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Acorn Media to develop first Benny Hill biopic

Acorn Media Enterprises (AME), the UK-based development division for Acorn TV, has partnered with Free@Last TV to develop the first ever scripted biopic of iconic comedian Benny Hill.

The series is in development as a 2×90 minute/4×45 minute title with Caleb Ranson (Midsomer Murders) writing the series. It will follow Hill’s life from the mid-1930s through to his tragic death in the 90s.

Titled Lonely Boy: The Benny Hill Story, the drama takes its name from one of Hill’s classic hits. It has been developed by Free@Last’s David Walton in partnership with Ranson.

Hilary Bonner, who was the co-author of the Benny Hill biography Benny & Me, will be series consultant.

Barry Ryan, creative director of Free@Last TV noted: “Benny Hill is a lost national treasure and a much-misunderstood man. Our drama will reignite his legacy and address some of the misconceptions about the man and his material while also chronicling the dying days of variety entertainment and the birth of television”.

Ranson added: “When I was a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s I loved Benny Hill, his skits and wordplay and especially his songs. Then as I got older, like the rest of the country, I fell out of love with him. Why was that? What happened? Around the world he’s still revered but here in the UK, he’s all but forgotten.

“A punchline to a bad joke. I want to reclaim him from the comedy dustbin of history, to explore the Benny nobody knows, the ahead of his time comedy genius of the 50s and 60s and why in his twilight years he fell so hard and so quickly out of favour.”

Earlier this year, AME with Free@Last TV announced Acorn TV’s first sole commission with the return of Agatha Raisin starring Ashley Jensen (Love, Lies & Records, Catastrophe), which begins filming this summer.