.

Like many, during lockdown I became a voracious consumer of podcasts, including the excellent Twenty Thousand Hertz which covers a wide range of topics about sound. It hadn’t been long since I’d listened to their episode ‘The Booj‘ about the over-used audio tropes in movie trailers: the deep voiced male narrator, the eponymous ‘booj’ – a low frequency, explosive sound and crucially, the leftfield cover version of a classic song. The episode concluded with a piece by comedians the Auralnauts who combined all these elements to make the ultimate movie trailer soundtrack using a slow, sleazy cover version of Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’. You can find it on YouTube entitled “How To Make A Blockbuster Movie Trailer“.

Now, I don’t want to be too judgemental but there are a lot of facets of the Cockney & Scouse trailer that don’t exactly scream professionalism or authenticity (I mean, if you could even get past the name without calling bullshit, let’s play poker sometime) but the fact that they’d used a piece of music created as satire as a straight-faced soundtrack sealed the deal for me.

This sent me down something of an online rabbit hole. What was the point of this project? There are elements which at face value could make you think it was authentic; most prominently the lead actors being familiar faces. Mark Moraghan is an actor so Liverpudlian he has portrayed both the narrator on Thomas the Tank Engine and Barry Scouse in Harry Enfield. The ‘Cockney’ half of the duo is David Easter, of The Bill and Birds of a Feather. The IMDB page, for there is one, lists other familiar faces such as Her off Casualty and Him out of, um, you know, that thing and a total of 10 episodes with titles such as ‘Bishops of Brotherhood’, ‘Brothers of Christ’ and ‘Slaves of Mengele’ (did I mention there was a Nazi element? Not neo-Nazi, but actual Nazi in a big WW2 Nazi hat mooching around the streets of either Liverpool or London).

Looking on Twitter you’ll find actors sharing behind the scenes photos, countless accounts telling us they can’t wait to watch, and just this week (24 January 2022) a new poster with plaudits from the Royal Wolf Film Awards and Phoenix Film Festival. Now, the Phoenix Film Festival seems legit, if rather small scale. However, it’s website states that submissions won’t be notified if they’ve been selected until February 2022. The Royal Wolf Film Awards is a website that each month gives out 24 awards to small, independent film makers. A great deal of the winning films are by Shihyun Wang, a director/producer with 602 titles to her name. Her bio tells us that she began her career making documentaries on PowerPoint before progressing to Windows MovieMaker.

My obsession has confirmed a few things I’ve long suspected: just how easy it is to dupe local journalists, create social media hype, get past the fact checkers on sites like IMDB and fake a few awards. But I haven’t got to the bottom of why Cockney & Scouse exists. Vanity project? Bored actors wanting to fill gaps on their CV? Meta-commentary on the media industry? Maybe I’m wrong and it’s going be the next big thing. Anyway, I’m glad I was reminded of this strange story, otherwise I might not have found the latest trailer, released in December 2021, which informs us the two main characters are twin brothers who’s DAD IS AN ALIEN. AND A NAZI. Netflix, I beg you, this has been ‘coming soon’ for nearly a year. Cancel everything else and get this on our screens.