Whatever It Takes

Sunday, 26 July 2009, 9:00PM – 10:30PM

Daisy Cockram (Amy Beth Hayes), a young police officer, wins a radio contest to attend a West End film premier and the VIP party afterwards. A famous premiership footballer picks her up and they are later caught in a sexual act in the back of his Range Rover. Her career in the police force is shattered, as is her complex relationship with her high flying father – a deputy Chief Constable.

But it seems Daisy has a saviour in the shape of J.J. Merrick (Shane Richie) – a ruthless, Svengali, publicity agent. He catapults her into the world of glamour modelling. For a while she rides high on her bubble of instant fame and becomes a millionaire with a lifestyle to match and her own entourage of hangers on. It also seems that she has found love, with a young soap star who J.J. also represents.

But fame without talent is hard to sustain – inevitably the lads’ magazines and ‘red tops’ turn the search light of their attention to the next instant celebrity. Betrayed by J.J., rejected by her family, abandoned by her boy friend (who had only been using their relationship as a publicity stunt), Daisy goes to desperate lengths to revive her floundering career and get herself back on the front page.

In J.J.’s words: “the way you earn fame is by hanging onto it – whatever it takes…”

Shane Richie plays ruthless publicity agent J.J Merrick: “J.J is a bit of heartless bastard and I’m not sure how people are going to take to him if I’m honest! He is very unlike other characters I have played in the past…J.J is just devoid of any emotion!

“I’m not sure that it is an attractive trait to have, but once I got a bit more inside his mind, I realised that there was something very likeable about J.J; he is very straight, honest, and he doesn’t bullshit anyone. Paula has written a fantastic script and occasionally you see chinks in J.J’s armour, but he is pretty quick at shutting his emotional doors down.

“I have always said forget drugs and alcohol, fame is the worst and most addictive drug of them all – definitely in the society we live in today.

“I have noticed a change in the last five years with the whole celebrity culture. It’s almost out of control and I think Paula has done a great job in capturing that; she has almost cut that world in two and has shown you exactly what it is; how it really works and what to expect from it…”

Further casting includes: Gary Lucy, Dave Berry, Lucy Gaskell, Ron Cook, Annette Badland and cameos from Chantelle Houghton, Chico and Sara Cox.

WHATEVER IT TAKES is written and created by Paula Milne (The Virgin Queen, The Fragile Heart, The Politician’s Wife), produced by Nick Pitt (Robin Hood, Silent Witness, Monarch of the Glen), and directed by Andy Hay (Waking The Dead, Spooks, Trial and Retribution). Jamie Isaacs is executive producer.

Producer Nick Pitt, adds “To be glamorous and famous might be what we dream of, but “be careful what you wish for”, says JJ Merrick (Shane Richie), who is our guide to the culture of ‘unearned celebrity’. Shane brings his natural charm and humour to this dark and sexy story.”

WHATEVER IT TAKES is a Twenty Twenty production for ITV1.

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