BBC Director of Comedy Jon Petrie has unveiled 10 new and returning shows.
Speaking at the BBC’s comedy festival in Cardiff, Petrie confirmed new series Ludwig starring David Mitchell and written by Mark Brotherhood; Spent written by and starring Michelle de Swarte; Mammoth from writer and performer Mike Bubbins; Dinosaur created by Matilda Curtis and Ashley Storrie; and Things You Should Have Done created and written by Lucia Keskin.
Bad Education, Avoidance, Peacock, Mandy and Ellie & Natasia are all returning.
Jon Petrie said: “After the success of our inaugural Comedy Festival in Newcastle Upon Tyne which allowed us to shine a light on the comedy talent in the North East, we are excited to be in Cardiff, our City of Comedy for 2023 to support comedy in Wales.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that British Comedy is hugely important to television and the national cultural landscape. It is a public service and needed now more than ever. Not only do audiences consume comedy in huge numbers – there were over 500 million requests on BBC iPlayer last year – but it has also acted as a vital talent pipeline to some of the UK’s most successful creatives.
“The BBC remains the biggest single investor in original comedy content in the UK. We’re so proud of the depth and range of our offerings which champion British creativity and I’m delighted to announce five brand new shows and five much-loved returning series.”
Speaking about the festival coming to Cardiff, Nick Andrews, Head of Commissioning for BBC Wales says: “Wales has funny bones – and with the city of comedy right here in our capital city, we’re ready to prove it. We’re so proud to be this year’s hosts especially as the Welsh comedy scene is thriving and is quite possibly in the best health it’s ever been.
“We have a wealth of talented comedy writers; from established names to new writing talent looking for their first credit and there are numerous Welsh stand-up comedy performers breaking through here and across the UK. There’s also terrific on-screen performing talent and, particularly exciting is the growing number of small Welsh independent production companies now specialising in comedy production. It’s all happening and we’re delighted to be at the heart of it.”
When John ‘Ludwig’ Taylor’s (David Mitchell) identical twin, DCI James Taylor, disappears off the face of the earth, John takes over his brother’s identity in a quest to discover his whereabouts. John has never married; never had a family and never really ventured further than his own front door. Without a computer, mobile phone or even a television, he lives in quiet solitude, designing puzzles for a living, under the nom-de-plume of ‘Ludwig’. This genre bending detective series follows full-time luddite, John ‘Ludwig’ Taylor, as he assumes the identity of his missing twin brother in a bid to track him down and bring him home. However, filling the shoes of your identical twin is one thing – when your twin also happens to be a successful DCI leading Cambridge’s busy inner-city major crimes team the stakes are much higher. John may be a master of all things cryptic, but can he crack the biggest puzzle of his life?
Ludwig (6x 60) is a Big Talk Studios Production in association with That Mitchell and Webb Company for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy. The writer is Mark Brotherhood. The Executive Producers are Kenton Allen, Chris Sussman and Kathryn O’Connor, the Producer is Georgie Fallon. The BBC commissioning editor is Tanya Qureshi.
Michelle de Swarte stars as Mia, a former catwalk model who is on the run, mainly from herself. Long term it’s a story of personal renewal but for now, the stark reality is that her career is over, she’s flat broke and she’s homeless. This is a woman who despite her humble beginnings has become accustomed, possibly even addicted, to the finer things in life. Unfortunately, those lifestyle choices don’t carry much currency when you’re pushing 40 and permanently sofa surfing. She may have a high falutin’ attitude and a world class skincare regime but Mia’s now living on the breadline.
Michelle says: “To have my first commission as a writer for the BBC seems like some sort of fever dream. The shows I watched growing up are like landmarks in my memory, so to be able to share a space with those shows in someone else’s mind is more than I ever thought possible!”
Executive Producer Jack Bayles adds: “Michelle has a truly unique world view and has brilliantly captured the moment with Spent. This is a head on collision between the high life and real life. It’s a glorious mess and we can’t wait to share it.”
Spent (6 x 30) is a VAL-TV production for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy. It is written by Michelle De Swarte and the Executive Producers are Jack Bayles and Phil Clarke. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Tanya Qureshi.
Mammoth is a comedy about man of his time Tony Mammoth (Mike Bubbins), a PE teacher who is presumed to have been killed in an avalanche on a school trip in 1979. When his body is discovered decades later in the present day, Mammoth is miraculously brought back from the dead and has to try and rebuild his life as a PE teacher in modern day Cardiff.
Mike Bubbins said: “I am delighted that Mammoth is about to become a BBC series. I was a comedy fan well before I became a comedy writer and performer, and I still am, so I’m very excited to watch Tony Mammoth come to life. And not just after being miraculously frozen in time, following a freak skiing accident, in 1979. I want Mammoth to be the sort of comedy that families can sit down to enjoy together. Big laughs, from a big character. With quite a big moustache.
