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Meet the Twenty Twelve team

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Jaine Sykes Jaine Sykes | 15:31 UK time, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Twenty Twelve, a new six-part comic documentary series starring Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes, begins next week on BBC Four.

The series, narrated by David Tennant, follows the team responsible for delivering the 2012 Olympics in London. They've got nine billion pounds to spend and plenty of time to think about it all. What can possibly go wrong? Watch the trailer below.

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Writer and director John Morton gives us the lowdon on the characters from Twenty Twelve. Read on to meet the team behind the biggest show on Earth!

Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville)
Head of Deliverance
Hugh BonnevilleFavourite saying: "So no basically, it's all good."

A man who has got where he has because of his unique capacity to stay calm under pressure. He 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.


Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes)
Head of Brand
Jessica HynesFavourite saying: "Guys we are where we are with this, and that's never a good place to be."

Getting the Olympic Account is the biggest thing that's ever happened to her, and certainly bigger than what is likely to happen to her career afterwards.

From Harpenden but thinks she's American. 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 (Vincent Franklin)
Head of Contracts
Vincent FranklinFavourite saying: "I don't care who you are. I'm sorry I'm from Yorkshire - I'm not having it."

Nickname: Nick "I Can't Allow It" Jowett.

Plain speaking Yorkshireman and the Geoffrey Boycott of the accounting world.

Once had trials for Huddersfield Town, and referees amateur football games at the weekend where he's known for routinely sending off one player from either side in the first ten minutes to establish his authority as scrupulously fair. Also plays golf pretty bloody seriously.

Divorced ten years ago. His ex wife now lives with an alternative therapist ("Whatever the hell that is") in Totnes.


Kay Hope (Amelia Bullmore)
Head of Sustainability
Amelia BullmoreFavourite saying: "Sustainability is not the same as Legacy. It is not."

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, 12) 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 (Karl Theobald)
Head of Infrastructure
Karl TheobaldFavourite saying: "That's all fine... you mean this Friday?"

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 already.

Can't see why it might be a bad idea to divert air traffic over Nuclear Power stations.

A loner, he 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 - "I got my own bathroom and everything". Since he's on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Bebo, and (by mistake) Grindr it's no surprise that he has no time for a social life.

One thing he does have time for is an 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.


Sally Owen (Olivia Colman)
PA to Ian Fletcher
Olivia ColmanFavourite saying: "Yes no that's fine, not a problem. I've already done it."

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 realise 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 whilst refining still further her extraordinary ability to fulfil, organise, and supply Ian's every last need well before he realises what those needs are.


Twenty Twelve begins on Monday 14 March at 22.00 on BBC Four.

Roger Mosey, BBC's director of London 2012 writes about the funny side of the Olympics.


  • Comment number 1.

    Wow. Does John Morton remember the DVDs that John Clarke and Ross Stevenson gave him? They were copies of their hit Australian TV show - a mockumentary about inept officials getting ready for the Sydney Olympic Games?

    I do hope they are getting some sort of credit for this idea. After all, their show pre-dates this one by 13 years.

  • Comment number 2.

    This looks to be blatant intellectual property larceny. There will be hundreds of Australian ex-pats glued to this, and comparing it with "The Games" for directly lifted humour and themes, let alone the concept. There has already been a complaint via the BBC's sister organisation in Australia.

  • Comment number 3.

    I really hope there isn't a storyline revolving around the 100m track being short (say around 92 or 93 metres) - then it would be a complete lift from the Australian series

  • Comment number 4.

    IP theft from an Australian icon of comedy - good luck with that, BBC. There will certainly be a lot of helping hands in the discovery process.

  • Comment number 5.

    Er, People Like Us predates The Games.

  • Comment number 6.

    Sorry HeatherB1976 – according to IMDB The Games pre-dates People Like Us by one year (1998 to 1999).

    The argument here is that Twenty Twelve is identical to The Games in concept and style. I’m sure that no exact plotlines may have been copied but that is not the point – if anyone is in any doubt I suggest they check out The Games.

