BBC Comedy and BBC Scotland have commissioned Happy Tramp North to produce Only Child, a brand-new sitcom starring Greg McHugh (The A Word, Fresh Meat) as only child and budding author Richard, who travels back to his family home in North East Scotland to look after his aging and wilful dad Ken, played by Gregor Fisher (Rab C Nesbitt, Love Actually, The Cockfields), as he slips into ever more eccentric and erratic behaviour.
Alan Partridge is also confirmed to return with a new documentary series, from Baby Cow, as he reintegrates into life in Britain after a year working in Saudi Arabia.
Philomena Cunk is back and setting out to explore the meaning of life, in a special for the Philomena Cunk shows, created by Charlie Brooker and produced by Broke and Bones.
Dreaming Whilst Black from Adjani Salmon has got a second outing. Picked up by the BBC, the series is produced by Big Deal Films and A24.
The Cleaner, from SHUK (Studio Hamburg UK) and Man Like Mobeen, from Tiger Aspect and Guz Khan’s Dice Roll Productions, are also returning.
Jon Petrie says: “The BBC is the home of comedy, commissioning more than anyone else in the UK. Nine out of 10 of the top rating scripted comedies last year were on the BBC and the enduring popularity of our comedy is reflected in its success on BBC iPlayer with over 600 million requests in 2023. We are the biggest backers of new talent and we nurture and develop brand new comedy voices whilst still attracting the most established household names and I’m really pleased to be welcoming back some fan favourites alongside our new sitcom Only Child.”
Written by Bryce Hart, Only Child (6×30) is a fictional comedy for BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Happy Tramp North (co-producers of the hit BBC show Guilt) which sees neighbourly squabbles, domestic and inter-generational differences all told through the lens of Richard and Ken’s father-son relationship.
Richard’s long overdue visit to recently-widowed Ken results in him realising that his dad may need a bit more full time help than he’d realised. Not that Ken would agree, but that statement is pretty much true about anything. Ken is an eccentric, strong-willed technophobe who is very much set in his ways, leaving Richard to worry about his dad growing old. Showcasing a wealth of Scottish talent, it will be filmed in Glasgow and around the North East of Scotland.
Writer Bryce Hart said: “It’s a total dream come true to have my own sitcom on BBC One and I can’t wait for the world to meet Ken and Richard Pritchard. As the son of a father who has steadfastly refused to learn how to compose a text message, there is no relationship as ripe for laughs as that between a Scottish son and his father.”
Greg McHugh says: “Bryce Hart has written a truly brilliant show, and I’m utterly thrilled to be a part of it. ‘Dream gigs’ are often just that…but I’ve been assured this is real. Yaaaaas!”
Gregor Fisher adds: “I’m not really one for giving quotes, but I am very much looking forward to working with young McHugh.”
Executive Producer for Happy Tramp North, Neil Webster says: “As someone halfway between Ken and Richard in age, Bryce Hart’s beautiful scripts resonate with me on so many levels. I’m constantly having to sort out my Dad’s online log-ins whilst simultaneously handing my phone to my son because it doesn’t recognise my face. I cannot wait to see Gregor Fisher and Greg McHugh bring Bryce’s affectionate, relatable and hilarious world to life.”
Jon Petrie, BBC Director of Comedy, says: “Only Child perfectly captures awkward family dynamics and the sometimes unwelcome familiarity of returning to a hometown. This is a brilliant new sitcom for BBC One with bags of heart and I can’t wait for viewers to see it.”
Louise Thornton, Head of Commissioning at BBC Scotland said: “We are thrilled to co-commission this brand-new comedy series for BBC One. Only Child represents our commitment to developing and delivering high quality content for audiences in Scotland and across the UK. Having Gregor Fisher and Greg McHugh playing father and son is a dream and we’re so excited to be bringing these two titans of Scottish comedy together, it’s a winning combination. Bryce has written beautiful scripts full of humour and warmth and we can’t wait to see them brought to life by Scotland’s finest acting talent.”
