Archives for April 2011

Steve Pemberton: "Psychoville 2 is coming..."

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Steve Saul | 16:05 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011

Psychoville co-creator Steve Pemberton has composed a special message for you. He even warns those of a spoiler-sensitive disposition to look away before it's too late...

"Hello Blogfans!

I’m delighted to announce that Psychoville Series 2 will finally be hitting your screens on Thursday 5th May, 10pm on BBC Two..

It’s been almost 2 years since the first series went out and Reece and I are nervous about people remembering the show – but to those of you who do recall it I can assure you it’s been worth the wait. I honestly believe it’s the best work we’ve ever done.

There was much unhappiness about the way we ended the first series with a cliffhanger: an explosion in an abandoned asylum where most of our main characters were gathered. Viewers were expecting more of a finale, having followed a twisting and turning narrative over seven episodes, and felt cheated at the end.

Of course it was never our intention to rob people of a conclusion: the first series presented us with questions about a mysterious blackmailer (who was he/she and why were they blackmailing these particular individuals?) and we felt that the ending we’d written provided answers to these questions - but we then wanted to suggest a whole new mystery waiting to unfold.

It’s true we took a gamble as no second series had been commissioned, but thankfully that paid off and we now have a whole new mystery to plunge our characters – and you the viewers – into.

So what can you expect over the coming weeks? Well I’m not a fan of ‘spoilers’ so if you don’t want to know anything at all, then stop reading now.

Steve Pemberton as Mr Lomax


If you’re still reading, then I will remind you that at the end of the Halloween special we heard that there were “two dead, and two more critical” after the explosion, and that the mysterious Grace Andrews (Imelda Staunton) was also looking for the locket belonging to Nurse Kenchington (Eileen Atkins). Episode one will fill you in on who’s alive and who’s dead, and you will be introduced to some new characters such as obsessive librarian Jeremy Goode (played by Reece) and overbearing make-up artist Hattie (me).

There are more shocking revelations, comic set-pieces and dangerous missions as well as blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos from celebrity fans, such as the world-famous Hollywood film director and the popular TV presenter


And of course running alongside this we have created another Psychoville web experience which proved such a hit with fans last time. You will find a new website each week which will give you more back-story on the characters as well as giving you clues as to the secret of Kenchington’s locket.


Collect all the information, break the code and you could come face to face with… ah, that would be telling. Enjoy, and just cross your fingers that we haven’t done a cliffhanger ending again."

Steve Pemberton

John Sullivan's Rock & Chips Blog

Steve Saul | 10:28 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011


While Rock & Chips was in production, John Sullivan kindly wrote this blog post for us. Here is his introduction to tonight's episode, which sadly only leaves us wanting more...

"A manned-rocket is launched from Cape Canaveral and the iconic prayer of "God speed, John Glenn" rings out from the world’s tv sets as we meet 1962 and join the space-race that in seven years time will lead to the moon-landing. The first outer-space circumnavigation of the earth attracts little interest in the Trotter household; Reg is hung-over whilst his wife, Joan, is still deeply in love with local bad-boy Freddie The Frog Robdal.

Meanwhile, Del-Boy and the hounds are drooling over Lambrettas and Vespas as the Mod generation takes its first tentative steps into the big world. Hollywood films are all the go and optimism is high as Del has come up with "the most original idea for a film ever!"

Surprisingly, someone in the "film-industry" hears of Del’s idea and thinks it’s brilliant; "the film of the year", so things are looking up – in more ways than one.

Joan and Fred (and baby Rodney) make plans to sail away to a new life together at Fred’s place by the sea, but there are a couple of minor obstacle; Joan refuses to leave her teenage son behind until she has seen him settled down with a nice girl who will look after him, and, with Del getting engaged on a weekly basis, she feels confident that one of them will eventually stick, and Fred’s arrest for murder also places something of a dampener over their plans.

True to course, Del meets “the beautiful Barbara”, the daughter of a successful and wealthy local businessman and his future seems set to be with the family firm, but (you knew that was coming), to paraphrase Robert Burns, “the plans of mice and mods oft’ go awry”, and, as is becoming the young man’s habit, he let the opportunity slip through his hands with disastrous consequences for Joan’s dream and “the beautiful Barbara’s” family.

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But, in his hour of despair, Del is not to know that literally just round the corner a new and true love awaits him.

February 1962 and a time for decisions : Courage and commitment... or craven cowardice?

Who runs... who stays?

And as they all consider not just their futures but their very next move, John Glenn, albeit unseen, is still whizzing round the earth a few miles above their heads – and The Beatles still haven’t put in an appearance."

Don't miss tonight's episode of Rock & Chips: The Frog and The Pussycat.... 9pm on BBC One.

BBC News has compiled their favourite John Sullivan phrases.

Listen to John Sullivan talk about writing the legendary bar-fall scene.

Take a tour of the Mongrels Set

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Jaine Sykes Jaine Sykes | 13:56 UK time, Wednesday, 27 April 2011


You may have noticed we've been Tweeting and Facebooking from the set of Mongrels today.

