Raft of Comedy Commissions for BBC


BBC has unveiled its slate of upcoming and returning comedies, which features a lineup of up-and-coming comedic talent.

Ghosts is a multi-character sitcom created by writer-performers from the award-winning Horrible Histories and Yonderland and the feature film Bill. Ghosts is the first BBC One project for Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond. Another commission is the tentatively titled Lenny Henry’s 60th Birthday Special, hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald and filmed in front of a studio audience. The special will air on BBC One later this year.

For BBC Two, new commissions include the Halloween “LIVE” Inside No.9 special. The brand-new 30-minute Inside No.9 special will air on BBC Two in October. Also for BBC Two is Motherland, which returns soon.

Back to Life, about a woman who committed a terrible crime years before and then moves back in with her parents, is heading to BBC Three. Pls Like, meanwhile, returns to BBC Three for a second season.

Now in its sixth year, Comedy Slices remains a key place to develop the next generation of British comedy talent both on and off screen. Three BBC Three pilots from female rising stars have been revealed: Diary of a Hounslow Girl (working title), written by and starring Ambreen Razia; In My Skin, written by Kayleigh Llewellyn; and Tash and Ellie (working title) from writer-performing duo Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White.

Additionally, Threesomes is a new short-form strand for BBC Three. A trio of comedy writers and performers will be given the chance to bring their ideas to the screen in a series of 3×3-minute shorts. There She Goes is a comedy-drama for BBC Four that is drawn from the real-life experience of writer Shaun Pye, whose daughter suffers from an undiagnosed chromosomal disorder.

BBC Comedy also unveiled its second Felix Dexter Bursary initiative. A six-month bursary will be awarded to train an aspiring comedy writer to develop their craft at the BBC.

Shane Allen, controller of BBC Comedy commissioning, said, “The last few years in BBC Comedy have been a boom time for new talent with multi-award-winning shows, including Fleabag, This Country, The Young Offenders and People Just Do Nothing. These are shows that have taken a risk on new talent, which have resulted in comedy from the heart that has a very real sense of place and with characters you grow to care about—who earn those emotional twists and turns.

“In a world where there’s more competition for established talent from an array of competitors, we want to broaden and cement our commitment to finding the very best of new wave talent and how we’re going to achieve that is through a comprehensive talent ladder to provide opportunity to an array of emerging voices and performers.

“We get excited by the stories that haven’t been told and the voices we haven’t yet heard, which is why you’ll see more and more diversity of all kinds in the output over the next few years as we break new ground. Today’s announcements signal our expansion of this commitment to championing the very best emerging British comedy talent alongside new comedy pieces that cater to the wide spectrum of tastes of our audiences.

“We believe in a British talent first and foremost approach, and are here to grow the stars of tomorrow through the hit shows of today.”