BBC Films is bringing the BAFTA-winning stars of hit BBC kids' show Horrible Histories to the big screen in BILL, a new comedy film about Shakespeare – or how Bill became William.
Shooting later this year in the UK, BILL is a Cowboy Films/Punk Cinema production for BBC Films and stars the six lead Horrible Histories cast - Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond. All will play multiple roles in BILL, in the style of the Python films.
BILL is an original script by Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond, developed with BBC Films and Richard Bracewell (The Gigolos), who will direct. Producers are Charles Steel at Cowboy Films (The Last King Of Scotland, How I Live Now) and Tony Bracewell and Richard Bracewell at Punk Cinema. Joe Oppenheimer at BBC Films will executive produce.
BILL tells the story of how hopeless lute player Bill Shakespeare leaves his family and home to follow his dream. It’s a tale of murderous kings, spies, lost loves, and a plot to blow up Queen Elizabeth. Can one man prove the quill is mightier than the sword?
Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond say: “BILL is a comedy adventure for all the family. We're playing with history, just as Shakespeare did, for the entertainment of the audience. And we like to think he'd be OK with it. Apart from the bit where he's dressed as a tomato."
“We’re thrilled that BBC Films is making the first film starring this team of incredibly talented and popular British comedy writers and performers,” comments Christine Langan, Head of BBC Films. “BILL will be a film for all the family to enjoy with original British talent telling a very funny story about Shakespeare.”
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Notes to editors
The fifth series of BBC TV’s ‘Horrible Histories’ will air at the end of May. The show has won five Children’s BAFTAs, with another eight nominations since 2009. In 2010, it won Best Children’s Programme at the RTS Awards, and Best Sketch Show on TV at the British Comedy Awards in 2010 and 2011. Last year, it was awarded the Rose d’Or in Montreux for Best Children’s Programme.
Laurence Rickard has written for Horrible Histories since its inception, and for The Armstrong & Miller Show and The Impressions Show With Jon Culshaw.
Ben Willbond won Perrier Award for Best Newcomer at Edinburgh in 1999. TV and movie credits include The Thick of It, Rev, Extras, Starter for Ten and The Gigolos. His short film Tooty’s Wedding, which Ben co-wrote with Laura Solon, was selected for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. In January, Tooty’s Wedding won the Short Film Discovery Award at LOCO LONDON at BFI Southbank.