Well, we've got a once in a lifetime opportunity for any Mongrels fans out there. How would YOU like the chance to visit the set of Mongrels?

We're offering a few lucky people the chance to come and visit the studio in Twickenham during May to see the puppets filming the second series of their hit BBC Three show.

The tour will include:

  • A tour of the set from the production team, who'll be on hand to answer any Mongrels questions you may have.
  • The chance to watch part of the second series being filmed.
  • A visit to the puppet room where you'll get the chance to have your photo taken with a Mongrels character. You'll also meet some of the new puppets featuring in the second series.
  • The opportunity to meet the art department and check out some of the props from the new series.
  • A sneak preview from the second series before anyone else.

Applications for tickets are now closed. Thanks for applying.

Please note that due to the high demand anticipated and the very limited number of people able to be accommodated on set, please be aware that you may not be selected for any date.

We will however be keeping you up to date with what's happening on the set of Mongrels right here on the BBC Comedy Blog.

Jesting About Showcase

Steve Saul | 16:10 UK time, Thursday, 21 April 2011


Twenty four of the North East’s funniest new writers, performers, animators and filmmakers were under the spotlight at Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema last night, (April 20) for the finale of the BBC North/BBC Vision North and Northern Film & Media (NFM) Jesting About initiative.

Bob Mortimer praised the scheme: “Jesting About has been a great way to give a showcase for some exciting new comedy talent in the North East and I have been really impressed with the range of skills in writing, performing and animation that we have seen on the project.”

Featuring mentoring and a series of creative workshops delivered by comedy icons including Bob Mortimer, Ross Noble, Ian La Frenais, Paul Jackson and Mark Benton, the cross-platform Jesting About initiative is designed to uncover and develop the next generation of North East comedy talent.

The Director of BBC North, Peter Salmon said, "It’s wonderful to find such a wealth of new comedy talent in the North East and I hope this can mark the start of some exciting new content for the BBC in the future."

The full list of Jesting About participants are:

TV Team Writing: Developing a pilot script for a BBC One sitcom.

  • Karen Laws (Newcastle)
  • Bridget Deane (Newcastle)
  • Keith Brumpton (Newcastle)
  • Paul Christian (Preston, studied in Newcastle)
  • Christopher Stanners (Newcastle)

Radio: Creating a half hour radio sketch show for BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees.

  • Gavin Webster (Newcastle)
  • John Scott (Newcastle)
  • Holly Burn (Newcastle)
  • Dave Metcalf, Andrew Kirkwood and Jamie McLeish (Sunderland)
  • Rob Gilroy (Gateshead)
  • Nitin Kundra (Newcastle)
  • Trevor Fox and Joe Caffrey (Newcastle)
  • Will and Owen Cooper (Newcastle)


  • Nick Lewis (Whitley Bay)
  • James Harris and Ben Klimmeck (Guisborough)
  • Alex Collier (Sunderland)
  • Claire Storey Lambert representing Dene Films (Newcastle)
  • Lee Fenwick (South Shields)
  • James Boughen (Stockton on Tees)

The final 24 candidates from across the North East were short listed from over 200 applications.

The radio sketch show will be broadcast on BBC Tees at 7pm on Friday 22 April and on BBC Newcastle at 9.30am on Monday 2 May with a repeat at 6.30pm.

Psychoville 2: Reece & Steve interview

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Steve Saul | 15:22 UK time, Thursday, 21 April 2011

Psychoville characters


Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton - co-creators, writers and performers behind dark comedy classic Psychoville - talk about Series 2...

How did the second series come about? Did you already have an idea what the plot would be after the end of the first series?

Reece: Well we didn’t know if we would get a second series but we had to dare to think that we might. So at the end of the first series we put something in that we thought could work as a springboard for a story in the second series.

Happily we did get the second series and so the thing which infuriated a lot of people at the end of the first series, which was Nurse Kenchington coming back from the dead looking for this mysterious locket, becomes the driving force for the second series.

What can viewers expect from Series Two?

Steve: We knew it would be important to have another overarching mystery for the second series. We have a character called Grace Andrews, played by Imelda Staunton who is desperately trying to track down Nurse Kenchington’s missing locket and she believes that, rightly, one of the former Ravenhill patients has the locket. The mystery is why she wants it and what is she going to use it for?

Can you tell us anything about who may have survived the fateful blast at Ravehill?

Steve: No. If we had our way we wouldn’t want to reveal anything at all before the show airs but we are going to have trailers and pictures, so it is quite tricky.

Reece: There are more characters than you would expect who survive.

Do you ever worry about pushing boundaries and going too far?

Steve: We are aware of it but I don’t think we had many of those discussions on series two. You have to be careful with language, I think very often it is language which gets you into trouble and you know what those words are to avoid.

Can you tell us about some of the new characters in series two and where the inspiration for them came from?

