Simon Callow to Star in New Gold Comedy

LONDON: Simon Callow (Shakespeare in Love, Four Weddings and a Funeral) has been lined up to lead the cast of The Rebel, a new original scripted comedy series for UKTV’s Gold.

Based on Andrew Birch’s long-running cartoon strip in Oldie Magazine, The Rebel tells the story of Henry Palmer, a recently widowed Brighton resident who has spent the last 50 years putting his troubled past behind him. The 3×30-minute show is being produced by FremantleMedia UK’s Retort. It will begin airing on Gold later this year.

Callow commented: “The Rebel is a wildly funny, edgy and sometimes rather searing new sitcom which could hardly be more now. Henry is very, very angry, and he has much to be angry about: essentially everything in the world around him. He sees himself as a fearless exposer of cant and folly. Others sometimes have a different view of him. It’s a part I can relate to very, very easily.”

Simon Lupton, UKTV’s senior commissioning editor, said: “We are very excited to be working with Andrew and Retort on The Rebel, and are really looking forward to bringing such an irrepressible character to life. Henry is going to demonstrate that young people don’t have a monopoly on anarchy, and I suspect he’ll ultimately bring out the rebel in us all. The marriage of an actor of the extraordinary caliber of Simon Callow, to a character with so much authenticity, heart and energy makes for an incredibly enticing addition to our original shows on Gold.”

Jon Rolph, the managing director of Retort and executive producer, noted: “Henry might be talking about his generation, but he’s refusing to fade away—Andrew Birch has created an everyday hero, and one we all should want to be when we grow up. We can’t wait for the brilliant Simon Callow to bring to our screens Henry’s tireless rebellion against the petty, the lazy, the small-minded and the stupid things that incite us all to take a stand.”

Steve North, the general manager of Gold, added: “Gold is the home to some of comedy’s greatest characters who kick back against society—they are the grown-up archetypal naughty child and it is enormous fun to watch—from Del Boy and Victor Meldrew through to Blackadder and Monty Python. I’m excited that we are making The Rebel and to have Simon Callow on board to play Henry, who will be bringing warmth and charm to a character that I can’t wait to see.”