Only Child (6×30) is a Happy Tramp North production for BBC One and BBC Scotland. The Writer is Bryce Hart and the Executive Producer is Neil Webster. The series was ordered for BBC One and BBC iPlayer by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy and Louise Thornton, Head of Commissioning at BBC Scotland. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Gregor Sharp and Gavin Smith for BBC Scotland. Only Child’s development was supported by Screen Scotland.
And Did Those Feet… with Alan Partridge
In his new documentary series, made by Baby Cow, we follow the beloved and, to be fair, revered broadcaster as he reintegrates into life in Britain after a year working in Saudi Arabia.
But what begins as a documentary about homecoming soon morphs into something more personal as Alan realises that the happiness he thought he’d feel at being back in Norwich just hasn’t materialised. Something’s missing.
We follow Alan as he sets off on a quest to understand his funk and to share what he learns with the nation. And if he ends up being seen as a mental health champion for the middle-aged, who’s also a good fit to present other issues-led documentary strands, so be it.
Over six episodes, Alan explores exactly half a dozen of the areas that play a part in keeping us funk-free, from home lives, to work life, to the importance of nature, to relationships, to pastimes, to a sixth topic he’s not worked out yet because he’s a proper journalist, not just a sausage machine knocking out content.
It’s a journey through the mental health of himself and the country he loves (the UK including Northern Ireland) to ask: are we mentally unwell, mentally challenged, sad, cross, disturbed or just plain fed up?
Alan Partridge comments: “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoys extensive oil and natural gas reserves, but has also seen economic growth in other areas such as agricultural production, retail trade, construction, and transport. It directs some $69 billion to military expenditure each year. And yet despite all that, I somehow felt incomplete.”
Sarah Monteith, Baby Cow CEO says: “We’re delighted Alan’s back from Saudi Arabia with his appetite for broadcasting undiminished. ADTFWAP promises to be exactly the sort of uncompromising, state-of-the-nation piece that the country needs, almost as much as he does.”
Jon Petrie, BBC Director of Comedy Commissioning says: “Alan Partridge is the most iconic comedy character in the UK. The wonderful Steve Coogan and Neil & Rob Gibbons continue to innovate and create an even richer world for Alan to inhabit. This unflinching look at the state of the UK through Alan’s eyes promises to add more brilliance to the Partridge canon.”
And Did Those Feet… with Alan Partridge (6 x 30’) is a Baby Cow production for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Written by Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons. Directed by Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons. The producer is Joe Fraser and the executive producers are Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Rupert Majendie and Sarah Monteith. The series was ordered by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy and the commissioners for the BBC are Ben Caudell and Navi Lamba.
Cunk’s Quest for Meaning
Following the global success of Cunk on Earth, pioneering documentary-maker Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan) returns with her most ambitious quest to date; venturing right up the universe and everything, to find the definitive answer to the ultimate question – the meaning of life.
“What’s the point of it all?” is a question humans have been asking themselves since the dawn of time. But as we cling to our dying planet, working round the clock while we’re slowly being replaced by machines, now more than ever, people are desperately looking to make sense of their lives – before someone invents a computer that makes sense of it for them.
In this one-off extended special for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, Cunk’s Quest for Meaning, Philomena will tackle some of the most complex concepts to have ever been discovered, including Quantum Physics, Existentialism, Nihilism, Hedonism – and at least four other isms – as well as exploring subjects from the big bang to biology, morals to meditation and art to artificial intelligence.
In her search for answers, she’ll also examine the lives and works of some of history’s foremost thinkers and ground-breaking creatives, from Epicurus to Dostoyevsky, from Sartre to Van Gogh, from Nietzsche to whoever came up with those signs in kitchens that say, ‘Live Laugh Love’.