Reece: I play a new character called Jeremy Goode, who is a librarian who becomes very pedantic about a book not being returned to the library, which is a funny situation at the beginning because of how exacting he is about it. The lengths he goes to to get the book back become more and more extreme.

Steve: And then we have the character of Hattie, who is a make up artist who becomes embroiled in a fake wedding to keep her gay friend’s Iranian boyfriend in the country. She seems all very sweetness and light as if she is happy to participate in the wedding but she takes it rather too seriously even though it is a sham wedding. I don’t think she has many redeeming features, I think we forgot to do that with her!

There is a new online experience for fans once again – what can people expect this time round?

Reece: Yes, we’ve done the same if not more websites for the second series in a similar vein to what we did for the first series, which you can discover at The second series is very much an investigation so we very much ran with that online.

There is a new web page to go with a character or part of the mystery to unravel each week and there are questions to be answer and along the way you get a lot of content - exclusive videos and other things. For the first week there is a website for FOCCE - the Federation of Clowns and Children’s Entertainers.

Don't miss our blog post revealing the new characters and familiar faces in the new show.

Clicky the link if you missed the Halloween Special.

Swat up on Psychoville Series 1 before the new show begins Thursday 5th May, 10pm on BBC Two.

Psychoville 2 - Meet the Characters

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Jon Aird | 10:26 UK time, Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Here for the first time are the beautiful new character stills from Psychoville series two. Some familiar faces, and some new ones. We can't wait to meet them all when the series starts on 5th May.

Mr Jelly

Reece Shearsmith as Mr Jelly

An embittered hook-handed clown and children's entertainer. Mr Jelly is tormented by the success of his rival Mr Jolly, who, to add insult to injury, was the cause of Mr Jelly’s hook hand. Jelly was amongst those trapped by Mr Jolly in Ravenhill at the end of the first series. Did he manage to make it out alive?


David Sowerbutts

Steve Pemberton as David Sowerbutts

A serial-killer-obsessed man-child. David became embroiled in a series of murders with his mum Maureen during the first series. A former patient of Ravenhill, because of his apparent role in the death of his father, David is very (some would say too) close to his mother.


Maureen Sowerbutts

Reece Shearsmith as Maureen Sowerbutts

Maureen is David's mum and while she is not as interested in serial killers as her son (she prefers jigsaws), she indulges his passion. After embarking on a killing spree with David to cover up his first 'bad murder', at the end of the first series Maureen discovered the truth behind their actions and decided it was time to end it all.

Joy Aston

Dawn French as Joy Aston

A desperately misguided midwife with a very odd child. Joy’s dream of bringing little Freddie Fruitcake to life seemed to have become reality at the end of the first series, but did she and little Freddie manage to get out of Ravenhill alive?


George Aston

Steve Pemberton as George Aston

Joy's hapless husband who turned out to be having an affair with her colleague Nicola.

Mr Lomax

Steve Pemberton as Mr Lomax

A blind, avaricious collector of commodities, who sold his eyes to the Crabtree sisters for the sake of his collection. After winning the quest to get his hands back on Snappy the crocodile, Lomax ended up trapped by Mr Jolly in Ravenhill. Did he manage to escape with his life?


Michael 'Tealeaf' Fry

Daniel Kaluuya as Michael 'Tealeaf' Fry

Lomax's put upon care worker, Tealeaf ended up trapped at Ravenhill when the explosion happened. Did he survive?

Jeremy Goode

Reece Shearsmith as Jeremy Goode

An over-zealous librarian, Jeremy prides himself on going to whatever lengths are necessary to ensure that books are returned to the library.

Silent Singer

Silent Singer

An eerie character with a strange hold over Jeremy.


Steve Pemberton as Hattie

Hattie is a make-up artist who once did Bonnie Tyler's make-up.

Peter Bishop

Jason Watkins as Peter Bishop

Owner of Hoyti Toyti, an antique shop specialising in toys.

Debbie Hart

Daisy Haggard as Debbie Hart

Actress Debbie is still beautiful and still not very smart.

Robert Greenspan

Jason Tompkins as Robert Greenspan

A love-struck, supposedly telekinetic dwarf. After discovering that fellow dwarf Kerry was actually the one with telekinetic powers, the end of the first series saw Robert trapped in a house in the deepest, darkest woods at the hands of Kerry and her Grandma.


Grace Andrews

Imelda Staunton as Grace Andrews

A shadowy figure who has mysterious motives, a sharp-suit and an even sharper haircut.


Daniel Ings as Kelvin

Andrews' inept henchman.


Psychoville series two begins on Thursday 5th May at 10:00pm on BBC Two.

Straight after episode one, the new online Psychoville Experience begins on

Keep up to date on the Psychoville Facebook Page.

Candy Cabs Q&A: Danielle and Lu

Steve Saul | 16:44 UK time, Tuesday, 19 April 2011

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It's the last episode of Candy Cabs tonight (21.00, BBC One). Watch out teaser clip (above) and read the final Candy Cabs Q&A interview. Danielle Henry and Lu Corfield answer your questions...

