Comedy from the BBC, including new pilots
Miranda Hart has rocketed to huge success in recent years, propelled to giddy new heights by her self-penned sitcom Miranda. Crowned the queen of comedy at the British Comedy Awards, she has also won three RTS Awards for Best Comedy Performance, been nominated for five BAFTA Awards and received an NTA for her stand-out turn in international hit series Call the Midwife. This performance captures all the excitement and silliness of her rollicking live set, packed with plenty of laughs, larks and audience interaction. Miranda invites everyone to take part in a giant party with her while sharing her unique observations on everyday life. Always entertainingly honest, she reveals hilarious and, somewhat worryingly, completely true anecdotes about her own mishaps and misdemeanours. Whether discussing flatulent first dates or the freedom enjoyed by socially inept children, she animates each topic with her megawatt charisma. This is one of the UK's best-loved comedians at her laugh-out-loud best - expect galloping, dubious attempts at song and dance, and most importantly of all... Such fun!
Comedy from Charlie Brooker starring Philomena Cunk, the witless commentator from Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe. Philomena knows absolutely nothing about Shakespeare, but that won't stop her attempting to present a groundbreaking documentary about him. Fresh from her triumphs on Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe investigating time ('It'll always be an unknowable mystery, like how phones work') Winston Churchill ('Imagine how good his tweets would have been'), and Donald Trump ('There's this amazing stuff on his head; it's not hair, it's like a sort of furry gas'), Philomena Cunk has finally been given her own show - about William Shakespeare. Cunk will leave no stone unturned as she gets to the bottom of the Bard, visiting his birthplace, exploring the Globe, studying priceless artefacts and interviewing literally six different experts, including renowned actor Simon Russell Beale, Educating Yorkshire teacher Matthew Burton and top Shakespearean scholar Professor Stanley Wells. Shorter than Hamlet, funnier than King Lear and easier to spell than Cymbeline, Cunk On Shakespeare is absolutely the last word in Shakespeare documentaries.
The team behind the Bafta-winning satirical comedy The Revolution Will Be Televised - Jolyon Rubenstein and Heydon Prowse - treat us to Brexageddon, a one-off, 30-minute comedy special satirising the EU referendum and its seismic effect. Capturing the heated debate within a nation, the show is centre court to the most dynamic drama to unfold in recent Whitehall history.
Josh Widdicombe plays judge and jury as a panel of pundits fight for points discussing all things Olympic Games. With guests Rick Edwards, Iwan Thomas, Gail Emms and Paul Sinha. Fighting Talk, the cult weekly sports comedy show, comes out of the radio studio and in front of the TV cameras for the first time to celebrate Rio 2016. Topics up for contention include; greatest Olympic rivalries, best Olympic sporting bodies and we find out about some rather peculiar events from previous games. Josh awards points for informed comment, passion and humour but takes them away for any nonsense or drivel. The two highest scoring panellists go head to head to 'defend the indefensible', where they are forced to defend a downright distasteful statement for twenty seconds. Joining Josh is Badminton Olympic Silver medallist from the 2004 Athens games Gail Emms, Olympic viewer and presenter Rick Edwards, 4x100 relay Silver Olympic medallist from the 1996 Atlanta games Iwan Thomas and Olympic fanatic and comedian Paul Sinha.
Mark Watson presents six brand new stars of stand up performing live in Edinburgh, battling it out for the prestigious BBC Radio New Comedy Award 2016. Radio 4's nationwide search to find UK comedy stars of the future reaches its conclusion and the last six contestants follow previous finalists Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Mack, Sarah Millican, Marcus Brigstocke, Russell Howard and Rhod Gilbert on the road to stand up success. They go head-to-head to be crowned winner, earn a script commission with BBC Radio Comedy and a £1,000 prize.
The Cooper family share a small house, and absolutely no DNA. Mum Tess wanted to save as many kids as she could from the sort of childhood she had. So, along with her husband Toby, she now divides just about enough money and nowhere near enough time between their three adopted children Frankie, Alisha and Charlie. In this pilot episode, Tess tries to improve Charlie's popularity by gate-crashing his classmate's 8th birthday party, while back at home, Toby has to deal with Alisha's sudden interest in religion. Written by award-winning writer (and adoptee) Andy Wolton.
Home from Home features Johnny Vegas playing uptight, try-hard dad Neil Hackett, whose decision to buy a lodge in the Lake District proves disastrous when he discovers he is living next door to the uber successful, effortlessly superior Dillons. Emilia Fox plays louche, glamorous Penny Dillon, Adam James is her outdoorsy husband Robert Dillon, whilst the wonderfully warm Joanna Page plays Johnny's long-suffering wife Fiona Hackett.
Jack has finally found real happiness with new wife-to-be Sara but his crazy ex-wife and mother of his kids Hillary is determined to destroy it. Yet, whilst Jack wants Hillary out of his life, Sara has made it her personal crusade to mend his relationship with Hillary for the sake of the children.
William has always known he was destined to be a juror but he never imagined that when the day finally came, he would land the mother of all jury gigs - an actual murder trial. The jury are a mismatched collection of enthusiastic fools, inconsiderate bullies and self-obsessed weirdos, constantly getting distracted from the case. Add in a demob-happy judge in her final trial and this has all the ingredients of a disaster.
