The award-winning, critically acclaimed comedy Episodes, written by visionary creators David Crane (Friends) and Jeffrey Klarik (Mad About You) and produced by Hat Trick Productions for Showtime and the BBC, returns for a second series on BBC Two from 11 May 2012 at 10pm.
Matt LeBlanc plays an outrageous version of himself, a dazzling, multifaceted role for which he won a Golden Globe and received an Emmy nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy. Stephen Mangan (Green Wing and Dirk Gently) and Tamsin Greig (Black Books and Friday Night Dinner), two of the crown jewels of British comedy, are Sean and Beverly Lincoln, an English couple whose BAFTA-winning sitcom is remade for US audiences and corrupted beyond recognition.
In series one, Sean and Beverly are lured to Hollywood to adapt their much-loved British boarding-school sitcom, “Lyman’s Boys”. However, the intelligent original is soon mangled by the US TV system into “Pucks!” for which the network insist on replacing the lead actor (an elderly, erudite Shakespearean veteran played by Richard Griffiths) with Matt LeBlanc and turning the character into a hockey coach.
Matt comes on board, and soon Sean and Beverly find themselves in a complicated triangle which threatens to destroy not only their TV show, but also their marriage. By the end of the first series, all three are bloodied and bruised, with hearts broken and friendships ruined.
That’s when the network calls to give them the good news: their show is being picked up for a full series. On Matt’s excitement, and Sean and Beverly’s dismay, we end the series knowing that they’ll be forced to work together despite the complete mess they’ve made of their lives.
The second series picks up four months after the end of the first. Sean and Beverly’s marriage has been blown apart by Beverly’s fling with Matt, and Matt’s friendship with Sean appears to be beyond salvage. But as their sitcom “Pucks!” is about to premiere, all three are forced to find a way to continue working together.
As the series progresses, we are plunged deeper into the twisted world of making television. It’s a portrait gallery of megalomaniac network executives, surgically-enhanced actresses and naked stalkers who appear unexpectedly in your kitchen.
Through it all, Sean and Beverly struggle to rediscover the love they had when they started their American adventure, while Matt struggles to reclaim the stardom that was once his.
Matt says: “When the second season starts, we are all doing our best to navigate this awkward love triangle. People ask which Matt is the real me, but the writers will take a seed from my real life and grow it into an idea. I don’t mind if people think Matt LeBlanc on screen is the real me because it means we have done a great job of creating a believable character.”
He was equally amused by the reaction of TV bosses in Hollywood after the series went out in the US.
“The industry in LA has really embraced the show. It's funny to hear certain people say ‘I know who that character is based on, it’s so and so’, and I know it's really based on them! The show isn’t just about Hollywood TV system, it’s about three people and the intricacies of relationships.”
The nine-episode second series was filmed in Britain and Los Angeles. Guest stars include Nigel Planer (The Young Ones), Michael Brandon (Dempsey And Makepeace) and James Purefoy (Rome).
John Pankow (Mad About You and Morning Glory) returns as studio head Merc Lapidus and Kathleen Rose Perkins (The Island) as his long-suffering mistress Carol Rance.
The series is produced by David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik and Jimmy Mulville with Gregor Sharp as Executive Producer for the BBC. Jim Field Smith (Butter and She’s Out Of My League) directs.