It’s a journey that will take Philomena further afield than ever before as she visits sites of significance across Europe as well as travelling internationally for the first time to America (subject to visa approval but fingers crossed). Along the way, she’ll be meeting leading experts and academics and not letting them leave until she’s got to the bottom of such questions as: what is life, what’s the point of life, why are we bothering to find out and when’s lunch.
Philomena Cunk says: “To be honest I thought we could cover the meaning of life in a 30-minute episode, but the producers said we might need a bit longer and that I could probably go to America if we did a special. I’m very excited to be going to America for free.”
Charlie Brooker says: “What sort of quote do you want for your press release? I haven’t got time to think about this, I’m late for a Zoom. Oh for God’s sake. Okay, just print something bland like “I’m thrilled Philomena is returning to our screens to help us uncover the meaning of life” – that’ll do. Now go away and leave me alone. I said go away. Go! Leave! Why are you still standing there? You’re freaking me out now. Get out. GO.”
Jon Petrie, BBC Director of Comedy Commissioning says: “Cunk has become a global phenomenon, so it’s fitting that she is travelling further than before to ask some of the brightest people on earth some serious questions. Hopefully, she was clever enough to remember to renew her passport. Diane Morgan and Charlie Brooker are the dream team, and I’m so glad they’ve teamed up again for more Cunk on the BBC.”
Cunk’s Quest for Meaning will debut on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer later this year and on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland.
Cunk’s Quest for Meaning (1 x 75’) is a Broke and Bones production for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. Created and written by Charlie Brooker, written with Diane Morgan, Ben Caudell, Erika Ehler, Charlie George, Eli Goldstone, Jason Hazeley, Lucia Keskin, Joel Morris, Michael Odewale. The director is Al Campbell, the series producer is Susie Hall, the line producer is Lizzie Search, and the executive producers are Charlie Brooker, Annabel Jones, Ali Marlow and Ben Cavey. The series was ordered for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy and the commissioner for the BBC is Tanya Qureshi.
Dreaming Whilst Black
BBC Comedy have picked up a second series of the critically acclaimed half-hour dramedy Dreaming Whilst Black, which garnered industry praise for its first series including nominations from the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards and the NAACP Image Awards.
Featuring returning star and BAFTA Award winning co-creator and co-writer Adjani Salmon (Chivalry), series two will commence filming later this year in the UK.
Loosely inspired by real-life events, Dreaming Whilst Black tells the story of Kwabena (Salmon), an aspiring filmmaker stuck in a dead-end recruitment job who takes the first step toward achieving his dream. Along the way, he is quickly confronted with the tribulations of balancing finances, love, and his own sense of reality. The series was adapted from the web series and acclaimed Big Deal Films-produced BBC pilot of the same name, which earned Salmon the 2022 BAFTA for Emerging Talent: Fiction and Screen International Star of Tomorrow. The show and Salmon have secured additional award recognition within the UK, including The Royal Television Society’s 2022 Breakthrough Award win for Salmon and series nominations in the International Emmys and the Broadcast Awards.
Adjani Salmon says: “The response to Dreaming Whilst Black has been overwhelmingly loving, raucous and humbling. I’m blessed that we have a chance to entertain da peopledem again. Like season one, our goal is to end up being shared in the Aunties WhatsApp Groups.”
Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy Commissioning at the BBC, says: “Dreaming Whilst Black really resonated with BBC viewers who felt the warmth and humour radiating from Adjani Salmon’s brilliant comic creation. It was a no brainer for us to press go again on this multi-award winning series and we can’t wait to see more.”
Dhanny Joshi, Executive Producer of Big Deal Films says: “Dreaming Whilst Black season one struck a chord with audiences all over, offering a dose of relatable chaos, hard truths and laughs in between. We couldn’t be more excited to go again and give the people what they want – a second season.”
Dreaming Whilst Black (6 x 30’) is Big Deal Films and A24 production for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. The executive producers are Dhanny Joshi, Thomas Stogdon and Adjani Salmon. The producer is Nicola Gregory. The original web series was co-written by Adjani Salmon and Ali Hughes and was created by Adjani Salmon, Max Evans, Laura de Sousa Seixas and Natasha Jatania of 4 Quarters Films. A24 will distribute the series globally.