BBC Comedy: What was it like working on Candy Cabs, compared to working on other shows?

Lu Corfield: The biggest chunk of magic was given to us by Minkie Spiro, our Director. She took six Candy Girls and turned us into a family. Think about it. A cast lead by six feisty females? It could have been a nightmare if any egos sneaked into the mix but, instead, I met a group of lasses (and lads) whose friendship I'll now treasure for life.

Danielle Henry: I've been lucky enough to work on shows like Torchwood and Survivors in the past which are quite action-packed. Candy Cabs has been the most homely and family-feeling.

BBC Comedy: Who made you laugh the most during filming?

Danielle Henry: Jodie Prenger always made me laugh, she's so silly. She tells the most horrendous jokes...

Lu Corfield: That is an impossible question – all of them! If you’re talking about who made me want to corpse the most, then it has to be Paul Kaye. He is very talented, very naughty, and we became great mates.

BBC Comedy: When you are in a taxi do you prefer a chatty cab driver or one that keeps to themselves?

Danielle Henry: It depends on what mood I'm in. If I've had a few drinks I'll often end up wanting to put the world to rights with a taxi driver.

Lu Corfield: I think the best cabbies are the ones who gauge their passengers’ mood.

BBC Comedy: How much from Heel Hempstead to Heathrow Airport?

Danielle Harvey: £70?!?

Lu Corfield: That depends. Are you asking me or Big Pam? I’d be tempted to take you round the houses, whereas Pam would always do an honest deal. Throw in a bar of dairy milk and she might even give you a discount…

Thank you for reading our Candy Cabs Q&A trilogy. Enjoy the finale tonight!

Candy Cabs Q&A: Claire, Jodie and Melanie

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Steve Saul | 10:59 UK time, Tuesday, 19 April 2011

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Don't miss the last episode of Candy Cabs tonight (21.00, BBC One). Before you watch that, read our interviews with the stars of Candy Cabs. Next up? Claire Sweeney, Jodie Prenger and Melanie Hill answer your questions...

BBC Comedy: What did you all enjoy most about filming Candy Cabs and what were your favourite moments on set?

Jodie Prenger: You know you just voting beat that family atmosphere you had on set.. We all had such a good laugh. I don't think you could have put a better team together.

Melanie Hill: My fave days were up in west Kirby... The coast was AMAZING, the weather great and the writers Jo and Elliott were on set and we had a lovely time.

BBC Comedy: Who made you laugh the most whilst filming?

Claire Sweeney: Paul kaye made me laugh most! He was so unpredictable... and I found it most disturbing that I started to find his character attractive!

Jodie Prenger: That Mel hill had slot to answer for I tell ya. Some of stellas lines and the way she delivers them has you in a great deal of concentration ad not to laugh...bloody love her

Melanie Hill: "The Sween" as I call her! Lovely Claire made me howl... the best stories and dirty laff!

BBC Comedy: When you are in a taxi do you prefer a chatty cab driver or one that keeps to themselves?

Jodie Prenger: Depends on what side of the bed you get out of. But I hate a miserable bugger so I say chat away.

Melanie Hill: I have to say when I am in a taxi, I hate it when the driver chats all the way... unless I've had a few drinks, then I get him or her to play some groovy tunes and chat for England.

Claire Sweeney: I think I prefer a chatty driver especially if I'm in a new city they always have the best lowdown although I do tend to pretend I know the area so I don't get ripped off and taken the long route.

BBC Comedy: How much from Hemel Hempstead to Heathrow Airport?

Melanie Hill: Ha!!! Ya got me! NO idea.

Jodie Prenger: Give us a fiver and a bag of sweeties.

Claire Sweeney: I reckon about eighty quid that journey

Don't miss the last episode of Candy Cabs (tonight, 21.00 on BBC One).

The final Candy Cabs Q&A will follow shortly...

Candy Cabs Q&A: Jo and Lisa

Steve Saul | 18:30 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

It's the last episode of Candy Cabs tonight (21.00, BBC One). If you can't wait, here's Candy Cabs Q&A. We put your questions to the stars of Candy Cabs. First up? Jo Joyner and Lisa Millett...

BBC Comedy: What was it like working on Candy Cabs, compared to working on other shows, like Eastenders?

Jo Joyner: It was nice to work up north in the sunshine all on location with lots of women. At Eastenders I'm always in the same studio down. Down south we hardly ever get out. Change is always nice. The biggest difference was filming something with a beginning, middle and end. We never know where things are leading at Eastenders, like burying your husband alive!

Lisa Millett: One favourite moment has to be filming on a speed boat! Trust me when I say I am the very opposite of an adrenalin junkie! I'm an adrenalin FLUNKIE! Scared of fast things, water - I can't swim - nearly drowned when I was seven.... need I go on?


Dreaded the day arriving when I had to film on the boat. The cast and crew were all very supportive, knowing how mentally terrified and physically sick I was. Jo was the guardian angel of the day.

