Beautiful People, a sparkling new comedy series for BBC Two – first episode: 9.30pm, Thursday 2 October 2008
From the creator of Gimme Gimme Gimme and the producer of Absolutely Fabulous comes Beautiful People, a six-part comedy series for BBC Two exploring what it's truly like for all of us to be fabulous via starry ambition, youthful optimism and one very loving, yet very dysfunctional, family.
Beautiful People is written by Jonathan Harvey (Gimme Gimme Gimme, Beautiful Thing) and based on the best-selling wild childhood memoirs of Simon Doonan, Creative Director of Barneys, New York. The series starts in October.
This glittering and hilarious series delves inside Simon's youthful memories and his desire to escape suburban Reading and live amongst the "beautiful people" - from his perspective as a window dresser in a New York department store.
Surrounded by dreams of the big and all the beautiful people that go with it, 13-year-old Simon (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) can't open a fridge door without belting out a show tune.
But such behaviour will always fall flat on a family even more eccentric than Simon's latest attempts to be fabulous. The Britain of 1997 might be changing, but the Doonan clan remain consistently nuts.
Mum Debbie is a peroxide whirlwind of matriarchal warmth and a passionate pride for husband Andy – a culture-savvy plumber-cum-homemade winemaker.
Simon's sister Ashlene is a wannabe ghetto queen, blind lodger Aunty Hayley has a guide-dog who is far from size zero, lobotomised grandma Narg has just lost God and replaced him with a foul mouth and best mate Kylie/Kyle aspires to be Reading's own Princess of Hearts.
Beautiful People stars Olivia Colman (Peep Show, That Mitchell And Webb Look), Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars At No. 42), Aidan McArdle (Me And Orson Welles, Not Only But Always), Layton Williams (Billy Elliot in the West End), Samuel Barnett (The History Boys) and 13-year-old Luke Ward-Wilkinson (Wild at Heart) as young Simon.
Guest stars include Brenda Fricker as Narg and Frances Barber as Miss Prentice.
Beautiful People struts a dazzling and sequinned path through one boy's life and the realisation that the beautiful people are always closer than we think.
Beautiful People is 6 x 30-minute episodes commissioned by Controller of BBC Two Roly Keating, and Lucy Lumsden, Controller of Comedy Commissioning. The series' executive producer is Jon Plowman (Absolutely Fabulous) and it is produced by Justin Davies.
Beautiful People, Simon Doonan's wild memoirs of growing up in Reading, is published by Harper Collins.
The soundtrack to BBC Two's Beautiful People, including cover versions specially recorded for the series, is released by EMI on 20 October.