Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning, has announced the broadcaster’s new comedy slate and said it represents a commitment to “finding the very best of new wave talent.”

Allen said that over the next few years, the BBC output will show “more and more diversity. Today’s announcements signal our expansion of this commitment to championing the very best emerging British comedy talent alongside new comedy pieces that cater for the wide spectrum of tastes of our audiences.”
Below is the BBC’s info about its new and returning comedy shows

Ghosts BBC One

Ghosts is a multi-character sitcom created by the lead cast of writer-performers from the award winning Horrible Histories and Yonderland, and the feature film Bill.

The crumbling country pile of Button Hall is home to numerous restless spirits who have died there over the centuries – each ghost very much a product of their time, resigned to squabbling with each other for eternity over the most inane of daily gripes. But their lives – or, rather, afterlives – are thrown into turmoil when a young urban couple – Alison and Mike – surprisingly inherit the peaceful derelict house and make plans to turn it into a bustling family hotel. As the ghosts attempt to oust the newcomers from their home, and Mike and Alison discover the true scale of the project they’ve taken on, fate conspires to trap both sides in an impossible house share, where every day is, literally, a matter of life and death.

Bridging horror and comedy, with an irreverent tone this troupe have made their own, Ghosts is the first BBC One project for the central sextet of Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond.

Ghosts (6×30’) is a Monumental Television production in association with the creators. Tom Kingsley (Pls Like, Stath Lets Flats) will direct the series, and Matthew Mulot (Dead Pixels, Agatha Raisin) will produce. The creators will also serve as Executive Producers alongside Monumental’s Alison Carpenter, Debra Hayward and Alison Owen. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Kate Daughton.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content.

Lenny Henry’s 60th Birthday Special (w/t)

In 1975, a 16-year-old Lenny Henry bunked off school to appear on New Faces. In 2018, after a long and glittering career, Sir Lenny is 60 – the perfect excuse to celebrate a man who has made a unique impact on British comedy.

Hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald and filmed in front of a studio audience, Lenny will take a light-hearted look back at his career. The special will feature archive clips from a TV career that started 43 years ago and hasn’t stopped since. We’ll revisit all his favourite characters, from Theophilus P. Wildebeeste to Delbert Wilkins, Deakus to Mister Lister. And there’ll be new sketches featuring a number of special guests.

The special will be produced by BBC Studios in association with Douglas Road Productions for BBC One and will air later this year.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content.

Inside No.9 – Halloween ‘LIVE’ Special

Inside No.9, the award winning and critically acclaimed anthology series created by and starring Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, will be returning to BBC Two this October for a special Halloween edition.

As with all previous episodes of Inside No.9, this brand new 30 minute story promises to be a twisted tale which will aim to surprise, delight, unnerve and amuse in equal measure. Full storyline information and casting details will be revealed in due course, but aside from being a Halloween special this particular tale will have one very large and noticeable difference unlike all other Inside No.9’s before it, as this episode will be broadcast to the nation completely live.

Inside No. 9 (1×30’) is produced by BBC Studios for BBC Two. The producer is Adam Tandy and the executive producer is Jon Plowman for BBC Studios. The Commissioning Editor is Gregor Sharp for the BBC.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two.

Motherland BBC Two

A collective sigh of relief can be heard across the Motherland as a new school term dawns. It’s also dawned on Julia that she still hasn’t sorted her childcare. Her wonderful husband has decided to step up to the mark and train for Iron Man. The alpha mums are back in the cafe, rolling up their blouse sleeves for this year’s PTA while Kevin looks on from his table next to the toilet. Liz has mastered the art of not giving a f**k, and is going back to bed.

Welcome back to Motherland returning soon to BBC Two.

Produced by Delightful Industries (part of the Twofour Group) and Merman. Motherland (6×30’) is written by Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Pulling), Helen Linehan (Motherland series one) and Holly Walsh (Dead Boss, The Other One). It is a co-production between Merman and Delightful Industries. Motherland is directed by Juliet May. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Alex Moody.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two.

Back To Life BBC Three

Written by Daisy Haggard and Laura Solon, Back To Life follows Miranda ‘Miri’ Thomas (Haggard), a woman who committed a terrible crime many years ago. It was a catastrophic mistake, one she paid for with well over a decade in prison. When we meet her, she has just returned to her family home, aged 36, with no job, no friends and no choice but to move back in with her parents. Miri is desperate to move on, put the past behind her and get back to her life; but, in a small-town where her crime is the most dramatic thing that has ever happened, will anyone let her?

Back To Life (6×30’) is written by Daisy Haggard and Laura Solon, produced by Debbie Pisani and directed by Christopher Sweeney. The Executive Producers are Harry and Jack Williams alongside Sarah Hammond for Two Brothers Pictures, and Daisy Haggard and Laura Solon. Kate Daughton is the Commissioning Editor for the BBC.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three.

Pls Like BBC Three

After the (even-handed) satirical bloodbath of Pls Like series one, it’s frankly astonishing to see that the egos of the world’s biggest YouTubers are continuing to grow more rapidly than the UK’s high-speed internet infrastructure.

Vloggers are selling £50 advent calendars, posting racist videos and filming dead bodies. And if that weren’t enough, algorithms are now failing to stop extremist material reaching a global audience while also, separately, traumatising children with fake Peppa Pig videos.

Pls Like series one was nominated for a Bafta in the short form category and the team of Liam Williams (writer), Tom Kingsley (director), Olly Cambridge (creator) and Rupert Majendie (producer), now present an even more ambitious second series. Williams returns along with series one cast members Tim Key, Emma Sidi, Jon Pointing, Hammed Animashaun and Ellie White – and this time they’ll be joined by Tom Stourton, Tash Demetriou, Arnab Chanda, Shivani Thussu, Grace Hogg Robinson, and some animals.