Man Like Mobeen
BAFTA-nominated comedy Man Like Mobeen has been commissioned for a fifth series by the BBC, with writers and co-creators Guz Khan (Army of Thieves, The Bubble) and Andy Milligan (Undercover) greenlit to extend the series run to six episodes, which will air on BBC Three and iPlayer.
Guz Khan returns to the series once more as the notorious lead character Mobeen. Viewers were left reeling by the series four finale cliff-hanger, leaving fans to ponder the fate of our haphazard Mobeen.
Guz Khan says: “You lot love Man Like Mobeen don’t you? Like LOVE it. As a man once said to me whilst I was using a urinal at Beaconsfield services, “I love Mobeen more than my wife and kids”. Bit much I think. But as a result, I think you should have some more. This time, much more. 6 episodes coming your way baby. See you soon b*stards.”
Jon Petrie, BBC Director of Comedy, says: “Well we couldn’t exactly end on that cliff-hanger could we?! Guz continues to bring his infectious energy to the scripts and screen, it’s no surprise that Man Like Mobeen is so well loved.”
Tiger Aspect’s Man Like Mobeen New Talent Trainee Scheme will once again be offering paid entry-level production jobs to candidates within the West Midlands, with further details on how to apply to be announced soon.
Man Like Mobeen (6×30) is co-produced by Tiger Aspect, part of Banijay UK, and Dice Roll Productions founded by Gill Isles and Guz Khan, for the BBC. The series was commissioned for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy Commissioning at the BBC. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Navi Lamba. The series will be distributed by Banijay Rights.
Greg Davies is back as the UK’s favourite crime scene cleaner, Paul ‘Wicky’ Wickstead, to take on a whole host of eventful cleaning jobs in a third series of The Cleaner.
Armed once more with his trusty box of cleaning tools, Wicky removes more gruesome remains at the scenes of six new crimes where he’ll encounter more unusual characters. The third series will see Wicky clean-up a lighthouse in Northern Ireland, encounter a highly pregnant woman and reconnect with a long lost friend. Ruth Edwards (Zita Sattar) is also back for another series – but Wicky’s new domestic arrangement is not sitting quite well with him.
Greg Davies says: “I’m as pleased as can be to have Wicky mop up more gore during his next existential crisis. The Cleaner is such a pleasure to make and I can’t wait to welcome a new gang of guest characters to his bloody work place.”
Vivien Muller-Rommel, executive producer, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be back for a third instalment of Wicky mopping up after some larger-than-life characters. Thank you BBC and UK audiences for trusting us with another round of spills, thrills, and the occasional rogue body part.”
Jon Petrie, BBC Director of Comedy says: “The Cleaner was one of the most watched comedy shows in the UK last year, and it’s no surprise as Greg Davies is British comedy royalty and he has poured all his talent into Wicky and the series of extraordinary situations he finds himself in. Series three promises to bring more weird and wonderful characters onto our screens.”
The second series of The Cleaner was in the top ten most viewed scripted comedies in the UK, with a 2.9m average audience.
Previous series have starred some of the best comedy and acting talent in the UK, and full casting for series three will be announced in due course.
The Cleaner (6 x 30’) is a SHUK (Studio Hamburg UK) production for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The producer is Sam Ward, the executive producer is Vivien Muller-Rommel. Additional materials writers include Paul Allen, Barry Castagnola, Laura Claxton, Stephen Morrison and Michael Odewale. . The series was ordered for BBC One and BBC iPlayer by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy and the commissioners for the BBC are Ben Caudell and Navi Lamba.
The Cleaner is based on the multi award winning long-running German comedy series Der Tatortreiniger created by Mizzi Meyer.
BBC Studios will distribute the series globally, excluding German language markets. Further broadcast details will be confirmed in due course.
Share this story