Sold

Sold
Thursday 13 December 2007 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

Ella Smith, who plays Phoebe in Sold, has no problem with estate agents – she even invited one to her house warming party.

“I’ve always got on well with estate agents and the one who found my rented property was great, really good fun and didn’t try to rip us off so we invited him to our house warming.”

Ella thinks her character Phoebe is the life and soul of Colubrine’s estate agents in Sold.

She says: “Phoebe puts a positive spin on everything, which is really fun to play. She has moments when things go wrong but she turns them round quickly. She can also turn on the estate agent jargon and be as ruthless as the next man but hopefully she’s loveable too.

“Phoebe is very racy at times, she flirts constantly but I like the fact that she’s willing to jump straight in. She gets screwed over, quite literally, by another estate agents but it doesn’t destroy her trust in people or love. I had to shoot the sexy scenes quite early on but, to be honest, they were quite tame as far as sex scenes go. I’ve done a lot worse.

“I keep playing minxes, it’s great! I didn’t think I’d be playing those sort of parts when I left drama school. I think when the part was originally written Phoebe wasn’t so confident or happy but after I auditioned they saw possibilities in me and decided not to make her a victim. It’s been great for me to champion that sort of girl. Everyone knows a Phoebe.”

Ella continues: “Everyone at Colubrine’s is affected by the office politics and hierarchy. They all need someone above and below them. Phoebe has Jonty to boss around. But she does care about him and sees the good qualities in him. It’s a kind of mothering relationship but they work well as a pairing because she looks out for him, yet also gives him a hard time. Her feelings towards him are ambiguous, which I like.”

In episode five of Sold the gang are up against the clock with just one week to find keyworker buyers for a new-build project. Danny is preoccupied with helping Terry, a recently divorced dad, reconnect with his son and finding a new home for an out of work computer programmer who has lost all sense of direction. Tension between Danny and Matt mounts, culminating in a clash which puts everyone’s job on the line.

The Colubrine’s team have secured a lucrative contract to handle sales for the Bay Tree Court Development. With just two more remaining flats on the site to be sold, Matt (Kris Marshall) is in a triumphant mood, boasting to Mel (Christina Cole) that he’s destined for great things, but she’s distracted by Danny (Bryan Dick). Disturbed by their flirtatious banter, Matt charges them with the sale of the last two flats.

The next day, Mel’s promising viewing at Bay Tree Court is interrupted when she discovers Jonty (Dan Johnston) squatting in the show flat. He reveals that his house has been repossessed and, ashamed at being a homeless estate agent, has been camping at Bay Tree Court. When Phoebe (Ella Smith) hears of his plight, she offers to let him stay with her, a proposition that Jonty misreads as a sign of growing affection. Whereas Phoebe sees an opportunity for a free live-in housekeeper, Jonty thinks she has designs on his body. How far will he go to keep a roof over his head?

Mr Colubrine (Anthony Head) then drops a bombshell – the Bay Tree Court deal demanded a fifth of the flats be sold to keyworkers, something Matt had failed to realise. The gang find themselves up against the clock with just one week to find the necessary new buyers for Bay Tree Court or risk losing Colubrine’s valuable contract and wrecking their relationship with the influential developer, Lord Derek (Adrian McLoughlin). Everyone is now focused on finding nurses and firefighters to buy these flats. All except Danny, who refuses to help Matt.

Danny is having a difficult time of his own as he tries to persuade Terry (Ian Puleston-Davies), a recently divorced policeman, to sell his marital home and split the profit with his ex-wife. Danny sees an opportunity not only to help him move on, but also to reconnect with his troubled teenage son, Roger (Benjamin Smith). Reluctant to give in to his wife’s wish to sell the family home, Terry resents Danny’s interference. Elsewhere, an exasperated Danny struggles to keep up with Harry (Bruce MacKinnon), a former computer geek who has lost his sense of direction in life. His everchanging creative ambitions are at odds with his straight-laced personality and the properties that Danny shows him.

Time is rapidly running out and with the team having failed to sell any flats to keyworkers, panic sets in. The tension between Danny and Matt mounts, culminating in a clash between the pair with dire consequences. Matt’s plan to have Danny sacked backfires when an angry Mr Colubrine lays all their jobs on the line. Unless they make the keyworker sales immediately Mr Colubrine will sack them all. Forced to get on board with the Bay Tree Court crisis, Danny leads the team in a fresh approach to selling the flats – an unusually honest and upfront approach which sees the team succeed at the eleventh hour.

Saved by Danny’s last minute intervention, Matt is rewarded by Mr Colubrine at the Colubrine’s Big Night Out. But it is a hollow victory for Matt as he realises that things are hotting up between Mel and Danny.

Sold
Thursday 15 November 2007 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

Kris Marshall and Bryan Dick lead the cast in Sold, a new six part comedy drama for ITV set in the dog-eat-dog world of estate agents.

The series is set in the world of Colubrine’s Estate Agents, where the unscrupulous staff are masters of high-pressure selling and dirty tricks. But there’s one notable exception at Colubrine’s: our hero Danny (Bryan Dick – Bleak House, Marple, The Virgin Queen).

Danny is a rare breed: an estate agent with a heart. He understands that while money can’t buy you happiness, your dream home really can.