We were so like our characters that day, me properly having a marigold moment and Jo looking after me and telling me she was not going to let anything bad happen to me, and she would not let me drown!

BBC Comedy: Who made you laugh the most whilst filming? And why?

Jo Joyner: It's a hard one. Lisa (as Elaine) would very often have me in stitches, but then Melanie Hill (who plays Stella) just has funny bones!

BBC Comedy: Did you all do your own driving or were there lots of 'stunt' drivers?

Lisa Millett: I think I'm an excellent driver as long as I don't have to reverse, park or hit a mark on the floor that you can only see if you are strapped to the under carriage of the taxi!

Jo Joyner: I did all my own driving except for some of the helicopter shots of all the cars, as we were usually busy filming elsewhere.

BBC Comedy: When you are in a taxi do you prefer a chatty cab driver or one that keeps to themselves?

Jo Joyner: Oooh, depends what mood I'm in! If it's a long journey and I have a lot of work to do or lines to learn then I like quiet. If it's a quick jaunt into town on a night out then I like the stories!

Lisa Millett: There's got to be a balance, hasn't there? Cabbies that don't speak  at all are a little disconcerting and those that talk your ear off are equally off putting. It depends where you are going and why really.

A taxi driver once refused to take me somewhere because he'd already been that way today! Then he did take me and then proceeded to explain his dislike of the route in intricate detail. How many cameras there were, and his theory on what speed cameras were really there fo... his ex-wife apparantly had contacts at the council and was keeping tabs on him.

Other drivers have cracking stories if you're willing to listen... the naked man abandoned on his stag do and the Staffordshire cabbie who on his first week was sent to "2 Heath Row in Stoke-on-Trent." Guess where he went? Terminal 2!

BBC Comedy: How much from Hemel Hempstead to Heathrow Airport?

Lisa Millett: Er, just get the train!

Jo Joyner: For you love... nothing x

Don't miss the last episode of Candy Cabs (tonight, 21.00 on BBC One).

More Candy Cabs Q&As to follow tomorrow...

In With The Flynns

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Steve Saul | 15:37 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

Mighty Will Mellor will be flexing his comedy muscles for BBC Comedy once more...

Will Mellor, Warren Clarke, Niky Wardley and Craig Parkinson star in a new six-part comedy for BBC One about what real family life is like when you’re holding down jobs, raising three kids, and having to deal with an irresponsible brother and cantankerous dad.

Will Mellor says: “I had a great time working with a fantastic cast. I can’t wait to see what the public thinks of it.”

In With The Flynns is a warm, authentic, half-hour comedy series made by Caryn Mandabach Productions for BBC One.

Caryn Mandabach is a highly-respected US comedy producer who has worked on comedy classics like The Cosby Show, Roseanne, 3rd Rock From The Sun, That 70s Show and Nurse Jackie.

My Favourite Joke

Steve Saul | 15:09 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

My Favourite Joke is a brand new primetime comedy archive programme for BBC One from Open Mike Productions...

My Favourite Joke will treat viewers to an exclusive insight into what makes the nation’s most loved comedians and performers laugh the most. Contributors will share the stories behind the joke, describe how it influenced them, and divulge why it is their favourite joke of all time.

Each 30 minute programme will feature stars from the world of comedy describing their individually chosen favourite joke. Confirmed contributors so far include: Jonathan Ross, Jack Dee, Graham Norton, Jo Brand, Sean Lock, Joan Rivers, Alan Carr, Dara O Briain, Lenny Henry, Rich Hall, Jack Whitehall, Jason Manford, Kevin Bridges, Micky Flanagan, Pamela Stephenson and Jimmy Tarbuck.

Whether an iconic moment in stand-up comedy, favourite comedy sketch or most memorable moment from a sitcom... My Favourite Joke not only provides an insight into what inspires today’s comedy icons but also gives viewers the chance to enjoy classic archive footage from comedy history.

Twenty Twelve to return!

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Steve Saul | 20:00 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011


Here at BBC Comedy HQ we've noticed a lot of love for Twenty Twelve, so we wanted to be the first to break the good news...

Twenty Twelve will return for a second series.

That's right, our cameras will continue to follow the Olympics Deliverence team as they sprint closer and closer to next year's main event.

Ian Fletcher, Head of Deliverance says: "Obviously I think damage has already been done to the smooth-running of our department by allowing the BBC cameras in. Personally, I don't want it to continue. But upstairs says it's going to. So that's all good."

In the second series the pressure mounts as the team try to navigate their way through such delicate issues as:

  • How to handle the Algerian team's demand for a mosque in the Olympic village.
  • How to carry out a Legacy Audit on the rival bids for the Stadium when no-one knows what a Legacy Audit is.
  • Budgetary concerns such as how to deliver value for money when there isn’t any money.

The only thing that’s certain is that the clock (at least when it’s working) will continue to tick inexorably downwards as this small group of men and women paddle even faster in their efforts to deliver the greatest show on earth.

