Lotte Beasley Mestriner - Executive Producer

Category: Press Pack Article

Tell us a little bit about Big Mood and what audiences can expect?

Big Mood is the story of two best friends who’ve reached that point in life where you turn thirty and your life goes into crisis; one of the friends goes into crisis because she is being forced to give up the bar, she has run for years which she inherited from her father, the other because she has bipolar and has decided to come off lithium. The story asks – can their friendship survive them both being in crisis at the same time.

It’s a fun and wild ride!

What do you hope the response will be?

I hope people will be entertained by it – that’s what we set out to do! I hope people find it both funny and moving.

How did you become involved in Big Mood and what drew you to the project?

I was brought in by Laurence Bowen and Chris Carey from Dancing Ledge Productions to Executive Produce the series; they had been developing the project for years with Camilla, having worked with her on one of their previous shows. They’re both seasoned producers and known for being great to work with, so I knew I would be well supported during the project.

I was absolutely drawn to the story – I loved working on the scripts with Camilla, she is a brilliant writer and creator. It’s not often you get a comedy that has such a distinct feel to it – Eddie and Maggie are having fun adventures, but underneath there is a seriousness about what they’re both going through, with a slightly wild tone – it felt unique.

I was also very excited to work with Rebecca Asher, she is so talented, hard-working and respectful of other people and their skills - she’s a complete joy to work with.

It also goes without saying that knowing that Nicola and Lydia were attached to star was an immediate draw – they are two absolutely first-class performers – and it turns out they’re also wonderful to work with – so consistently lovely and positive every day, even under the pressures of production.

It was a very supportive set. There was a real sense of people believing in the show. I think a lot of people felt personally connected to the material in different ways. 

The themes of the show aren’t ones you’d usually associate with comedy – how did you navigate this and why do you think it works so well?

The show is about a friendship under pressure - we sought to ensure that the two women at the heart of the story are strong and complex so that our audience care about the survival of their relationship.

We also tried to find a balance between ensuring the show is funny and entertaining, whilst also treating Maggie’s experience of her bipolar with sensitivity. We spoke with consultants and were given great advice by bipolar UK and Professor Guy Goodwin, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, who reviewed our scripts before production. They were all very helpful.

What are your highlights or a favourite moment from creating the show?

I have a lot of great memories of making the show. Filming the rat hotel was quite an experience, eesh. But one of my highlights was a really fun day when the studio set for the Wet Mouth bathroom needed the walls to be graffitied – a lot of the crew and cast came onto the set and scrawled all over the walls, it really captured the camaraderie of the team.

What was the most challenging aspect of bringing this show to life?... Was there any part of this production that you hadn’t encountered before? (Working with rats?!)

Rat hotels, festivals, hallucinations – working with a writer who has such a wild imagination as Camilla and with a director with such great vision as Rebecca made it a fun show to make. Each day was different – everyone worked so hard to bring the show to life.

We were also aware that we were working with subjects which people may find challenging, and we wanted everyone in the production to feel supported. So we worked with a mental health first aider who was available on set or by phone for the team to speak to confidentially. I actually feel having a mental health first aider on set should be standard for all productions as it’s such a high-pressure environment; as an EP it gave me reassurance that the team had help available to them if they needed it for any reason.

Do you have a favourite scene?

I have so many favourite scenes.

I love the moment when Maggie wakes up surrounded by two of her best friends, Anya and Ryan, as they realise they need to protect her from herself that night; in the previous episode the friends have completely failed to understand the severity of Maggie’s illness – but this tender moment of them sleeping so close to her shows that they now understand. The scene nearly didn’t get shot due to scheduling constraints, we all had to work really hard to get it included and the show is all the better for it. 

I always loved the arrival of Brian at the dinner party, he’s a funny character, but it’s also a scene where we realise Maggie has completely lost her sense of safety – Camilla’s writing cleverly captures comedy and drama in the same moment.

I love any emotional scene with Nicola – she is so wildly impressive; we were having to shoot upbeat comedy scenes next to dark emotional scenes in quick succession and Nicola would hit both with complete ease – making us tear-up one moment, and crack-up the next.

There’s also a scene in Episode 4 where Maggie and Eddie put their heads together and talk – it’s so tender and sweet, we completely feel how close they are as friends.

I have so many!