Paul Forde, Commissioning Editor for Comedy, BBC Wales, says: “We’re thrilled that a brand-new series of Mammoth is coming to our screens, set to entertain audiences across the UK. It’s a great premise for a show and we know that audiences will love watching Tony Mammoth struggling to come to terms with his predicament.”
Mammoth (3 x 30) is a BBC Studios Comedy production for BBC Wales and BBC iPlayer, created by and starring Mike Bubbins and co-written with Paul Doolan. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy and Nick Andrews, Head of Commissioning, BBC Wales. The Executive Producers are Josh Cole and Steven Canny, the Producer is Luke Mason. The BBC Commissioning Editors are Seb Barwell and Paul Forde.
Nina (Ashley Storrie), an autistic woman in her 30s, adores her life living with her sister and best friend Evie. Yet when Evie rushes into an engagement after only six weeks and makes Nina her maid of honour, Nina is floored. Forced to reconcile with her sister’s impulsive decision, Nina grapples with what this new challenge means, leading to a surprising journey of self-discovery.
Louise Thornton, Head of Commissioning for BBC Scotland, says: “We’re thrilled to be working with our network colleagues and Hulu to bring this original comedy script to life. BBC Scotland has been supporting Ashley on her broadcasting journey for a number of years now with a variety of projects and we’re delighted to see her now taking a leading role in both a performance and writing capacity alongside Matilda. This series is another example of BBC Scotland’s commitment to developing Scottish talent and bringing it to mainstream audiences both across the UK and internationally. It’s an exciting project and we can’t wait to see it hit the screens.”
Executive Producers Sarah Hammond and Daniel Walker for Two Brothers Pictures add: “We are so excited to be bringing this wonderful series to life with the BBC and Hulu. It is a joyful and hilarious comedy full of heart with a fresh perspective. Matilda and Ashley tell a heartfelt love story between two sisters that holds a mirror up to the inconsistencies of the neurotypical world. We can’t wait for Nina’s story to develop on screen.”
Dinosaur (6 x 30) is a Two Brothers Pictures (Fleabag, The Tourist) production for BBC Three, BBC Scotland and BBC iPlayer in partnership with Hulu and All3Media International. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy and Louise Thornton, Head of Commissioning for BBC Scotland. It is created by Matilda Curtis and Ashley Storrie, based on an original idea by Matilda. Matilda is working alongside neurodiverse writers including Ashley Storrie.The Executive Producers are Sarah Hammond, Daniel Walker, Harry Williams, Jack Williams. Catriona Renton is Co-Executive Producer. The Director is Niamh McKeown and the Producer is Brian Coffey. The BBC Commissioning Editors are Emma Lawson and Gavin Smith.
Things You Should Have Done
Things You Should Have Done is a hilarious, offbeat, dysfunctional family-sitcom from the unique comedy mind of Lucia Keskin. Chi (Lucia) is a self-confessed ‘stay-at-home-daughter’. She lives a simple life; she eats crisps, makes weird vlogs and watches sitcoms, and that’s all she’s done for 20 years to be fair. But when her parents, who she is so dependent on, unexpectedly die, Chi is suddenly forced to fend for herself. Chi will inherit the house on condition she completes a list of ‘Things You Should Have Done’ left by her parents (everything from ‘Pet a dog’ to ‘Get a job’). Meanwhile Chi’s highly strung Auntie Karen (Selin Hizli) wants nothing to do with her dependent pest of a niece, but very much wants the house she feels is rightfully hers! In each episode, Chi tackles something from the list and is unleashed on the locals of Ramsgate, who bring something new to Chi’s understanding of life but leave wishing they’d never met her.
Lucia Keskin says: “I cannot believe it’s actually happening, very excited and just so grateful to fulfil a dream with such a great team of people. But above all it’s just nice to get out of the house.”
Producer Steve Monger adds: “Chi really has a one-of-a-kind comedy brain! I can’t wait to see her brand of offbeat Gen-Z humour meets traditional sitcom unleashed on the BBC. It’s been an absolute dream bringing this mad show to life with a super talented cast, crew and commissioning team.”
Things You Should Have Done (6×30) is a Roughcut Television production for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy. It is created and written by Lucia Keskin, the Executive Producers are Ash Atalla and Alex Smith, the Producer is Steve Monger and the Director is Jack Clough. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Tanya Qureshi.