Executive producer Jon Plowman said: “We are really delighted that we have been granted permission to follow the Olympic Deliverance team again as they near the climax of their deliverance."

Until the second series, let's not say "goodbye." No, let's just say "on your marks, get set, adieu."

Don't miss the final episode of this series (Monday 18th April, 22.00 on BBC Four).

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Can the team put these controversial #TwentyTwelve tweets in the past before Series 2?

Don't get suckered into buying fake tickets just because we're 'between series'.

Will these London landmarks get converted into Olympic Venues before the team return?

HIGNFY: Andrew Lansley

Steve Saul | 13:01 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011



Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has had a tough few days. How can his Groundhog Day of political pain possible get any worse?

Read the rest of this entry

Return to Psychoville

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Jon Aird | 09:30 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011


Psychoville characters


At last it's back! Psychoville returns to BBC Two at the beginning of May for a brand new series. The exact date and time is still locked in a Ravenhill case file but we can share a few juicy details about the opening episode...

In the dramatic conclusion of the first series, the relationship between our seemingly unconnected characters was revealed and they were drawn back to the scene of their crime by a vengeful Mr Jolly.

The survivors of the explosion at Ravenhill Hospital are reunited to bury one of their number killed in the blast. But there is to be no rest for the wicked as new mysteries beckon.

Watching over the former inmates is the mysterious Grace Andrews (Imelda Staunton) and her inept henchman Kelvin (Daniel Ings). Meanwhile Detective Finney (Mark Bonnar) starts to question the survivors in an attempt to find out more about Kenchington's return from the dead and her hunt for a missing locket.

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Welcome back David Jason!

Steve Saul | 17:10 UK time, Wednesday, 13 April 2011


David Jason is to star in a brand new BBC One comedy series for the first time in 20 years, since the last full series of Only Fools and Horses.

The Royal Bodyguard sees David play Captain Guy Hubble, a life-long soldier coming up for retirement who has recently been put in charge of Royal security. An ex-guardsman who saw action in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, he sounds perfect for the job.

Unfortunately, he turns out to be the worst possible appointment as he is totally out of his depth. He should never have got the job, having previously worked in the car park at Buckingham Palace, but owing to a terrible misunderstanding, he's been promoted with the Queen's blessing to this important role.

The fate of the Royal Family is in the hands of this walking disaster as he supervises security arrangements for all their engagements.

David Jason says: “I am really looking forward to working with the very talented producer Jimmy Mulville, and working on a great comedy project with the BBC. It will be good to have a laugh again!”

Filming begins in July. Watch this space for more news about the return of a living legend to BBC Comedy.

Can't wait? 'Ave a ganders (sigh) at our Only Fools and Horses clips.

Don't forget there's another serving of Only Fools and Horses prequel Rock and Chips on the 28th April.

Read our blog about the moment the old Del Boy met, erm, the boy Del Boy on the set of Rock and Chips.

The Rob Brydon Show needs YOU!

Steve Saul | 09:57 UK time, Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Rob Brydon's chat show is back and he's looking for funny people to banter with via the medium of audience participation. Want to be in the audience? Here's how...

"The Rob Brydon Show is back and we're looking for people with funny, interesting stories to be in our audience.

Have you got something you want to share? Do you have an unusual job? Or a strange hobby? Did you meet your partner in an bizarre way? Do you have a funny holiday story? Are you fanatical about anything?

If you have anything funny or interesting you’d like to share with us we’d LOVE to hear from you.

Please get in touch ASAP by sending an email to

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Life of Riley: Danny Interview

Steve Saul | 18:00 UK time, Monday, 11 April 2011


To celebrate the return of Life of Riley (Wednesday, 20.30 on BBC One) we interviewed Danny... aka Taylor Fawcett.

BBC Comedy: How has Danny changed?

Taylor Fawcett: He’s older, obviously. Danny’s a year younger than me. He’s sixteen. He’s a bit more independent. It’s nice because he doesn’t have to be written into every scene, he can come and go. It’s also nice because after three years it’s easier to act brotherly teasing with love and not nastiness, if you know what I mean.

BBCC: What does Series 3 have in store for The Rileys?

TF: Chaos. Absolute chaos. Margaret’s getting married. The kids think it’s a bit weird but Maddie is disgusted. Ted’s Dad brings home a snake...

BBCC: You’ve got a lot of experience as TV Comedy Actor. Would you ever try stand-up?

TF: I would like to do stand up. I think it’s amazing. The way comedians have to react and play off audiences so fast. I don’t know if I could do it but I’d love to try. I’m hoping to go to university so maybe that’s a good place to start.

BBCC: What are you hoping to study at uni?

TF: Well I’ve got to pass my exams first but I’d like to study TV Production. I love acting but I’m equally interested in the technical side. I’d love to try other things like directing, presenting, drama... but who knows?

I love comedy acting. Especially on Life of Riley where we’re lucky to perform before a live audience. I've learnt things like learning to deliver lines with a pause for the laugh but at the same time keeping the scene alive and flowing.

