BBC THREE commissions I'm With Stupid
"genuine wit and grip, the pilot episode felt like it was ready for take-off" - The Independent
""an excellent comedy with some sharp one-liners and original characters" - Daily Mirror
""a terrific half-hour of comedy" - Daily Herald
"a bittersweet comedy gem" - Nuts
Following the success of the comedy pilot of I'm With Stupid, BBC Comedy - North has been asked by BBC THREE Controller Stuart Murphy to turn the one-off into a 6 x 30 minute series for the channel.
Paul Henshall (A Thing Called Love) and Mark Benton (Early Doors, Christmas Lights) head the cast of this critically acclaimed comedy that follows the unlikely relationship between Paul, a wheelchair user, and a homeless man called Sheldon.
I'm With Stupid is a contemporary Odd Couple style comedy which explores disability in a funny and truthful way.
The series will be written by Danny Peak (Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) who also wrote the pilot episode.
Danny is a former winner of the BBC Talent New Sitcom Writers Award.
The series will draw heavily on the experience of up and coming Manchester writer Peter Keeley who will become the Series Consultant.
21-year-old Peter has cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair from an early age; his real-life experiences, together with his unique outlook on life, provided the inspiration for the pilot.
Executive Producer and BBC Editor of Comedy Kenton Allen said: "Danny and Paul collaborated brilliantly on the pilot of I'm With Stupid and they will continue to build on this relationship as they write the series.
"Over 50 per cent of the cast are registered disabled and it's fantastic to be able to bring fresh new perspectives and original and funny characters and stories to our viewers in this way."
I'm With Stupid continues the BBC's commitment to feature more actors with disabilities on screen.
Together with Paul Henshall, I'm With Stupid will also include a number of actors who are registered disabled in the supporting cast: Alan Martin will play Graham who communicates via controlled voice technology (a voicebox) and Kevin Davies will play Syd.
Other cast includes Ruth Jones (Nighty Night, Fat Friends) who will play Jean, the warden at the sheltered accommodation where Paul lives, and Steve Edge (Peep Show) who will play Sergeant Swithenbank.
The pilot saw Paul and Sheldon meet for the first time in a Manchester police station.
Both are feeling rejected by society and each has something that the other wants - Sheldon offers friendship to Paul who is lonely and despondent while Paul provides Sheldon with a bed for the night, taking him away from the streets where he has been sleeping rough.
Therein lies the basis for a mutually beneficial friendship... but how long will this friendship last? And how will Sheldon cope with life in the weird and wonderful world of Paul?
I'm With Stupid will be filmed later this year in Manchester and will be produced by Jon Mountague and script edited by Paula Hines.
The executive producer is Kenton Allen.
BBC Comedy - North is enjoying tremendous success following its launch in October 2003.
As well as the new series of I'm With Stupid, BBC Comedy - North has also been asked to make two further comedy pilots for BBC THREE which will go into production later this year.
Other productions already announced from BBC Comedy - North include:
Funland, a darkly twisted comic thriller set in and around Blackpool. Written by Simon Ashdown and Jeremy Dyson, Funland will start filming in May 2005;
And the BBC THREE comedy Ideal which stars Johnny Vegas as a small-time dope dealer was screened earlier this year.