Before shooting his new series “Wild Bill” for Britain’s ITV, Rob Lowe had no idea there was a Boston in England – which the U.S. city in Massachusetts is actually named after. “Wild Bill” is currently in production in the original Boston, in eastern England, and Lowe, appropriately enough, plays a fish out of water as Bill Hixon, an American cop who relocates to the U.K. after being appointed chief constable of the East Lincolnshire Police Force.
Lowe’s starry presence in a part of Britain unused to hosting Hollywood celebrities has stirred up interest in the local media. And even though Boston voted overwhelmingly for the U.K. to withdraw from the European Union, Lowe is confident that his new show can travel beyond British shores.
“I think we are in a moment in time where the answer is absolutely yes,” he said. “I think a few years ago people [would say,] ‘That’s so British.’ [But] that’s exactly the selling point.”
Plus, he joked, “if I have to go to another Golden Globes and lose to some goddam Brit I’ve never heard of…I’m gonna lose my mind!”
Lowe, who actually has two Golden Globes to his name for “The West Wing,” was in London on Wednesday to promote “Wild Bill” to buyers at ITV’s drama showcase. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is selling the series internationally. The show is produced by 42, Shiver and Anonymous Content, and will air locally on ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial broadcaster.
The series has a story-of-the-week procedural element, while at the same time following Bill’s culture shock in a less cosmopolitan part of England.
Lowe talked up his British cast-mates and the pool of actors available in the U.K., who he said were among the best in the world. Lowe said he thinks “Wild Bill” could follow in the footsteps of popular British crime shows such as “Luther.” “This could be that next show,” he said. “This could be a good successor to those shows.”
Lowe has worked in Britain before, of course – his big break 35 years ago, “Oxford Blues,” was filmed in the titular college town. For “Wild Bill,” he has relocated to the U.K. to make the series. “It’s been an emotional roller-coaster for me,” he said, “but the work is worth it because it speaks for itself.”