BBCC: What would you like to see writer Georgia Pritchett do with Danny’s character in the future?

Georgia is so clever. She throws out so many ideas all the time, at readings, at rehearsals, on set. There's so much I’d like to do. Learning to drive, turning eighteen...

BBCC: Has working on three series together created a feeling of family off-camera too?

TF: Yeah. Caroline Quentin and Neil Dudgeon are great. You can always ask them for advice about how to deliver a line. It’s not just the cast, it's the same people on the production team too. It’s long hours, so it’s great to work with all these friendly faces again.

Can't wait for Wednesday? Let Taylor, Lucinda and Patrick show you around The Riley household...

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Fancy a sneaky peak at the first episode of the new series? Check out this preview clip in which Maddy and Jim discuss what would happen if the worst came to the worst.

Candy Cabs Q&A

Steve Saul | 16:10 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011


We noticed a lot of love for the stars of Candy Cabs as the first episode went out, so here's your chance to interview them...

Loving our new comedy drama Candy Cabs? Us too. We thought we'd give you a chance to ask our Jo, Lisa, Melanie, Claire, Jodie, Lu and Danielle your questions about starring in the show.

  • Did anyone go method and a do a shift at a real cab rank?
  • What was it was like to film the weigh-in scene?
  • Did the boys behave like perfect gentlemen during filming?
  • Who gets the best love scene?
  • Does Jo think Jackie should get involved with a younger man?

How to send your questions:

Make sure you get your question to us by 10am on Thursday 14th April, we'll pick a selection of the best ones and then we'll post their answers here before next week's episode.

You can watch Candy Cabs on tonight, 9pm on BBC One or catch up with the last episode on iPlayer.

Writing Beauty of Britain

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Steve Saul | 12:27 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011


Writers Christopher Douglas (Ed Reardon's Week) and Nicola Sanderson talk about writing radio comedy Beauty of Britain and finding genuine humour in the most difficult and profound places...

"I've not got that thing that begins with 'D' where you forget stuff" was how our friend's dad put it. Most people's first experience of dementia begins when they hear (or say) something like that. And even though there's misery in store for everyone involved there's a strong thread of laughter running through the experience - or that's what we found anyway.

When we decided to write about this subject we wondered whether to tell the story from our point of view - the stressed-out relatives - or should we try to see the world through the eyes of the person living with Alzheimer's?

Should Scene One start in the office of two fascinating, slim, conventionally attractive, acerbic yet endlessly compassionate writers? Or should we create a confusing wobbly world of disembodied voices saying things that don't make sense? But that might seem like another series about boozing.

Some months after Chris's dad died, it occurred to us that there was a third point of view - that of the African care-worker who's parachuted into other people's family crises at a time when nobody's behaving very rationally. And that's how we came up with the central character of our show, Beauty Olonga.

Here is a clip of Beauty in action:

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Handily for us, Beauty has a forthright nature so we can say whatever we like about Britain and what's wrong with pretty much everyone who lives here - the dysfunctional families, the overheated houses, the cauliflower cheese addiction, disappointing church services, etc.

Even more fortunately we got Jocelyn Jee Esien to play Beauty, albeit under slightly false pretences. She agreed because we said we were recording on location. By the time she realised the locations were our house, the street and various disused offices and empty stairwells at the BBC it was too late for her to back out.

For this second series we've also persuaded the following to work in our bathroom, kitchen and back garden: Julia Mackenzie, Geoffrey Palmer, Felix Dexter, Clive Swift, Phyllida Law, Oscar James, Vicky Pepperdine, Morwenna Banks and Indira Joshi, Felicity Montagu and Patterson Joseph.

Exclusive celebrity gossip: reassuringly, Geoffrey Palmer's biscuit of choice is a milk-chocolate digestive, Vicky Pepperdine enjoys a decaff and Paterson Joseph brings his own tea-bags of Redbush tea."

Click here to listen to Episode 1 on iPlayer before tuning into the next show on Wednesday, 11.30 on BBC Radio 4.

Wedding Videos

Steve Saul | 18:21 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

Help us create the ultimate collection of BBC Comedy wedding moments...

Dear Comedy Blog readers,

You are cordially invited to help us choose a collection of classic wedding clips for our latest collection from the comedy archive.

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It's pretty hard to beat that shock proposal from Sean Bean in The Vicar of Dibley, but which marital moments from the BBC Archives should we vow to renew?

We don't want to recycle the same old clips either.

Can you think of any hidden gems that clip shows always overlook? Are there any forgotten sitcom scenes, sketches or stand up routines that we've broadcast over the years that never get the love, respect and adoration they deserve?

If we can find them, we'll do everything we can to use them. We do need your suggestions quickly though as there's an event on April 29th we're trying to plan this for.

Thanks all.

RSVP in the comments below, on Facebook or tweet us your suggestions (adding the hashtag #ComedyWeddings).

