Blimey, what have I started? I've just got fully back on line with a new laptop so I seem to have missed quite a lot. I think we need another thread for plot discussions (so as to avoid spoiling the flow of the story) and maybe another for dramatis personae and backstory details (that bit might not work so well in the thread format, might be better done as collabertive documents under google docs).
Yes, let's shoot the characters.
My thought was a sort of Eastenders / Corrie / Archers / Emerdale hybrid called "Town and Country".
Out in my neck of the backwoods I live in a county town but work in the country, and that is not an uncommon thing. Many of the villages are too expensive for the people who work there to live in, so as I drive to work I see a stream of expensive cars leaving in the morning for the town, railway station, and on the local public school run, while the cheap motors and work vehicles head out of town to put in a day's work at mills, farms, garages, woods, building sites, well heeled gardens, and other general "real work". The local thatcher lives round the corner from me in the middle of the town, where there hasn't been a thatched roof since the last great fire in 1600 and odd.
The two worlds, only half an hour apart, are connected by the interactions of the people and by the odd fact that some of the current town dwellers grew up in the villages and know more about the country locale and people than the current crop of middle class village dwellers. That said, the villages still have the odd "Eddie Grundy" and the town has it's desirable areas with middle class inhabitants.
So, think 2 pubs-
the Red Lion in the Village - Sand or Iron stone, dates back to 1780, freehouse, 2 bars, low end gastro pub food. Prides itself on a selction of real ales and decent wines. The owner has pretentions beyond his patrons.
The Fuzzy Duck in the town - Red Brick, on a corner, dates back to 1900, tied house, one bar, crisps, nuts, and burger and chips if you are unlucky. Stella, Strongbow, John smiths, and one real ale which is akin to a game of intestinal Russian Roulette. Due to the smoking ban, the back yard "beer garden" resembles a tented refugee camp, and the patrons have expectations beyond the manager's limited capabilities.
Did that pitch it to anyone?
The village shop is run by a sassy Indian woman, lapsed Hindu, who calls everyone "Darling" in a 'luvy' way and has a very cosmopolitan view of the world, while the town's local corner shop is run by a middle aged Englishman who grew up in the shop, is welded to the small town and rarely leaves the shop except to go to the cash and carry (had to put those 2 in because they are based on real people). Both shops have a strange ability to seem to stock anything in the known universe, except for plutonium, which they have to order in specially on request.