Raymond Thompson is the creator and executive producer of Atlantis High. Page 3

Raymond Thompson is the creator and executive producer of Atlantis High.

RT Well, I wasn’t as busy on this series as I normally am! (laughs). I think it was important for me as the creator of such a unique series to follow it through in all departments. It was great to be able to direct the first couple of episodes and to tell the actors how they should portray their characters. I didn’t want them to ham it up. They needed to act in a serious way so that their characters would have the right sense of vulnerability. In fact it was a very special moment for me the first morning of filming. I walked on to set and saw all of these colourful characters, the ones I had had in my head for so long and it was like meeting old friends. It was a great experience. The music was something that I believe to be an integral part of the series and I wanted it to reflect the diversity of genres the series incorporates.

Q Was the music especially written for the show? How long did it take?

RT That’s an interesting one because some of the songs have been 40 years in the making! There’s a song I wrote when I was a child about my dog; Shona and I wanted to capture that innocence in the programme. The simple 4-chord structure of the song suited the mmod of the show. About 70% of the music was written during a 3-month period and some of it was written when I was on holiday over Christmas. I’d pull a cracker, open a present and write a song whilst chewing on a turkey leg!

The inspiration for the music was really old style Hollywood as well as the Beach Boys music, “American Graffiti” and “Grease” soundtracks.

Q The music is recorded by real musicians using real instruments. Is this unusual practice for a television show?

RT Yes, it is quite unusual nowadays. Most music is ‘artificial’ at the moment but I feel that the audience deserves the best. I can certainly tell the difference between a real violin and a synthesised one! The soundtrack to Atlantis High was performed by some incredibly talented musicians. We actually had an eighty-piece orchestra and some of the musicians are from the New Zealand Symphony.

I wanted to get back to the kind of Hollywood era where a conductor would almost create the music as the film went on.

I’m very proud of the soundtrack and think that it adds something really special to the series.

Q Will there be an Atlantis High 2?

RT Yes, I have every hope that there will be. We will continue to make our programmes if the audience want more! The Tribe is now entering its fourth year and the loyalty of the fans is fantastic. I’m sure that Atlantis High will attract a similar cult following.

Q What is next for Cloud 9?

RT Well, as I have mentioned, the next production is Tribe 4. And we have many other ideas in development at the moment, some really very exciting ones.

Q The Atlantis High show reel was recently screened at the MIP television conference in Cannes, France. Was it successfully received?

RT Yes, the reaction was phenomenal and the buyers were blown away! I really have every confidence that this will prove to be a huge success around the world.



Raymond Thompson is the creator and executive producer of Atlantis High. Page 2

Raymond Thompson is the creator and executive producer of Atlantis High.

RT Again, they are all a parody of typical film and television characters and I’ve met them in my dreams many times over the years. There’s Josh Montana for example who is the Head Boy and the most popular guy at the school. He is vain and egotistical but has this vulnerability I’ve spoken of before. By night he becomes this amazing Superhero who tries to keep Sunset Cove as idyllic as it should be but even then he gets it wrong sometimes! There’s Commander Vermont who is like a Leslie Nielson character, his whole life revolves around the military and he is constantly on red alert and his wife who is like a walking tv commercial.

Q Did the characters develop along the way?

RT Certainly all the characters developed throughout the writing process. We have a tremendous and talented team of writers and I think they really enjoyed letting their imaginations run wild. Once filming began and the actors got a handle on their characters, each and every character developed along the way and took on more dimensions. Certain catch phrases and behaviours would appear more often than originally thought. In fact, the characters became even more eccentric and wacky as filming went on.

Q There are some actors in this series who play a variety of different roles. Why is that?

RT I think that we have a remarkable ensemble on Atlantis High and we treated this almost like the old Hollywood Studios would have. You tend to see the same actors popping up in a variety of different roles. This also adds to the overall weirdness of the show. For example, is Commander Vermont really a commander or is he more like the Godfather character the actor also plays? There’s a certain amount of mystery and intrigue involved and it will be fun for the audience to watch their favourite characters appear in different guises.

Q Is there a particular character whom you think will become an icon?

RT All of them! I believe that each and every character is so strong, so loveable that they will all become great favourites of the audience. Even the bad guys are loveable in this series!

Q Is there a reason for all the cross-dressing that goes on in Atlantis High?

RT (laughs) Because nothing and no one is quite as it seems! I think that viewers will be mystified and wonder who is really a man, who is really a woman, who is actually an alien. There are all sorts of people dressing up as old people, young people, etc. Maybe they’re just comfortable in Sunset Cove to dress as they feel! One thing is for sure though, in Series 2 some viewers will be interested to find out whether a character they think is a woman was once a man.

Q Who is this series aimed at? Who will it appeal to?

RT Cloud 9 tend to make programmes that are aimed at the teenage audience but always attracts a much wider audience. We have fans of our other shows that are grannies, even great grannies! Atlantis High is something that I think will appeal to the whole family. Families in England, Europe, Japan, indeed all over the world will find the charm in a character such as Mr. Dorsey or appreciate the humour of the series.



Raymond Thompson is the creator and executive producer Page 1

Raymond Thompson is the creator and executive producer of Atlantis High.
Ray, when did you have the idea for Atlantis High?RT Well, the concept has been evolving over a period of years actually. I think that so much television is karate chop, almost instant satisfaction programming at the moment and I wanted to create a quality “spoof” series that reflected all genres of film and television. From “Naked Gun” to “Austin Powers”, “Happy Days” to the typical soap operas of today.Q Why is the series called “Atlantis High”?

RT Primarily because of the zany, wacky type of programme this is and because the series is set around a high school. The school itself is built on top of the original lost city of Atlantis and that is part of the reason why everything there is so very strange.

Q Can you sum up in a short paragraph what Atlantis High is about?

RT The series is about television. The influence that TV has had on generations of impressionable young minds. I have very fond memories of film and television in the 50s and 60s, where everything was innocent, where the characters were so romantic. Cary Grant is one of my favourite actors. He always played these romantic characters but had a real vulnerability about him and I wanted that reflected in the characters on Atlantis High.

I also love the “Happy Days” series and the fact that the Fonz was a rebel but was also somewhat naïve. Again, “Austin Powers” has this amazing, egotistical personality but is actually a real innocent.

There are certain over the top thematics and cliffhangers which run through soap operas and Atlantis High has all this and much more. Instead of an end of series cliffhanger, every scene in Atlantis High has a cliffhanger!

So, in short, the series brings together all of these different genres and creates something that I believe is very funny and certainly very unique, all set around a small town and high school.

Q Where is Atlantis High? Where is Sunset Cove?

RT I think we always knew in the back of our minds that Sunset Cove had to be based on a typical Californian town, surrounded by stunning beaches where the beautiful people hang out and where everyone knows each other. This idyllic place that most teenagers dream of growing up in.