Some of the situations our family faced in the Alps were almost too ridiculous, despite being real and this is often a problem with adapting material from true life. As highlighted in Writing Scripts for Television, Radio, and Film (by Edgar E Willis and Camille D’Arienzo), there is a fine line between the boring, routine, predictability of life and the bizarre, unpredictability of dramatic events in life. My task was therefore not to transcribe our lives in France, as this could make for a dull and monotonous script, but to take the reality of the events and make sure the drama felt true, even if is was not. In essence, the truth of the drama needed to be distilled to make it believable.
With this in mind, I needed to identify a strong motive for the Ben and Serena to change the direction of their lives and move to the Alps. A pure love of skiing and unfulfilling jobs weren’t enough. My lead characters needed demons, something to leave behind.
The format of the series is nothing new, so this is the comfort blanket that surrounds the concept. It’s about a family finding their feet in a new environment and the people that come and go in their lives. The situation of the family is different as they are on foreign soil and the people they come in contact are out of the ordinary from most, but essentially their story is much like All creatures great and small but without the animals. The trials and misadventures are those of the Jones family in France in the noughties instead of the staff of a country veterinary office in 1940’s Yorkshire.