Hugh Bonneville Comes to BBC America in 'Twenty Twelve'

Date: 21.05.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.10
Category: BBC Worldwide
London 2012 docu-style comedy premieres June 28 as part of the Ministry of Laughs comedy block

Click to tweet: .@hughbon Comes to @BBCAMERICA in 'Twenty Twelve'  http://bbc.in/KVe5Yw

The BAFTA nominated docu-comedy series Twenty Twelve, starring BAFTA nominee Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), joins BBC AMERICA’s Ministry of Laughs comedy block just in time for the Summer Games.  From executive producer Jon Plowman (The Office, Extras, Absolutely Fabulous) and writer John Morton (People Like Us), the series follows the team responsible for delivering the biggest show on earth: the London Olympics. Twenty Twelve premieres with three back-to-back episodes on Thursday, June 28, 9:00pm ET, then moves to its regular time slot on Saturday, June 30, midnight ET as part of the Ministry of Laughs comedy block. The first season will be immediately followed by season two. 

Bringing together actors and creators of some of Britain’s most iconic comedies – Twenty Twelve’s cast includes BAFTA nominee Olivia Colman (Peep Show), Jessica Hynes (Spaced), Amelia Bullmore (I’m Alan Partridge), Vincent Franklin (The Thick of It) and Karl Theobald (Green Wing), and is narrated by David Tennant (The Spies of Warsaw, Doctor Who).

Twenty Twelve deals with such hot topics as how to phase the traffic lights across London to get people from west to east, which celebrities should be approached to carry the Torch and what to do when protesters leave large quantities of horse dung on the doorstep in protest at the equestrian events. From how to cope with athletes who want to help but are just too dull, to getting a busload of non-English speaking Brazilians from A to B, this crack team of experts is paddling hard beneath the water to make the Olympics happen in London in 2012. With £9 billion to spend and plenty of time before the deadline, what can possibly go wrong?

BBC AMERICA’s Saturday night comedy block, the Ministry of Laughs, features a raft of award-winning, irreverent and inventive comedies including The Graham Norton Show, The Thick of It, Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show, The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner.

Note to editors:

Twitter: @BBCAMERICA Hashtags: #TwentyTwelve

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Website: http://www.bbcamerica.com/twenty-twelve/

CAST AND PRODUCTION CREDITS

Ian Fletcher                  Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Iris)

Siobhan Sharpe             Jessica Hynes (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead)

Sally Owen                   Olivia Colman (Peep Show, Rev.)

Kay Hope                     Amelia Bullmore (Ashes to Ashes, State of Play)

Nick Jowett                  Vincent Franklin (The Thick of It)

Graham Hitchens         Karl Theobald (Green Wing)

Writer/Director           John Morton (People Like Us)

Producer                      Paul Schlesinger (That Mitchell and Webb Look, Genius)

Executive Producer      Jon Plowman (The Office, Extras, Absolutely Fabulous)

 

Twenty Twelve is a BBC Production

EPISODE SYNOPSES

Episode One

With the clock ticking inexorably down, the marketing team creates a major public event to mark the '1000 days to go' milestone. A huge clock designed by a modern British artist will be installed outside Tate Modern on the banks of the Thames in a ceremony performed by both Lord Sebastian Coe and London’s Mayor Boris Johnson and will count down towards the start of the Olympic Games. The only problem is that the clock has a potentially disastrous design flaw which no-one seems to have noticed until it’s too late. Meanwhile, the process of deciding which public figures should be approached to carry the Olympic Torch on its journey around Britain has begun. Episode One premieres Thursday, June 28, 9:00pm ET.

Episode Two

A visiting group of dignitaries from Rio (Olympic hosts in 2016) is in London for the week. For Head of Deliverance Ian Fletcher and his team the mission is simple. All they have to do is to meet the Brazilian delegation and take them by coach to the Olympic Stadium where they will meet Head of LOCOG, Lord Sebastian Coe. What can possibly go wrong? As it turns out, just about everything, from language difficulties through satellite navigation issues to burst water mains and phantom punctures. For the team it's a lesson in the importance of staying positive and focused even when you are travelling in completely the wrong direction, literally. Episode Two premieres Thursday, June 28, 9:40pm ET.

Episode Three

It's another challenging week for Head of Deliverance, Ian Fletcher, and his team. Roman remains of potentially national significance have been discovered on the site of the aquatics center, forcing them to contemplate radical last-minute modifications to the design of the building. It's a matter of asking the tough questions. What would happen if they made the diving pool shallower? Will it matter if athletes have to go through the cafeteria to get from the changing rooms to the pool? Head of Brand, Siobhan Sharpe, has decided that the 2012 games should have their own unique audio logo. Head of Infrastructure Graham Hitchins is grappling with the sensitive issue of civil aviation flight paths during the period of the games, and Head of Sustainability Kay Hope is faced with recording her own video blog at the Olympic site itself. Episode Three premieres Thursday, June 28, 10:20pm ET.

