Written by Graham Duff with additional material by Tony Burgess
Johnny Vegas plays Moz, a small-time hash dealer who
lives in a run-down flat with his long-term girlfriend Nicki.
Moz is a low achiever, and quite happy with it, but Nicki has aspirations
for a better lifeÖ
The series takes place entirely in Mozís flat and his chosen 'profession'
serves as the backdrop for a very colourful array of customers and misfits
who pass through his life on a daily basis.
Ideal mixes pathos with a very dark humour, depicting a world of sex
and drugs and the dole.
About the show
Ideal stars St Helens born Johnny Vegas as Moz, a small-time dope dealer.
A co-venture between BBC Comedy and Baby Cow productions, Ideal premieres
on BBC THREE in January.
Executive producer and the BBC's Editor of Comedy Kenton Allen said:
"I can't think of a better way to kick start our production in the North
West than with a show starring Johnny Vegas made in collaboration with
Steve Coogan and Henry Normal.
"Ideal combines all of our ambitions for BBC Comedy - the best
new talent working with some of the most original minds in British comedy
on an innovative, provocative and funny series."
Written by Graham Duff (Combat Sheep, Dr Terrible's House Of Horrible)
with additional material by Tony Burgess (Paul And Pauline Calf's Cheese
And Ham Sandwich), Ideal gives an insight into Moz's world as Duff explains:
"Ideal is primarily about the lives and loves of a small-time cannabis
dealer called Moz who lives in Manchester.
"Moz is very much small-fry in the drugs world really, he's just
a little minnow in a big pond.
"He's a man of principles and won't deal anything other than cannabis
and he only deals to a circle of about 20 friends and acquaintances."
Such a large supporting cast provides a rich assortment of characters
for Duff to work with.
"I really like the idea of a mosaic-approach to story-telling," explains
"A character will call around to see Moz for about 15 minutes and you
catch a brief insight into what's happening in their lives but then
you might not see them for a couple of episodes."
As the series develops there's a much darker side to the storyline
when a series of grisly murders take place in Moz's neighbourhood.
The culprit chops off one of the hands from each of his victims earning
him the nickname 'the handjob murderer'!
"The drug dealing really is just a backdrop to the main story," explains
"In some episodes you don't actually see much dealing going on.
"I think there's always been a history of comedy characters who
work on the margins of society, people like Del Boy in Only Fools And
Horses with his dodgy stolen gear, or Ronnie Barker in Porridge."
The series is set entirely in the confines of Moz's bedsit which he
shares with his long-suffering girlfriend, Nicki.
Nicki is constantly on at Moz about the state of their flat - Moz being
untidy while the constant interruption of customers knocking at the
door means he never leaves the flat.
About the characters
"I was delighted when Johnny Vegas accepted the role of Moz," said
"I was amazed at what a subtle actor he is. Some people might think
that subtlety isn't a word they would associate with Johnny, but he
can be incredibly subtle. In some of the more poignant scenes there's
a quality of truth in what he does that really makes you believe that
he is inhabiting that character.
"I had been developing the character of Moz for quite a while now.
He is a guy who lives in a pokey little flat which has discarded takeaway
cartons strewn all over the place and there's a rat running around.
When you look at the life he leads, it's quite grubby and even a bit
When the Comedy Unit in Manchester was set up in October 2003 it had
the ambition to develop and nurture the next generation of comedy talent
in the North and so much of the supporting cast in Ideal are largely
unknown and were cast largely from the north-west of England.
Tony Burgess features as Troy, Moz's brother, and also contributed
some of the material to the script.
"The character of Troy is a bit of a wired scally who seems to end
up shouting quite a lot of the time so he was good fun to play!" laughs
"I wrote for that character and I have also been working with Graham
[Duff] for quite a while sharing ideas and I contributed some of the
gags in Ideal.
"I do enjoy acting but it's writing that I would like to concentrate
on in the future and I won a bursary award through the Comedy Unit earlier
this year which has enabled me to focus more on writing and less on
doing stand-up comedy."
As well as contributing some material for Ideal, Burgess has also written
a show called 10:96 which was also commissioned through the Comedy Unit
and will be screened on BBC THREE next year.
"10:96 will be my first solo project for television and I'm very excited
about it," enthuses Burgess. "Set in Manchester, it stars Chris Bisson
and Neil Fitzmaurice and tells the story of two men, one police car
and a night on the estate from hell!"
Graham Duff also has a role in Ideal as Moz's camp friend, Brian.
"Brian is a good contrast to the rest of the characters," says Duff.
"They all live in this downbeat world whereas Brian always has a good
tan, wears gold jewellery and a nice clean shirt. He's quite a bitchy
gay character and having Brian in a scene provides a different sort
There are also strong performances from upcoming comedians such as
Seymour Mace, who plays Moz's stalker Craig, and Jason
Manford, who plays the depressed Jack.
Both Seymour and Jason have won smaller bursary awards from the Comedy
Unit and are also developing their own ideas.
And then there's a character called Cartoon Head, played by James
Foster, who always wears a child's party mask and never says
a word throughout the whole series!
"I've always been fascinated with characters who find different ways
to communicate," says Duff.
"Like the character Boomhauer in King Of The Hill who doesn't speak
but everyone always understands what he means.
"I often find that the people who don't say very much can be the
most interesting. But when you have a character who not only doesn't
speak but also you can't see his facial expressions because of the mask,
then that's really difficult.
"The character of Cartoon Head was based on someone that I used to
know when I lived in Blackburn.
"In fact a few of the characters are conglomerates of different
people that I came across when I lived there.
"For that reason, I wanted Ideal to be set in the North West and,
being a big city, Manchester seemed perfect.
"I spent a lot of my youth doing stand-up gigs in Manchester so
I felt that I knew the city really well."