BBC Studios’ Digital Consumer Engagement team has commissioned two short form series from BBC Studios and Baby Cow Productions to premiere on the Baby Cow YouTube and Facebook channels, as part of Baby Cow’s new Baby Shorts umbrella.

The Train, four-parts, each 10-minutes, is created by Lucy Pearman. Rona, Sean, and Russell are trapped in an unspoken love triangle. They’re also trapped (more or less) aboard the train on which they work. The Train is a warm, moving sitcom that takes place over the course of a year – where small things become big things in the awkward, confined and quite public space of a commuter train.

Starring Tim Key (This Time, The Witchfinder), Kiell Smith-Bynoe (Ghosts, Stath Lets Flats) and Lucy Pearman (Please Help), with appearances by Felicity Montagu (Alan Partridge’s long-suffering assistant Lynn) and Natalie Cassidy (EastEnders).

Directed by Joe Fraser, produced by Dave Lambert. The associate producer is Lucy Pearman and the executive producers are Baby Cow’s Sarah Monteith and Rupert Majendie. Commissioned by Madi Woodstock and Chris Allen at BBC Studios.

The first episode of The Train is available to watch now, with subsequent episodes dropping over the next three days.

The second title, called What’s Happening? is a five by 12 minute series created by Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen.

What’s Happening? is a sitcom about a wildly disruptive video podcast, featuring a cast of top comedians portraying the rogue’s gallery of unhinged interviewees. Each episode, hosts Robin (the stupid man’s Louis Theroux) and Leo (the even more stupid man’s Logan Paul) delve deep into everything from masculine identity to political activism, as they grill a special guest on a pressing contemporary issue with the help (but hindrance) of their conspiracy theorist techie Maz. The ‘enlightening conversation’ is inevitably derailed by Robin and Leo’s personal foibles, when discursive debate quickly spirals into farcical narrative.

Starring Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen (comedy duo The Pin) and Mariam Haque (Black Mirror), with appearances from Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle), Natasia Demetriou (What We Do in the Shadows), Seb Cardinal (Sally4Ever), Ellie White (Stath Lets Flats), and Paul Chahidi (This Country).

Directed by Joe Fraser, the executive producers are Baby Cow’s Sarah Monteith and Rupert Majendie. Commissioned by Madi Woodstock and Chris Allen at BBC Studios.

What’s Happening episodes will be published daily, starting next week with the first episode released Monday 3rd October on the Baby Cow YouTube and Facebook channels.

Both series are part of a wider portfolio of original short-from content commissions from BBC Studios’ Digital Consumer Engagement team, covering diverse genres from nature, science and fact ent, to kids, drama and comedy. Alongside commissioning, Digital Consumer Engagement operate Baby Cow’s social media touchpoints – curating the best content and managing their wonderful fan communities – building their YouTube channel to 8.2M views in one year of operation, increasing Facebook video engagement by 183%, and broadening Instagram reach by 281%.

The launch of the Baby Shorts initiative showcases both new and established comedy talent, following Baby Cow’s ongoing commitment to supporting breakthrough talent and as part of the company’s overall digital strategy to develop new comedy formats.

Athena Witter, vice president of Programming at BBC Studios Digital Consumer Engagement, says: “We are beyond thrilled at what Baby Cow have created for us, fusing the best of linear talent – both on and off camera – with a snappy, digital-first sensibility to produce two, very funny but very different shows.”

Chris Allen, head of Development at BBC Studios Digital Consumer Engagement, says: “The opportunity to work with exciting new writing talent like Lucy, Ben and Alex has been wonderful. The energy, fun and fresh ideas they’ve brought to their shows is proof of why we need to work with emerging talent of all kinds”

Rupert Majendie, head of Development at Baby Cow, says: “I’ve always loved short form and recognised its importance in developing new talent and different ideas, which we’re committed to at Baby Cow. Baby Shorts are all about growing the next generation of amazing talent and I’m so excited we’re able to provide this platform to present their new comedy ideas.”

Asha Amster, coo at Baby Cow, says: “Witty, innovative, irreverent – this is heartland comedy for Baby Cow. Straight to our fan base, Baby Shorts allows us to test new IP and develop formats, with more expected in coming months.”



Pippa Considine

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