    John Clarke has claimed that negotiations were started with the BBC after GB was awarded the Olympics to produce our version of The Games. He also claims that John Morton was brought on board with view to being part of the writing team, and that he was given copies of The Games on DVD. If true surely some credit for creating or inspiring this series should go to John Clark and Ross Stevenson.

    Personally I am really looking forward to tonight’s programme hoping it will be excellent. However, I am also a big fan of The Games having bought the DVD’s from ABC Australia last year, and feel due credit should be acknowledged. If not this comedy could leave a bitter taste.

  • Comment number 7.

    FWIW People Like Us actually dates from 1995. It started on Radio 4 and ran for three series before transferring to television in 1999.

    Anyway, on the face of it does sound like the concept of Twenty Twelve is *very* similar to The Games. And it's certainly something that seems to have riled a number of Aussies since it was highlighted on the ABC website - I was contacted by an Australian friend about it.

    Ironically, I'd not heard of Twenty Twelve before he told me about it...

  • Comment number 8.

    Here's John Clarke's take on Twenty Twelve's similarity to The Games, which was mentioned by a couple of people above:

  • Comment number 9.

    I was about to write a comment agreeing with all of the above, when I realised that the BBC is probably right. If Simon Cowell can sell X Factor as a separate format to Pop Idol, then I guess the BBC has no obligation to pay (money or hommage) to The Games.

    Of course it's a little sad to compare the BBC's integrity to Cowell's, but not as sad as the realisation that the potential legal battle over what was said in the "many phone conferences, meetings and almost four years of email exchanges" between the parties, will probably scupper the opportunity for Clarke, Dawe and Riley to appear in Twenty Twelve accusing the London Olympics of being too similar to the Sydney Olympics.

    Instead, we'll have to hope that the meeting to re-design that dodgy logo gets a cameo from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

  • Comment number 10.

    I spent a year in Aus from 2000-2001 and this show was the only thing worth watching on Aus TV...

    I'd been posting messages for ages asking BBC to buy the Games and show it here... then there would have been no need for this programme... but of course they had seen it but wanted to pretend they hadn't.

    The Games was and remains the funniest thing I have seen out of Australia

    BBC shame on you - you usually get these kind of things right :-(

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    In light of the above comments re plagiarism, it is amusing to find that when I navigate to the area to view clips of the show, and click on the John Plowman interview, I get the message "Not available in your area". Does everyone in Australia get the same message? I'd love to hear "Jon Plowman, Executive Producer, BBC Comedy talks about the ideas behind new BBC Four comic documentary", and do a compare & contrast with John Clarke's take on the same subject. I've loved John Morton's other stuff for the BBC. Perhaps you could add a clip of an interview with John?

  • Comment number 13.

    If John Morton does give back the DVD's of John Clarke's "The Games", then I'd suggest that he takes the time to first wipe off all his fingerprints from all surfaces - DVDs and cases. Just in case.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why not just cut out the middleman and broadcast re-runs of The Games?

    Will Twenty Twelve have a hundred metres track that's not quite a hundred metres long?

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Morton and Plowman really should be hanging their heads in shame. It is crystal clear having seen both the promotional materials, plus now the first episode, that Twenty Twelve owes much to The Games and its creators John Clarke and Ross Stevenson. The continued denials by Plowman et al do neither them nor the BBC any credit, and the sooner proper acknowledgement is given the better it will be.

  • Comment number 17.

    Soooooooo how about a response, BBC?

  • Comment number 18.

    Absolute shameful plagiarism by the BBC without any acknowledgment of the original Australian series for the 2000 Sydney Games. That was showcase comedy genius. If the BBC had any scruples at all, it would give credit where credit is due instead of stealing other writers' original ideas.

  • Comment number 19.

    What a rip off. What a silly thing to do. Did the Beeb really think that the creators of The Games wouldn't notice or wouldn't care? At the very least the creators of this 'new' show should admit that they 'lifted' the concept (and quite a bit else by the looks of things)from The Games and apologise for not crediting their sources. Currently the Beeb seems cheap, nasty and foolish as a result of their actions. An apology would go a long way to correcting this percpetion.

  • Comment number 20.

    Just the worst show in the history of the BBC.

    Should be pulled NOW.


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