Young Belper actor appeals for funding for caravan comedy

Matt as 'Ben' and Lydia Hourihan as 'Barbara' in their sitcom, 'Sunset Dreams'
Matt as 'Ben' and Lydia Hourihan as 'Barbara' in their sitcom, 'Sunset Dreams'

A young actor from Belper is asking people to fund a sitcom he has written and starred in - which he hopes will one day appear on television.

Matt Penman, 27, wrote and starred in ‘Sunset Dreams’, a sitcom set in the twilight years of a caravan park in a forgotten seaside resort in deepest England.

Belper actor Matt Penman

Belper actor Matt Penman

The team, which ha already successfully screened a 20-minute taster, needs £7,500 to be pledged to the project via ‘crowdfunding’ website Kickstarter by mid-December for the project to get the go ahead.

Matt’s father, Ian Penman, said: “Matt was always interested in drama and went to Ripley Academy for a number of years.

“The company he worked for in Belper wanted to fund his studies but he wanted to pursue his dream of being a writer and an actor.

“When he finished his drama and creative writing course at Kingston University in 2011 he appeared in various productions and since then has been working on this project for in excess of 18 months.”

“We’re very proud of what he is doing by pursuing his dream - as they say if you don’t have a go then you’ll never know will you?”

“Everyone who knows him knows he is doing everything he can to attract the necessary funding through Facebook and other things and we’re hoping that a piece in the Belper News might attract a little bit more.”

After the taster was screened in London earlier this year, Matt and two of his colleagues wrote a pilot with a view to developing it into a six-part series which they hope will be eventually screened on television.

After just two days of the appeal, the project had already been pledged more than £1,500 but none of the money will go to them unless the full amount of £7,500 is reached by December 15.

Inspired by character comedies like Nuts In May, The Royle Family, This Is Spinal Tap and Human Remains, the makers of Sunset Dreams see it as part of a long tradition of realist comedy focusing on the idiosyncrasies of British life.

The comedy focuses on Ben and Barbara, played by Matt and his co-star Lydia Hourihan, two ‘child-like’ heads of entertainment at the caravan park who are terrified of the outside world and obsessed with its small-town drama.

However, in order to improve it the team want to expand the list of characters for the full pilot as well as to film in more interesting locations and to include big ‘set-piece’ scenarios.

Those interested in funding the project should visit the Kickstarter website and search for ‘Sunset Dreams’ - before December 15.