Bad Education, one of BBC Three’s most successful shows with 1.1 million viewers for series four, returns for a fifth run. Stephen (Layton Williams) and Mitchell (Charlie Wernham) continue their unique approaches to teaching whilst headteacher and control freak Ms Hoburn (Vicki Pepperdine) forever looms large. Meanwhile, Mr Fraser (Mathew Horne) continues to hang around the school kitchen, and the new class K of glamorous gossip Usma (Asha Hassan), wannabe roadman Inchez (Anthony J Abraham), himbo Harrison (Bobby Johnson), clueless slacktivist Jinx (Laura Marcus), eccentric Warren (Ali Hadji-Heshmati) and energetic hustler, Blessing (Francesca Amewudah-Rivers), all return.
Bad Education (6×30) is a co-production between Tiger Aspect (part of Banijay UK) and Jackpot Productions for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy. The Director is Freddy Syborn, the Producer is Hussain Casey-Ahmed, and the Executive Producers are Jack Whitehall, Freddy Syborn, Sarah Fraser and Richard Ackerman. The writers include Anna Costello, Ava Pickett, Charlie Wernham, Nathan Bryon, Laura Smyth, Rhys Taylor, Layton Williams, Felix Hagan, Freddy Syborn, with additional material from Kyrah Gray and Fathiya Saleh. The Commissioning Editors for the BBC are Ben Caudell and Navi Lamba. Banijay Rights will distribute the series internationally
Romesh Ranganathan stars in Avoidance, a series about living your life avoiding conflict, avoiding making decisions and avoiding the mess that causes. If series one was about a break-up and rebuilding a broken home, series two is about falling in love, messy reconciliation and a baby.
Romesh Ranganathan and Benjamin Green say: “We are absolutely delighted to bring back the dysfunctional Nadar family and get our incredible cast back together. We feel we should warn fans of the show that unfortunately Romesh will be wearing a lot of Lycra in series two. Sorry.”
Avoidance (6 x 30) is a Ranga Bee production for BBC One and BBC iPlayer starring Romesh Ranganathan, Jessica Knappett, Mandeep Dhillon, Lisa McGrillis and Kieran Logendra. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy. It was created by Romesh Ranganathan and Benjamin Green and written by Romesh Ranganathan, Benjamin Green and Jessica Knappett. The Executive Producers are Michelle Farr-Scott, Romesh Ranganathan, Benjamin Green. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Tanya Qureshi.
Diane Morgan’s iconic character Mandy returns for a third six-part series and is once again written by, directed by and starring Morgan. Will she ever get to breed the Dobermans of her dreams?
Diane Morgan says: “Bigger hair! Longer cigarettes! Mintier pig! Expect all this and more in the third epic season of Mandy. Now in 3D (where available) – you’ll believe you’re actually inside Mandy’s small back bedroom! Get your free goggles in the Radio Times.”
Mandy (6×15) is a BBC Studios Comedy/Witchcraft Industries production for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy. The Producer is Kenny Tanner. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Seb Barwell.
After an award-winning three part pilot run last year, Peacock returns for a six part series starring Allan ‘Seapa’ Mustafa (People Just Do Nothing, The Curse) as the eponymous Andy Peacock – personal trainer and man out of time. Now the proud owner of a body-positive fitness business and in an actual adult relationship, Andy’s life is on the up. Only his ego can mess things up now…
Peacock is a Big Talk production for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy. It is written by Steve Stamp (People Just Do Nothing, The Curse) and Ben Murray and produced by Lara Singer. The Executive Producers for Big Talk are Kenton Allen, Saurabh Kakkar, Steve Stamp and Ben Murray. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Seb Barwell.
Ellie & Natasia
Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou return for a second series of their critically-acclaimed sketch show featuring characters such as the coffee spotters, the Brothers Pomodoro and a girl with a pixie haircut. The first series landed Natasia Demetriou with a nomination for Best Female Performance in a Comedy at this year’s BAFTAs, whilst the series itself was shortlisted for a Rose d’Or Award and won the award for Best Sketch Series at the Comedy.co.uk Awards 2023. It has also just been nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the 2023 Broadcast Digital Awards.
Ellie and Natasia say: “When the BBC came crawling on their knees begging us for a series 2 we didn’t have it in our hearts to say no. It is our pleasure to provide our stunning and excellent sketches and characters to help out the darling little BBC – it’s God’s work and someone has to do it.”
Mobashir Dar, Executive Producer, adds: “The BBC wanting more Ellie & Natasia is such fantastic news. All rise and hail the queens of comedy!”
Ellie & Natasia (6×15) is a NIT TV production, the joint venture between Harry Hill and CPL Productions (a Seven.One Studios company) for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. It was commissioned by Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy. The writers and creators are Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou, who also executive produce. Harry Hill, Danielle Lux and Mobashir Dar (c/o Vibrant Television) are Executive Producers. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Seb Barwell.
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