Sitcom pilot from Graham Linehan and Sharon Horgan. Meet the Alpha Mums, headed by Amanda, very much the queen bee. Everything is organised, clean and sparkly - even the kitchen cork board is a statement of success. At the other end of the spectrum, we meet Liz, who is totally chaotic and feels the kids should enjoy free expression - if they want to do kamikaze jumps off the sofa, she drags a mattress round for safety. Somewhere between Amanda and Liz is Julia - she is organised - she has to be as she is a successful events organiser - but when her mother Marion decides she is no longer going to be the free child-sitter and school-run taxi, Julia finds her organisation skills are taxed and nowhere near the level of the Alpha Mums. Also in the mix is Kevin - he is the stay-at-home dad, who, rather than fighting against that, is embracing it with gusto - much to the irritation of the other mums. This is mothers and they really are - coping or not - competitive and helpful. If the Pulling girls had kids, this is what it would be like.
Lighthearted panel quiz show hosted by Ben Miller and featuring a selection of sitcom stars. Four teams of two battle it out by testing their knowledge on British sitcoms past and present. The teams doing battle are Jennifer Saunders and Julia Sawalha, Lee Mack and Nigel Havers, Nina Wadia and Stephen Mangan, and Chris Addison and Jessica Hynes. The games include sitcom anagrams, mime it like Mr Bean, name that theme tune and guess the unsung sitcom star. The show also includes clips of some of the most memorable sitcom moments.
Comedy prequel to Keeping Up Appearances, set in the 1950s and charting the early life of the remarkable Hyacinth. Long before she became Mrs Bucket (pronounced Bouquet), young Hyacinth was already dreaming of matching china and a bedroom in pastel shades. But her desperate attempts to transform her sisters and her darling Daddy into an altogether better class of family are not appreciated. Daisy goes around wearing Daddy's overalls, Rose has a new boyfriend every week, and if Violet continues consorting with her married manager, she could be inches away from shame and destitution. The girls live together in a crowded canal cottage with their father, a part-time brush salesman with a drink problem. If only the family were more like the Cooper-Smiths, in whose house Hyacinth works as a maid. Because now she has had a glimpse of how the elegant upper classes live, there can be no looking back.
On the 23 June, Britain voted to leave the European Union. Then, on the 4 July, Nigel Farage, the man who had made it all possible, resigned saying he wanted his life back. But what sort of life has he gone back to, and how does a man forever in the spotlight fill his days now he has nothing to do? Starring Kevin Bishop as Farage, Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back is a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary following the day-to-day reality of being Nigel Farage. We see the public 'Nigel', the colourful character that the country has come to know and love/hate. Straight-talking, unencumbered by political correctness, a jovial source of seemingly eternal banter, usually delivered through a haze of cigarette smoke over a few cheeky pints of beer. We also bear witness to private 'Nigel', the man behind the facade, at home, eating bangers and mash watching Pointless and insisting he doesn't miss the limelight, that he is much happier out of politics and that he never wanted to be prime minister anyway. Kevin Bishop said, "I'm delighted to be playing a character as colourful as Farage. He's a gift to parody and I'm looking forward to bringing previously unseen aspects of his life to the screen." Aside from drinking in his local pub, rubbing shoulders with Donald Trump and growing a moustache, we see what else Nigel Farage has been up to in his 'summer holiday'. The programme is an overtly funny portrait of one of the most divisive men in Britain as he adjusts to a post-Brexit life.
Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in 2001, Victoria Wood performs her At It Again show, featuring her typically penetrating observations of mundane life.
'Televisionary’ and 'Truth Crusader’ Christoph Spinelli has come to the UK to do for British Crime what he’s done for America - speculate to the point of insanity and manage to make a story out of absolutely nothing. In search of a miscarriage of justice to defend, Spinelli’s documentary investigates the mysterious disappearance of Polly Worcester and her would-be attacker, Tom Jessop, with all the objectivity, truth and (most importantly) sexiness you would expect. Unfortunately for Tom, Spinelli is the last person you would want on your side…
Eric Idle persuades Professor Brian Cox to present a lecture on the birth of the entire universe. Brian soon realises Eric is actually hosting a comedy and musical extravaganza with the help of Warwick Davis, Noel Fielding, Hannah Waddingham and Robin Ince, alongside a chorus of singers and dancers.
Summer 2003 and Bob Monkhouse entertains a room full of comedians with stand-up, chat and a comedy masterclass. The night became the stuff of legend among comedians, but was never transmitted until now.
Mockumentary starring Diane Morgan as Philomena Cunk, who explores the traditions and trappings of Christmas. Philomena looks at pagan winter festivals, the Nativity story, 'Sir Charles Dickings' and Santa Claus, and also grills a variety of experts to try and expose hard truths about Christmas.
A comic cultural review of 2016, told through mash-up and manipulated archive footage.
The Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre brings Peter Pan Goes Wrong to BBC One. As part of its commitment to community theatre, the BBC has commissioned The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, an amateur dramatics group, to recreate the JM Barrie classic as part of their festive programming. But can they pull it off? Narrated by David Suchet and filmed in front of a live audience, watch as Peter Pan flies through the air, Captain Hook and his pirates set adrift in the lagoon, and Tinkerbell is due to light up the stage in a stunning electrical costume... what can possibly go wrong?! With their trademark comic mayhem, expect hilarious stunts, chaos, technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disputes on the way to Neverland with hilarious and disastrous results.
Dawn French in her critically acclaimed one-woman show, 30 Million Minutes. Filmed during its final West End run in October 2016, it takes the audience on a journey through various delights and riches, with the odd irksome tribulation thrown in, as Dawn speaks about the lessons life has taught her, and the things she knows to be true. The evidence is there for all to see. She is already three quarters certifiably daft. The other quarter is utterly bewildered. And the remaining quarter simply can't do maths. With a sharp eye for comic detail and a wicked ear for the absurdities of life, this is a true Christmas treat to see the critically acclaimed comedian at her finest.