Comedy from the BBC, including new pilots
Ben Elton, multi-award winning comedian, novelist, playwright, film maker and classic sitcom creator of the likes of The Young Ones, Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line and Upstart Crow, delivers the inaugural The Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture on BBC One. Recorded at the BBC’s Radio Theatre in London, in front of a star-studded audience from the world of comedy, Ben Elton delivers his lecture in which he discusses the craft, legacy and importance of the studio sitcom. Sir David Jason introduces the talk with a personal forward about Ronnie Barker and Ben Elton. The lecture is named in honour of the late, much loved comedy writer and performer Ronnie Barker OBE, star of The Two Ronnies, Porridge and Open All Hours. Ben discusses not only his love for the studio sitcom, its heritage and its importance but also his own first meeting with Ronnie and how the two became friends. The Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture was commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller, Comedy Commissioning and Charlotte Moore, Director, Content and is a BBC Studios production. The executive producers are Tara Duffy and Gareth Edwards, director Julia Knowles and production executive Sarah Hitchcock.
The Other One is a narrative comedy about a girl called Catherine Walcott. And another girl called Catherine Walcott. Sisters who had no idea the other existed until their father drops dead. Cathy has a fiancé, a Duke of Edinburgh Award and a pension. Cat has a pay-as-you-go phone. The only things they have in common are their names (a smart move if you've got a secret daughter). Both of them have always wanted a sister - just maybe, not each other.
A comedy sketch show where no area of the universe is off limits. Famalam shines a comedic light on everything - from alien encounters in the outer reaches of the galaxy, to what happens when a man is left on his own in a house for ten minutes holding only a phone and a remote. With a dazzling array of accents, cultural observations and colourful costumes, Famalam gives us a glimpse of the latest Nollywood blockbuster, reveals who might be responsible for internet spam and introduces us to latest TV detective - but be warned - his methods are, well, unorthodox...
1997: two teenaged friends make a pact - if they are both still single aged 35, they will get together. Amy doesn't think it will ever happen. Andy, who is secretly in love with Amy, hopes that it will. 2017: twenty years later, Amy and Andy have drifted apart. Andy has gained a career, an ex-wife, a four-year-old son and a girlfriend. Amy, meanwhile, despite the ever-increasing weight of social expectation, has managed to avoid growing up entirely. And she loves it. She lives in a flatshare, works behind a bar and isn't above enjoying the odd alcohol-fuelled one-night-stand, if the mood takes her. When Andy and Amy bump into each other again, it is earth shattering. Face to face with their past, they are forced to reconsider their futures. Is it time for Amy to take responsibility for her life? Should Andy throw caution to the wind and pursue his childhood crush? Whatever happens, they are going to end up together, right? Needless to say, it is a bit more complicated than that.
The internet has disappeared worldwide! Panic ensues in Sticky, the riotous new animated sitcom from the co-creator of Fonejacker. Aspiring student reporter Herbert and his friends Ziggy, Jay and Ashley are at home watching ‘Game of Zombies’ when the internet goes down. All forms of life depend on having a wifi, so when their connection suddenly disappears their world is thrown into chaos. Can the friends cope offline? Who would kidnap the web and why? How long do we really expect the planet to survive without internet porn? These are questions only the gang can solve as they embark on a thrilling and hilarious rescue mission to infiltrate the headquarters of the mysterious perpetrators of this heinous web-based crime. Among the suspects is bare-chested Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump too makes a cameo appearance.
The pilot sees Elizabeth's crazy-rich childhood friend Fufu visiting London for the first time. It shouldn't be a problem but Elizabeth has lied about her job to avoid shaming her parents. So she deals with the situation like she deals with any situation, by lying some more and getting drunk. Jackie has a big casting for the role of a lifetime, instead of the usual 'Chinese prostitute, DVD seller or takeaway girl' and this is the worst time to be babysitting a kooky new arrival. The Fufu problem isn't going away.
The Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre Company return to the small screen with their take on Dickens's famous festive fable. Blacklisted by the BBC after ruining Peter Pan, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society do not take their ban lying down and force themselves back on the BBC by hijacking the jewel of the Christmas schedule, a live production of A Christmas Carol, staged by a professional cast. As the Cornley gang try to make the show work on television, they soon realise they are completely out of their depth, with no idea how to direct a live studio or handle the special effects. Worse still, their internal rivalries are revealed on television, while an angry professional cast tries to get back into the studio.
Following the success of last year's parody review of 2016, Emmy Award-winning director Rhys Thomas has done the same thing again, but about a different year. And it's timely that the year he's doing it about this year is the year that has just happened, 2017. The Brian Pern creator seamlessly re-edits film and television footage from the top twelve months of 2017 to create a spoof take on the year's cultural events, entertainment smashes and other things.
It has been a quarter of a century since a little-known sports reporter was given his own radio chat show by the BBC. Two radio series, five TV series, four specials, two books and one movie later, Alan Partridge has an unrivalled place in the comedy pantheon. To celebrate Alan's return to his rightful home at the BBC in 2018, this retrospective documentary looks back at his journey from broadcaster caricature to the award-winning study of complexity and pathos that he has become.
Bafta Award-winning Kayvan Novak has adapted his critically acclaimed Radio 4 comedy, The Celebrity Voicemail Show, for BBC Three. The programme imagines what it would be like to listen to the voicemails left on a celebrity's answerphone. In this episode, Kayvan imagines the answerphone messages that might have been left for George Lucas midway through his hectic, and often shambolic, first phase of shooting on Star Wars in the Tunisian desert. From Alec Guinness's agent quibbling over a percentage of the unfinished film's gross profits, to an inept special effects technician struggling to find a sound suitable for 'the electric swords'