The second series may not even have an official release date yet, but producer Leo Pearlman has hinted a THIRD season of popular Netflix series ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ may already be in the offing.
Pearlman, a massive Lads fan and award-winning producer, was back on home soil last night and took part in Sunderland University’s ‘public lecture series’ at the Sir Tom Cowie Theatre following a flying visit from his home in Los Angeles.
With BBC’s Jeff Brown presenting, Pearlman discussed the success of the series, his hopes for the future of the series and his dealings with former chairman Ellis Short:
I went over to his (Ellis Short’s) home in America to film an interview with him for about four hours. He’d never spoken about his tenure at the club and here he was discussing from the day Niall Quinn contacted him through to current day. We spoke for about four hours.
Talking about content that didn’t make the second season, he continued:
He (Short) was very honest. As a man, I really liked him.
The first time I met him to discuss doing the show. I was given thirty minutes only - he’s a busy man - and he asked me what I thought his biggest mistake at the club was. I gave him my answer and he just came straight back and said ‘well, that’s not even in the top five Leo!’ The whole conversation about the club was driven by him and he just wanted to talk about Sunderland
However, the Fulwell73 team decided not to use the interview because:
It quickly became evident that Ellis Short was absent from the story. He owned the club, but he wasn’t a major character in the series. Although the interview was a big deal as he hasn’t spoken at length about his time at the club like that before, we knew Sunderland Til I Die’s story was of the fans, the people and the city pretty quickly.
Pearlman also went on to discuss his feelings on much-maligned former CEO Martin Bain, who was one of the ‘stars’ of the Netflix show:
He cared. He really cared. Maybe it was part of his own ego and he didn’t want to be part of a sinking ship, but he could have walked if that was the case. We portrayed him as honestly as we could. I think he got a bit of a rough ride from the series, but we still speak every few months - he’s not involved in football at the moment, though.
When asked how Bain and Short differed to new owners Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven, he commented that their takeover was “the saving of the show”, noting that it allowed that “tiny glimmer of hope that you needed” for the series finale.
They are the complete opposite of the previous regime, as everyone here is well aware regarding the openness and transparency. It doesn’t just translate publicly though, it extends to what we are doing both this season and last season.
Series one had very little to do with the owners of the club. It was about the fans, a little bit on the players but mainly focused around the city. Series two is very much about Stewart, Charlie and the team who are running the club, because they’ve been so open, honest and transparent with us and the public. It’s been a very good relationship
Following his comments, the audience were treated to an explosive five-minute preview to the second series. The entertaining clip showed director Charlie Methven pointing to a list of problem’s with Sunderland’s finances before promptly declaring “on an operational basis, this business is losing far too much money. This business model is absolutely f***ed,” before reverting to a shot of him celebrating a goal, and hilariously screaming “f**king come on!” directly down the camera.
Manager Jack Ross featured heavily in the preview, prompting Jeff Brown to enquire if the rumours were true that the Scottish boss isn’t too fond of the camera’s around the club:
David Moyes wasn’t happy about it when he was told just before he left. Simon Grayson wasn’t happy about it. Chris Coleman was the most open to it, but that changed relatively quickly once the team started playing so badly on the pitch.
Jack Ross is a very disciplined, organised man. He’s very meticulous and I think that anything that could possibly hinder that, concerns him. Ultimately, all Jack wants is success on the pitch and I respect that.
Following the clip, Pearlman said he expects the second installment of Sunderland Til I Die to be released “around February” but that “Netflix aren’t always that open and sometimes just put it out”.
Pearlman went on to discuss how excited he was for fans to see footage of our Wembley weekend, stating the footage said, “something about the city and the fans. It was incredible and the people are at the very heart of the show” and that it was his favourite part of filming series two. He also confirmed there’ll be six episodes of series two, as opposed to the eight episodes from season one.
When quizzed by Brown about the possible third season, Leo indicated he wouldn’t have thought so had we been promoted last season rather than losing the play-off final, and would have rejected an offer to do it had we done so.
He did confirm though that discussions were ongoing about series three and that if any “big things like a takeover happen, we’ll be there to catch it all”.