BBC Radio 2 wants to make you laugh this March
New comedy pilots by established entertainers will fill the schedule in March at BBC Radio 2 as part of a new comedy showcase.
The audio will be produced by BBC Studios and independent producers Baby Cow and Left Bank Pictures.
They include “Tim Vine Travels in Time” – a gag-packed, laugh-along, classically funny take on the tale of Robin Hood, his Merry Men, Maid Marion, and Tim Vine’s quest to mend a golden arrow and a break heart, and “Harry and Paul present: The Gentlemen’s Club” – a mockumentary sketch show set in Wibbles, London’s oldest member’s club.
The productions are funded by BBC Comedy Commissioning and commissioned for Radio 2 by Robert Gallacher, Commissioning Editor.
Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2, explains: “As a part of Radio 2’s engaging mix of music and entertainment programming, this year’s comedy showcases are the perfect way to introduce some new and exciting programmes to our audience. The shows are being made by some of the best comedy production teams in the business and feature some of the biggest names in the field today.”
Shane Allen, BBC Commissioner Comedy Commissioning, said:
“This run of comedy showcases has lured a terrific array of first class comedy talent. The Radio 2 audience is in for whole pick and mix of wonderful treats.”
The programmes featuring in the season are as follows:
Parental Guidance – Monday 13 March, BBC Radio 2, 10.30pm
Written by Max Davis (News Quiz, Dead Ringers), Parental Guidance is set around the lives of Roshan and Kate Parera played by award-winning comedian Romesh Ranganathan (Asian Provocateur, Best Newcomer at the 2013 Edinburgh Comedy Awards) and Amanda Abbington (Sherlock, Mr Selfridge). They live in Crawley, Sussex, with their two children, Emma and Lewis. Roshan is a cost-benefits analyst for the airline industry, Kate is stay-at-home mum. Roshan’s overbearing mother, Anusha played by Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at No.42) lives nearby and is still disappointed that Roshan picked Kate and not a nice Sri Lankan girl to marry. Roshan’s neighbour and friend Neil is an air steward and often gives Roshan sanctuary in his shed whenever he needs a safe space.
This pilot episode sees Kate and Roshan going to their school reunion where Kate is keen to show off her happy family life, and Roshan is not keen to meet Steve Johnson, the bully who terrorised him during his schooldays…
A BBC Studios production produced by Sam Michell.
Harry and Paul present: The Gentlemen’s Club – Tuesday, 14 March, BBC Radio 2, 10.30pm
Harry and Paul present: The Gentlemen’s Club is a mockumentary sketch show set in Wibbles, London’s oldest member’s club. Listeners will get to eavesdrop on the conversations of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse’s elderly and eccentric characters across the course of an afternoon. It’s a slice of life in a once-vital, fading British institution, and a peek at the often bizarre stories and attitudes contained within…
Written and performed by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, it will also star Jim Broadbent (Exile, Harry Potter), Amelia Bullmore (Scott & Bailey, Happy Valley), Tom Hollander (Rev, In The Loop) and Jason Lewis (The Armstrong and Miller Show).
A BBC Studios production produced by Sam Bryant.
Just Grand – Wednesday 15 March, BBC Radio 2, 10.30pm
Just Grand is a family sitcom about a clash of generations and cultures, written by BAFTA-award winning writers Phil Mealey (The Royle Family, Early Doors) and Daniel Peak (Not Going Out). It stars Siobhan Finneran (Benidorm, Happy Valley, Downton Abbey) and Jason Watkins (W1A, Trollied) and Denise Welch (Coronation Street).
Sandra and Frank are a working class Northern couple who dream of escaping Stockport for a new life in Fuengirola. Their dream is scuppered when the couple become unwilling guardians to their estranged grandchildren – a pair of over-privileged and bewildered siblings from the Home Counties.
A BBC Studios production produced by Julia McKenzie.
Tim Vine Travels in Time – Tuesday 21 March, BBC Radio 2, 10.30pm
Join Tim as he climbs through the magic grandfather clock in his antique shop and emerges in a different time and place. As the jokes fly and the plot thickens, will Tim manage to complete the task before him? And who is the celebrity star guest who will share this ridiculous journey?
Baby Cow Productions and producer Alex Walsh-Taylor (Still Open All Hours) are teaming up with Tim Vine to produce Tim Vine Travels in Time, a gag-packed, laugh-along, classically funny take on the tale of Robin Hood, his Merry Men, Maid Marion, and Tim Vine’s quest to mend a golden arrow and a break heart…
As the star of Not Going Out, Celebrity Squares, The Tim Vine Chat Show, twice winner of the Best Joke of The Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival and former holder of the Guinness World Record for most jokes in an hour (499), Tim Vine has created a brilliantly fantastical and funny world.
A Baby Cow production produced by Alex Walsh-Taylor.
Cardinal Burns presents Dean and Murf – Wednesday 22 March, BBC Radio 2, 10.30pm
Cardinal Burns present…Dean and Murf is a multi-character comedy from writer-performers Cardinal Burns and is directed by Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh). It stars Seb Cardinal (Cardinal Burns)and Dustin Demri-Burns (Cardinal Burns) playing a roll call of different characters and also featuring David Earl (Derek), Chris Hayward (Cardinal Burns) and Julian Barratt (Flowers).
Ex ravers Dean and Murf live on a dilapidated houseboat on the Regents Canal. Four years in arrears on their mooring fees, Dean and Murf are forced to visit the job centre which leads them on a surreal adventure working as factory workers on a Ken Loach film.
A Left Bank Pictures production produced by Jenna Jones and Rupert Majendie
Also coming to the network as part of the season is the brand new four-part sitcom Barbara Nice (Monday-Wednesday, March 13-15 and Tuesday-Wednesday, March 21-22, BBC Radio 2, 10pm) – the pilot of which was broadcast as part of last year’s sitcom pilot season on Radio 2.
The series, which was recorded in Birmingham and Salford, is about a couple with very different ideas on how to spend the golden age of retirement. The pilot programme which was originally broadcast in 2015, will kick off the series, followed by four new episodes. The sitcom, written by Steve Turner and Janice Connolly, is built around the comedy character Barbara Nice played by the very seasoned performer Janice Connolly (That Peter Kay Thing, Phoenix Nights).
Set in Stockport, the mum-of-two from Kings Heath is worried she and her husband, Ken, played by John Henshaw, (Cilla, Cradle To Grave), are at risk of adding to the numbers of silver splitters. With Ken recently retired, Barbara is starting to realise they have nothing in common. His idea of retirement involves a marathon session of the daytime television quiz show Pointless, which doesn’t fit with Barbara’s idea of a well-spent golden age.
A BBC Studios production produced by Rebecca Papworth.