The Cast Of 'The Specials' Talk Production, Oprah, And Winning A Webby
We caught up with the cast of the award-winning coming-of-age docusoap about a group of friends with learning disabilities.
The stars of 'The Specials' - Sam, Hilly, Lucy, Lewis and Megan - told us some of their best and worst moments from behind the scenes...
How did the show first come about and why did you want to make it?
Lewis: Good question. We made a pilot for Channel 4 but they decided not to do it. That's the polite way to put it, no rude words! So we decided to make it anyway for the web.
Sam: We wanted to show what life is really like for people with Down's Syndrome and other learning disabilities.
Megan: Our life is just like everybody else’s. I go on dates, I work, I sing.
Lucy: I thought it would be brilliant.
It looks like you all have a lot of fun, but what have been your highlights from both series?
Hilly: I love the karaoke scene in (Episode 1, Season 1) when Lucy and Nick sing Grease Lightning to a pub with loads of people in it. They were really loud.
Megan: I think my favourite bit is the holiday in Malta (Episode 6, Season 1). I like the bit where we argued on the beach.
Sam: I like the Lady Boys of Bangkok scene (Episode 3, Season 1). I was a bit confused but now I know they are real boys, not real girls!
Hilly: I loved my engagement party in Season 2 (Episode 7). The cake was amazing, lots of people came, and me and Paul made a speech.
Megan: At the beginning of Season 2 things are tricky between me and Sam. We had feelings for each other but had already split up once. It gets a lot more complicated!
Lewis: I loved it when I was chasing the chicken at my mum's farm (Episode 2, Season 2). What a muppet!
Lucy: I loved it when we went to LaserZone and I covered my face in war paint and wore an army uniform (Episode 3, Season 2).
Oprah Winfrey and the Game of Thrones Executive Producer Carolyn Strauss are now also exec producers on the show – have you met them? What’s it like knowing that they support you?
Sam: We haven't met them, but we spoke to Carolyn on the phone and they sent us emails with feedback. Carolyn and our other exec producer D.B. Weiss were busy making “Game of Thrones” at the same time!
Megan: We like their support. We are so grateful they helped us make Season 2.
What’s been your biggest achievement as a team so far?
Hilly: We won a Webby Award for best reality show. We went to New York to get it. The shopping was amazing! We went on the red carpet and everyone took our photo. We were like film stars.
What’s been the biggest challenge of appearing in The Specials?
Lewis: Nothing. I love being filmed.
Megan: All the emotional bits - but it's good to show. It's part of life, the ups and downs. I like having a camera following me around. It's quite easy to ignore that they are there and it feels like I'm just talking to people.
Hilly: The ice bucket challenge. It was freezing cold - I tried to run away.
Lewis: I'm good at putting the voiceover booth up. We build it in Sam's room.
Megan: I found voiceover easy and fun.
Lucy: I was good at putting on radio mics and turning them on.
Do we need more representation of disabilities on TV?
Lewis: yeah, it helps people understand what it means to have a learning disability.
Megan: It is good for people to watch a fun show that is not just about disability. We are entertaining!
Lucy: Yes, because everyone has got an ability, not just a disability.
Why would you recommend people should watch the show?
Hilly: Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sad. You'll like it. It's much better than EastEnders!
Lucy: It's brilliant.
To watch 'The Specials' and find out more about the show, click here.