BBC sets David Mitchell & Ricky Gervais projects on expansive comedy slate

Ellie & Natasia

Jon Petrie, director of comedy at UK pubcaster the BBC, has unveiled 10 new and returning series, as well as 11 new short films, at the BBC Comedy Festival in Cardiff this week.

Among the five brand new shows are Ludwig, a 6 x 60-minute series from Big Talk Studios, in association with That Mitchell and Webb Company for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Written by Mark Brotherhood, the series stars David Mitchell as the titular John ‘Ludwig’ Taylor who must assume the identity of his missing detective twin brother in order to discover his whereabouts. However, the odds are stacked against him, as John has never married, never had a family and never really ventured further than his own front door.

Kenton Allen, Chris Sussman and Kathryn O’Connor are executive producing, while the producer is Georgie Fallon.

Spent is a 6 x 30-minute VAL-TV production for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, written by and starring Michelle De Swarte and executive produced by Jack Bayles and Phil Clarke.

Mia (De Swarte) is a former catwalk model who is on the run – mainly from herself. Her career is over, she’s flat broke and she’s homeless – but 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.

The BBC remains the biggest single investor in original comedy content in the UK

Jon Petrie

Meanwhile, Mammoth stars Mike Bubbins as Tony Mammoth, 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.

The 3 x 30-minute series is a BBC Studios Comedy production for BBC Wales and BBC iPlayer, created by and starring Bubbins and co-written with Paul Doolan.

Dinosaur is a 6 x 30-minute series from Two Brothers Pictures for BBC Three, BBC Scotland and BBC iPlayer in partnership with Hulu and All3Media International.

It stars Ashley Storries as Nina, an autistic woman in her 30s, who 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.

Also on the slate is Things You Should Have, a 6 x 30-minute family sitcom from Roughcut Television for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.

Created and written by Lucia Keskin, it follows 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. But when her parents, who she is so dependent on, unexpectedly die, She is suddenly forced to fend for herself.

Speaking at the festival, Petrie also announced five returning comedy shows, including Tiger Aspect and Jackpot Productions’ Bad Education, which will be back on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer for a fifth season.

Ranga Bee’s Avoidance has been renewed for season two, while BBC Studios Comedy and Witchcraft Industries’ Mandy is back for a third instalment. Peacock, from Big Talk, is back for a six-part series after its three-part pilot run last year, while Ellie & Natasia, from NIT TV is back for season two.

“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,” said Petrie.

Avoidance

Shorts order

Petrie also unveiled 11 BBC Comedy short films at the festival, which will launch on BBC iPlayer and BBC Three.

The BBC Comedy Short Film strand was created as a place for both new and established talent to develop and showcase concepts that centre on originality and experimentation.

The shorts will be available on BBC iPlayer on 26 May and will be shown on BBC Three in the coming months.

Among them are A Better Place, created and written by Book of Jam; Birdsong, created, written & voiced by Uncle Shortbread; Calamity James, based on the Beano comic strip of the same name, written and created by Louis Paxton and produced by Emanata Studios; and Funboys, written by and starring Rian Lennon and Ryan Early and produced by Camden Productions.

Other shorts include Jobless, from Zeppotron, created and written by Thara Popoola; Man Eater, written by Angela Nesi and Anna Brook-Mitchell, and produced by DAVE; Mobility, from Jack Carroll and Tom Gregory, produced by Tiger Aspect and Testmouse; Pobl Bachyn, written by Adam Drake, Ed Easton, Kath Hughes, Ben Rowse and Kiri Pritchard-McLean and produced by Little Wander; This Is Gay, written and created by Kirk Flash, and produced by Baby Cow; Where It Ends, written by Jack Robertson and produced by Tiger Aspect; and 7 Minutes, written by Harry Carlile and Jonathan Parramin, directed by Ricky Gervais and produced via his Derek Productions label.

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