Twenty Twelve: How to spot a fake ticket

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Jaine Sykes Jaine Sykes | 16:35 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

Fake ticket merchants are already emerging for the 2012 London Olympics. As a result, the Twenty Twelve team offer up their advice to prevent being fooled by fake tickets...

Where can I purchase my tickets from?

Comparison of the Twenty Twelve website and a ticket tout

DO: Apply for tickets online by visiting the ticketing section of the official ODC website, which you can find simply by typing the following internet address into your web browser:

Once there, just complete the simple 15-step process to register your interest in the concept of buying a ticket, and we'll call you back.

DON'T: Buy tickets from other websites, friends, relatives, competing athletes (it happens) or people in the street. Be warned: some fraudsters will show you official looking ID with words such as 'Official 2012 ticket seller' printed on them. Do not be fooled by the use of the word 'official' - these IDs are not real and nor are the people holding them. REMEMBER: anyone can spell 'oficial'.


How do I spot a fake ticket?

Genuine 2012 tickets benefit from state-of-the-art anti-fraud technology, including watermarking, holograms, lasers and nice paper. However, fraudsters are becoming increasingly high-tech in their methods, and it is not always easy to spot a fake. Here are just a few things to watch out for:


Comparison of the Twenty Twelve hologram and unofficial holograms

Genuine 2012 tickets will feature a hologram of Boris Johnson. On fake tickets it might just be a photo, a drawing, or worst of all, no Boris at all. Check your ticket carries a genuine hologram. If the hologram is genuine it will look like Boris is really looking at you. If Boris isn't looking at you, call the police.


Comparison of the Twenty Twelve ticket and a Beijing ticket

Check the date of the event printed on the ticket. All the events in the 2012 Olympics will take place in the year 2012. If your ticket features an event date from any other year (i.e.: 2008, 2020, 1983, 1901, 2013, etc.) then it is almost certainly either a fake or from a different Olympics.


Comparison of the Twenty Twelve ticket and a fake ticket

Always pay attention to the detail on your tickets. Note how the word 'twelve' has been misspelt in the picture above right - this is a sure sign of a fake. Other commonly misspelt words include 'athletic', 'committee', 'miscellaneous' and 'Judaism', although none of these words appear on 2012 tickets (except for 'Judaism').


What should I do if I am sold a fake ticket?

Don't panic. There are a number of options open to you:

OPTION ONE: Put it down to experience and try not to do it again.

OPTION TWO: Try returning your ticket to the tout or touts from whom you purchased it. Though anecdotal evidence suggests that full refunds are 'relatively rare'.

OPTION THREE: Sell it on to someone else. The ODC in no way condones the illegal recirculation of fake tickets... But, technically, it is an option.

(c) 2012 Olympic Deliverance Committee 2011

How To Spot A Fake Ticket was written by Larry Rickard.

More from Twenty Twelve:



Twenty Twelve continues every Monday evening at 10pm on BBC Four.

Candy Cabs

Post categories:

Steve Saul | 11:00 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

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Our new comedy-drama Candy Cabs starts tomorrow (9pm on BBC One). To celebrate, writers Johanne McAndrew and Elliot Hope explain the premise behind the writing the show...

When Jane Lush, Executive Producer at Splash Productions (and former BBC Controller) approached us with the idea for a female-only taxi company, we could immediately see the potential for a fun-filled series. Especially when she said the cabs had to be shocking pink - and would probably serve low-cost sparkling wine from a cooler on the back seat and have their own plugged-in hair straighteners. Happy days - chuck a karaoke machine in and you've got every girl's dream!

We wanted to create a show that was feel-good, funny and aspirational, although our ladies are always battling to keep their business afloat and make a living, despite their personal and domestic crises. Basically it would be Auf Wiedersehen Pet for girls.

The key remit was to find that fine balance between pathos and laughs; creating a group of characters an audience will invest in and want to see again and again. Easier said than done - it's by no means an exact science and it doesn't stop with a finished shooting script.

We both feel we've been blessed with a fantastic cast and several pairs of very safe hands throughout the scripting and production process. So hopefully, after all the hard work, there's a little bit of Candy Cabs that everyone can enjoy.

As a comedy writing partnership, we've been working (and living!) together for more than 15 years. Yes, this is madness but there are advantages. You don't have to get dressed (or washed) for work plus you do get to watch loads of daytime telly - all in the name of 'research' of course!

But it's not all about the art of lolling on the couch. Anyone who's ever seen The Shining will know the full horror of being trapped together with nothing more than a family sized bag of mini Twixes and the glow of a blank laptop computer screen to keep you going through the long nights before a deadline looms!

More from Candy Cabs:



Candy Cabs starts on Tuesday 5 April at 9pm on BBC One.

HIGNY: Hitler House

Steve Saul | 15:09 UK time, Friday, 1 April 2011



If you've been online at all this week, you've probably seen the web phenonmenon that is the Hitler House by now. If you haven't, it's a house. That looks like Hitler. Brace yourselves for the next wave of inanimate lookalikes...


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