A second dose of seductive, university-set psychological thriller Clique set in Edinburgh will air on Saturday.
The sinister series was filmed at locations throughout the Capital for three months over the summer and now six new episodes will screen on BBC Three starting tomorrow.
The series, created by Skins writer and executive producer Jess Brittain, follows the original six episodes which aired in 2017 but this time the focus has switched from the dark dynamics of a glamorous clique of female students to a radically different, and more challenging subject.
Faced with trying to put the disturbing events of the previous series behind her, Clique’s protagonist Holly, played by Synnøve Karlsen, becomes fascinated and repelled by a group of charismatic men.
Led by good-looking Jack, played by Leo Suter who starred in Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education, the boys’ clique is a group of freewheeling renegades.
But their determination to reject the “norm” and reel against the rest of the student body, pulling pranks on those they condemn as ‘snowflakes’, raises a difficult perspective. The reception of which, writer Jess Brittain is apprehensive about.
She said: “I am absolutely terrified about how it will be received but I don’t know how to write the on-message version of this show,” she said.
“What people struggle sometimes to understand is that writers aren’t giving you their complete informed opinion of how you should think – I wanted to depict something uncomfortable.
“I think if you don’t hang these things out to be talked about because they’re going to make people angry or outraged or feel more strongly, then what’s the point?”
But despite her fears, Jess is happy to be back on BBC Three telling a new story.
She added: “It’s great to have the opportunity to return to the world of Clique to tell another story. I love writing for new and exciting young actors and can’t think of a better place than BBC Three to do that.”
Reviewers hailed the first series as a success, breaking the mould of teen drama with enough compelling forboding eeriness to earn it the thriller tagline, with the next six-parter to follow on the same theme.
It kicks off with Holly shirking the omnipresent interest in her past. She is struggling to connect, and when Jack and his colourful clique smash into her world, Holly can’t help but be intrigued.
What starts as a flirtation with their libertarian values quickly descends into something darker when a campus-wide scandal hits both her friends at home and the boys she is so drawn to. Once again, it falls upon Holly to seek out the truth, whatever the cost.
“Holly is very unsympathetic at times, but I’m not particularly interested in depicting a perfect heroine,” admitted Jess.
“If this was a show about her dutifully correcting all the injustices against women on campus it would be hard to follow and not very realistic. Instead she’s good and bad and fallible and wrong and, most of all, under-informed. That was very important to me because you can never be completely informed and that’s particularly true in university where your opinions about things change all the time.”
Both set and filmed in Edinburgh there was a host of spots used – The Meadows, Dynamic Earth, Potterow and Parliament Square with keen set-spotters expected to spy more recognisable Capital locations in the new series.
Crews were spotted rolling the cameras in Portobello, Newhaven as well a cameo by Edinburgh City Chambers which was used as a make-shift campus.
Head of Film Edinburgh, part of Marketing Edinburgh Ltd, Rosie Ellison, said: “A TV series, showcasing Edinburgh as a university city to an audience of 16 to 24-year-olds on BBC Three is an incredible opportunity for us so we were delighted when Balloon and the BBC contacted us with a second series.
“Clique was filmed in Edinburgh over three months this summer, with an additional three months in the city ahead of filming to prepare, so we are looking forward to location-spotting when the series goes out.”
Synnove Karlsen is joined by Sophia Brown (Louise) and Rachel Hurd-Wood (Rachel) for the gripping follow-up.
The cast has been buffeted with an ensemble of upcoming Scottish and English talent including Outlander star Stuart Campbell as Fraser, Barney Harris as Barney who starred in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and The Hollow Crown, Imogen King as Rayna, Izuka Hoyle as Dani (Mary, Queen of Scots) and newcomers and recent graduates Jyuddah Jaymes and Nicholas Nunn.
Also new to the series are Richard Gadd, who won the main comedy award at the Fringe two years ago and Madeleine Worrall from The Legend of Tarzan and Paddington.
Commissioning Executive, BBC Drama Commissioning, Gaynor Holmes, said: “We’re delighted to see Clique returning to Edinburgh with our extraordinarily talented cast, joined this year by some very exciting Scottish newcomers. We can’t wait to see them bring Jess’s magnificently bold and thrilling scripts to life.”
Controller, BBC Three, Damian Kavanagh, said the channel were pleased that the enticing world of Clique was returning and continuing the tradition of working with and growing new acting and writing talent.
“Jess has delivered an intensely charged thriller, with deeply seductive characters. We have a fabulous cast and everyone involved can’t wait to share the results,” added Tom Sherry, BBC Studios Executive Producer.
And with the latest Netflix Blockbuster Outlaw King adding more famous city locations to Edinburgh’s film backdrop belt, residents an jump on the bandwagon and get involved.
Film Edinburgh, who work to attract film and TV productions to set up in Edinburgh, East Lothian and the Scottish Border, are currently trying to recruit more locations to their database.
Rosie added: “We’re constantly looking to grow our register of potential filming locations, so if anyone in Edinburgh is interested in seeing their home or business on television – and earning a little money along the way – people can find out how at www.filmedinburgh.org/locations/register.”