A master of intuition, Danny is able to see the hopes and fears of the buyers and sellers that he meets. Once he’s understood their dreams, he does everything in his power to make sure they come true. But Danny has to work alongside a team of snakes and manipulators – notably amoral money-mad Matt (Kris Marshall: Catwalk Dogs, Murder City, My Family) and bitch-from-hell Mel (Christina Cole: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Casino Royale, Jane Eyre). Anthony Head (Persuasion, Little Britain, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is their ruthless leader Mr Colubrine, who rules the gang with an iron rod via a web link from his tax haven.

The staff of Colubrine’s also includes Ella Smith (Cape Wrath) as bubbly man-eater Phoebe and stand-up comic Dan Johnston as debt-ridden Jonty.

Producer Philip Trethowan says: “The world of estate agents opens up a limitless supply of stories. Moving house is often prompted by very dramatic changes in people’s circumstances – marriage or divorce, having a baby or children leaving home, to name but a few. It gives us a chance to explore these huge crossroads in people’s lives and at such moments it is estate agents who literally hold the key to your future happiness.

“Britain is a nation obsessed by property. People are transfixed by every aspect of it from new curtains to a new mortgage. Obviously this obsession has been capitalised upon in a host of factual entertainment shows. We felt it was the right time for a drama which delivers some unlikely heroes.”

And Phil explains the name behind the brand: “Steve Coombes, our writer, came up with the name Colubrine’s. It derives from a Latin word and means ‘of or resembling a snake’. I think we all know why he chose it. But at the end of the day this is a comedy drama, not a documentary. Of course there is a stereotype of estate agents as the masters of dirty tricks and underhand behavior that we play up to, but we’re as much making fun of that stereotype as we are endorsing it.”

Writer Steve Coombes says: “There’s a difference between buying a house and buying a home. Most estate agents flog houses; most punters are looking to buy a home. The tension between the two is the stuff of drama. In Danny, our estate agent with a heart, we wanted a character who grasps the aspirations and dreams that lie behind a buyer’s impulse to choose one property over another. Danny has a unique insight into the secret hopes that drive people to move home. He cares so much since he has never really had a home himself. At the other end of the scale Matt (Kris Marshall) is the man who puts ass into aspirational.”

Steve continues: “Ultimately it’s all about relationships and life-changing decisions. Buy one property and your future life could look like this, but buy another and something entirely different could happen to you. Hence the dream sequences we devised as a way of dramatising the truth. Most of us are unrealistic about what we want but Danny is able to feel these self-deceptions and guide his client towards the property they should want.”

As the new flagship store opens, Danny is given just a few weeks to prove himself at Colubrine’s – or find a new job. His less scrupulous colleagues relish Danny’s initial failure as he enrages a househunting couple by exposing the husband’s infidelity, and upsets a struggling single mother already at her wits’ end. The rest of the gang will stop at nothing to make a sale as they compete against each other for commission.

It’s opening day of the flagship branch of the fastest growing estate agency in the South East but the Colubrine’s gang arrive at their new office to find themselves locked out. That’s because Danny (Bryan Dick), the only remaining member of staff from the agency that Colubrine’s have recently bought out, is busy showing Kate (Nina Sosanya) around her dream house.

There Danny glimpses Kate’s heart’s desire – to have a baby and a family home with her husband, Richard (Nick Rowe). Danny returns from his viewing to a less than warm welcome from his new boss, Matt (Kris Marshall). As he is introduced to his colleagues, Danny soon realises that Colubrine’s operate by a very different ethos to the one he’s used to – and he’s only got few weeks to prove himself, or find another job.

Keen to discover what properties for sale Danny already has on their books, Matt is dismayed at the prospect of a derelict house with zero selling power and insists Danny show him the house himself. While there, Matt delivers a lecture on selling the Colubrine’s way, and is horrified to see an attractive neighbouring property with a rival estate agent’s board outside. On a mission to poach this house for himself, Matt succeeds in undermining his competitor’s efforts. But both he and the office whipping boy, Jonty (Dan Johnston), severely underestimate the owner, Julian (Grant Masters), with violent consequences.

Back at the office, the rest of the gang are tasked with getting properties to sell on the books by any means, fair or preferably foul. Mel (Christina Cole), the femme fatale of the office, and Phoebe (Ella Smith) charm the potential vendors and buyers, stealing clients from rival agents – and each other. And Jonty prowls the streets of London, photographing random houses to display in the Colubrine shop window to make it appear that business is booming.

Meanwhile, Danny is persevering with a tricky case rejected out of hand by Mel. Single mother Paulette (Sally Hurst) is trying to sell her maisonette to pay for her disabled son Wayne (James Buckley) to go to a special care school, although Danny is unconvinced this is the best option for either of them.

In trying to help, Danny only manages to aggravate the situation, and he’s equally unsuccessful with his other clients when, during a second viewing, he exposes Richard’s affair to an unsuspecting Kate. Rather than advising her to buy the house with her husband, Danny warns her against starting a family with him.

Dejected, Danny faces further humiliation at the weekly Colubrine’s Big Night Out, where Mr Colubrine (Anthony Head), via weblink, rewards the agents who’ve clinched the most deals and shames the ‘geek of the week’ before the baying mob of estate agents.

As Danny reconsiders his future at Colubrine’s, things take a turn for the better and, from being the worst agent in the company, he is soon their top salesman. Both Kate and Richard – this time with his mistress – return, each now looking to buy separately. Danny succeeds in finding homes for them both, and he even manages to help Paulette, without resorting to sending Wayne into care.

But Danny’s successes only annoy Matt even more, cementing the rivalry between the two agents. A hostility which is intensified when it becomes clear that Mel – Matt’s dream woman – is drawn to Danny, who in turn vows to steal Matt’s job.

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