Episode Four

Dave Wellbeck is an ex-athlete, double Olympic silver medalist and, in theory, a natural choice as brand ambassador for Raising the Bar, a scheme to get young people inspired by Olympic ideals. He is hard-working, conscientious and loyal, but the truth is that he has about as much charisma as a dimmer switch and his busy schedule of presentations in schools around the country is having the effect of switching young people off in their thousands. Ian and Siobhan have different views on how to deal with the problem. Head of Sustainability Kay Hope is forced to stand her ground in the light of the discovery that there might not, after all, be enough wind to power the much-vaunted Olympic Park wind turbine. Episode Four premieres Saturday, June 30, midnight ET.

Episode Five

There are only three applicants for the post of Curator of the Cultural Olympiad, so how difficult can it be to select the best candidate? As Ian Fletcher and his team find out, it is almost impossible. As if that wasn't enough, their ultimate boss, Lord Sebastian Coe, has decided that it would be good for the profile of Twenty Twelve if members of the team entered the London Marathon. As the pressure on Ian as Head of Deliverance gradually increases, the cracks in his marriage are starting to get wider and wider. Could this possibly mean that the secret hopes of his ever-loyal PA Sally might one day move closer to fulfillment? Episode Five premieres Saturday, June 30, 12:40am ET.

Episode Six

The decision to hold equestrian events in Greenwich Park is one of the most controversial choices made by the Olympic authorities. Among the many groups of people who are against it are local residents, led by self-styled maverick film director Tony Ward. Given that it is now over 30 years since he made his one and only successful film, Ward has had a lot of time on his hands to think about how angry he is and to plan his campaign of protest.  It starts with the arrival of an enormous pile of horse manure on the pavement outside the Olympic Deliverance Commission offices and climaxes with a live debate with Head of Deliverance Ian Fletcher on BBC Radio 4's Today program. Meanwhile, in Ian's personal life, manure of a different kind finally hits the fan. Fortunately his ever-loyal PA Sally is on hand and completely ready to pick up the pieces. Episode Six premieres Saturday, July 7, midnight ET.

CHARACTERS

Ian Fletcher - Head of Deliverance (Hugh Bonneville)

Ian is a man who has got where he is because of his unique capacity to stay calm under pressure. Ian has the ability to remain relentlessly positive even when all evidence points in the opposite direction. Before joining the Olympic Deliverance Commission as Head of Deliverance, he had spells with British Nuclear Fuels then progressed through the National Disasters Executive to his most recent job as Director of the Urban Regeneration Agency, in which role he was almost solely responsible for Manchester. Ian is unhappily married, but nowhere near as unhappily married as he will be by the end of his Olympic journey.

Sally Owen - PA to Ian Fletcher (Olivia Colman)

Sally is super-loyal, ultra-efficient, and hyper-protective of Ian, for the very good reason that she's in love with him. This is a love that runs very deep but dare not speak its name, since Ian is married. But, as we know, he's unhappily married and Sally lives her life in a state of perpetual but silent hope. One day he will surely realize that the smooth cappuccinos and huge, perfectly moist cinnamon Danish whirls with which she selflessly punctuates his working days are actually bought from a small coffee shop a block and a half away because the ones from the coffee chain in the building just aren't good enough. In the meantime she hits the gym hard and makes the very best of herself while refining still further her extraordinary ability to fulfill, organize and supply Ian's every last need well before he realizes what those needs are.

Siobhan Sharpe - Head of Brand (Jessica Hynes)

Getting the Olympic Account is the biggest thing that's ever happened to Siobhan, and certainly bigger than what is likely to happen to her career afterwards. Siobhan is from Harpenden, but thinks she's American. She is very ambitious, and with her dial set on transmit, Siobhan is an expert in all aspects of communications theory with the single exception of how to apply any of it. Most of the time, she isn't in a relationship because relationships - like lunch and listening - are for wimps.

Nick Jowett - Head of Contracts (Vincent Franklin)

Nick is a plain speaking Yorkshireman.  He once had trials for Huddersfield Town Soccer Club, and referees amateur soccer games at the weekend. He's known for routinely sending off one player from either side in the first ten minutes to establish his authority as scrupulously fair. He also plays golf pretty bloody seriously. Nick got divorced ten years ago. His ex-wife now lives with an alternative therapist ("Whatever the hell that is") in Totnes.

Kay Hope - Head of Sustainability (Amelia Bullmore)

Kay is tirelessly committed to the principle of embedding sustainability across all parts of Twenty Twelve, which is particularly important given that no-one seems to know exactly what sustainability is. Single mother, recently divorced but now completely over it, completely happy, and completely not thinking at all about what a useless father, crap husband, and utterly failed so-called human being Simon was. One son, Kieren, who is going increasingly off the rails both on the rare occasions when he's at school, and even rarer occasions when he's at home.

Graham Hitchins - Head of Infrastructure (Karl Theobald)

It will of course be a disaster for London and for Britain if the infrastructure for the Twenty Twelve Games goes wrong. And that's where Graham Hitchins comes in. In this complex and specialist area you sometimes need to push beyond conventional logic and fortunately beyond logic is where Graham is much of the time. A loner, Graham frequently works late rather than going home, giving rise to speculation that he never goes home at all. He's also vague on the subject of exactly where he lives. One thing he does have time for is a 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV. He attends Alfa Owners Club rallies at the weekend, often breaking down on the way there, the way back, or both. He once went out with a girl for three days after mistakenly attending an Alpha Course meeting on the assumption that it would be about cars. She was a devout Christian and asked him to marry her on their second date. He said he'd get back to her.

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