Pls Like (6×15’) is produced by Shiny Button and the Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Alex Moody.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three.

Comedy Slices
BBC Three

Now in their sixth year, the Comedy Slices are the vital place to develop the next generation of British on and off screen comedy talent. Today three brand new BBC Three pilots from three female rising stars have been announced – Diary of a Hounslow Girl (w/t) written by and starring Ambreen Razia, In My Skin written by Kayleigh Llewellyn and Tash and Ellie (w/t) from writer-performing duo Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three.

Diary of a Hounslow Girl (w/t)
Shaheeda, Tash and Leonie are three West London college students with big dreams, big attitudes, and big plans. From fights on the night bus to yet another ‘family’ wedding, mosque class to fake IDs, new hijab swags to cooking up schemes on Hounslow High Street, these girls are determined to have the best time – fun first, consequences second. Bouncing between being good, modern Muslim girls and living their best lives, they are three smart, young, Asian women in a bold, provocative, new comedy.

Diary of a Hounslow Girl
(w/t) is written by and stars Ambreen Razia (BBC Talent Hotlist 2017), inspired by her smash hit play, and is produced by CPL Productions Ltd.

Script edited by Holly Walsh, produced by Charlie Coombes and executive produced by Arabella McGuigan & Danielle Lux for CPL Productions. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Alex Moody.

In My Skin

In My Skin is a darkly comic, coming of age story about Bethan Gwyndaf – a 16 year old girl who tells a lot of lies. At school she poses as the perfect student, with a run-of-the-mill family. But all the while her mother is sectioned in a mental facility based only moments away. We follow Bethan as her house of cards slowly begins to collapse.

This series gives a raw and accurate portrayal of growing up in Wales today, holding up a mirror to the state of our nation. There’s heartache, and laughs, and shame, and sometimes an almost too-hard-to-look quality as we revisit the pain of adolescence.

In My Skin is written by Kayleigh Llewellyn and produced by Expectation Entertainment. The Executive Producer is Nerys Evans for Expectation Entertainment and Kate Daughton is the BBC Commissioning Editor. The producer is Gina Lyons.

Tash and Ellie (w/t)
Writer-performers Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White are one of Britain’s most exciting new double acts and bring their world of one of a kind and unforgettable characters to BBC Three.

Ellie and Natasia embody the most familiar cultural stereotypes and completely make them their own. With their unique take on modern society, pop culture and, more importantly, the role of women within it, the characters and sketches will be memorable, current, and very funny.

Ellie plays Princess Beatrice in Channel 4’s popular The Windsors and will also star in Holly Walsh’s series The Other One on BBC Two alongside Lauren Socha and Siobhan Finneran. Natasia will play the lead role of Sophie in Jamie Demetriou’s series Stath Lets Flat on Channel 4 and will star in the FX series of What We Do In The Shadows with Matt Berry and Kayvan Novak.

The Executive Producers for CPL Productions are Harry Hill and Mobashir Dar. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Alex Moody.

Threesomes BBC Three

Threesomes is a new short-form strand announced today for BBC Three. Three comedy writers and performers will be given the opportunity to bring their ideas to screen in a series of three x 3-minute shorts. As seen with #HoodDocumentary which earned Kayode Ewumi a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit and BAFTA nominated Pls Like, short form content is hugely popular on BBC Three and we want to give writers the opportunity to cut their teeth with new comedy ideas and characters in a shape from where they can develop and grow.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three.

There She Goes BBC Four

Merman, the production company founded and run by award-winning duo Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford, is producing a brand new 5×30′ comedy-drama for BBC Four written by Shaun Pye.

There She Goes is about a severely learning disabled 9-year-old girl Rosie (Miley Locke), her dad Simon (David Tennant), mum Emily (Jessica Hynes) and brother Ben (Edan Hayhurst).

All the stories and characters are drawn from the real life experience of writer Shaun Pye, whose daughter was born in 2006 with an extremely rare and, to date, undiagnosed chromosomal disorder.

Each episode shines a light on day-to-day life with Rosie – unique experiences from simply trying to take her to the park to trying to explain that everyday isn’t her birthday.

A second timeline in 2006 shows the effect having a severely disabled child had on the family unit, how it threatened to disintegrate but ultimately brought them even closer.

There She Goes (5×30’) will be made by Merman for BBC Four and the BBC Comedy Commissioning Editor is Alex Moody. Written by Shaun Pye, it will be directed by Simon Hynd and will be produced by Merman’s Clelia Mountford. The Executive Producer for Merman is Sharon Horgan. Filming will begin in July 2018.

Commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and Cassian Harrison, Controller of BBC Four.

Felix Dexter Bursary

BBC Comedy has today announced its continued commitment to developing talented BAME comedy writers, with its second Felix Dexter Bursary initiative. A six-month bursary will be awarded to train an aspiring comedy writer to develop their skills at the BBC.

The opportunity, offered by BBC Comedy in partnership with the BBC Writersroom, is designed to find a writer with a fresh, uniquepoint of view and the potential to help shape the future of comedy, whether in the BBC or elsewhere in the industry.  It aims to make a positive intervention to address an under-representation of BAME professionals in comedy production in broadcasting.

On a practical level, the bursary gives up-and-coming talent the chance to make comedy writing their main focus for six months, while immersed in comedy production. They will hone their skills while gaining experience on a range of BBC comedies across radio, TV and online, on panel shows, shorts, sitcoms or comedy entertainment shows.  The programme will offer the writer the support they need to take the next step in their career.

Staff Reporter

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