Retort, FremantleMedia UK’s label specialising in scripted comedy, and Komedia Entertainment have secured a 6x30-minute series, Count Arthur Strong, for BBC Two, commissioned by Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, and Gregor Sharp, Executive Editor, Comedy.
Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd, Father Ted, Black Books), will work with Steve Delaney, the creator of Sony Award-winning radio character Count Arthur Strong, to take the character on the full journey from Edinburgh cult to a national television treasure.
Count Arthur Strong is a fictional comedy character created by comedian Steve Delaney. He is an elderly pompous show-business legend… though really just an out-of-work deluded thespian originally from Doncaster, in the north of England.
Delaney's geriatric creation is a mixture of physical and mental clumsiness, mirthful malapropisms and Tourettic tics, whose pride forbids him from ever conceding fallibility, even as his world crashes around him.
Delaney created the Count Arthur character in the 1980s when he was a drama student at Central School of Speech and Drama in London. In 1997 Delaney resurrected Strong for the Edinburgh Fringe, an outing that gained a commendation from the Perrier Award panel. Further runs at Edinburgh gained the character cult status, with fellow comics, including Ross Noble and Noel Fielding, being particularly vocal in their support of the character.
In 2003 Count Arthur appeared regularly as a guest on Mark Radcliffe's BBC Radio 2 Show. In 2005 he was given his own BBC Radio 4 series entitled Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show! The series, now in its seventh season, won the Sony Radio Award for Best Comedy in 2009.
Graham Linehan says: "I've loved Count Arthur for many years and it's a dream come true to be able to work with him.”
Stephen Delaney, adds: "I've loved Graham Linehan for many years and it's a dream come true to be able to work with him. I'm sure that nothing will go wrong. (That's seven more words than him as well).”
Gregor Sharp says: “We are absolutely delighted to see Graham and Steve join the immensely talented group of writers and comedians making brilliant shows across the BBC channels.”
Executive Producer Richard Daws, Komedia, says: "Having made Count Arthur Strong a fixture of BBC Radio Comedy, our 'dream team' collaboration with Retort gives us the opportunity to make the character a fixture in the BBC TV Comedy schedule."
Jon Rolph, Managing Director of Retort, and Executive Producer, comments: “Graham and Steve are two mighty talents and we're thrilled that Retort is helping to bring them together for BBC Two."
The series is currently being written by Linehan and Delaney and will go into production later this year. Executive producers are Jon Rolph for Retort, Richard Daws for Komedia and Gregor Sharp for the BBC, and the series will be produced by Richard Boden.
We are absolutely delighted to see Graham and Steve join the immensely talented group of writers and comedians making brilliant shows across the BBC channels.”