Comics head for Sky Arts

New series of Playhouse Presents...

Johnny Vegas, Mathew Horne, Peter Serafinowicz and Johnny Sweet will all star in a new series of one-off dramas for Sky Arts.

Serafinowicz will appear opposite Kylie Minogue in his Playhouse Presents… film, Hey Diddly Dee, pictured

Written and directed by Hustle star Marc Warren, it is Kylie’s first work for Sky. She said: ‘When the script was sent to me, I read it and knew instinctively I wanted to be part of this project. In Hey Diddly Dee, Marc has created a beautiful and quirky story. ‘

Johnny Vegas will be directing and co-writing another drama in the series, Ragged, which is based on Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson’s fight to overturn his conviction for ‘conspiracy to intimidate' while on the picket lines in the Seventies.

While serving a two-year jail term for that offence, Tomlinson was encouraged by his prison governor to read Robert Tressel’s book The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – which changed his life.

It is not Vegas’s first encounter with the classic book, as he starred in a Radio 4 adaptation in 2008.

The new series of Playhouse Presents – the second – starts on March 14. The first spawned the comedy series Psychobitches, featuring a cast of top female comics playing historical figures on the psychiatrist’s couch, which makes its full debut on Sky Arts on May 25. Details of the series have already been released.

Sky Arts channel director James Hunt said: ‘The reception to the first series of Playhouse Presents… was nothing short of phenomenal. As a result, we’ve had the most extraordinary array of talent to choose from for round two. 

‘We are passionate about bringing the very best comedy and drama on Sky Arts to our customers, and we have no doubt that this outstanding cast, in the hands of these award-winning production companies, will do just that.’

Here is a guide to the new series:

Hey Diddly Dee on 14 March : Written and directed by Marc Warren. A dark comedy-drama about the theatre, about a stage star who dies in a show, starring Kylie Minogue, Mathew Horne, Peter Serafinowicz, David Harewood, Paul Kaye and Lee Boardman.

Snodgrass on 21 March : A comedy-drama imagining what would have happened to John Lennon (played by Ian Hart) had he walked out of the Beatles before they got famous, written by comedy veteran David Quantick.

Union Square on 28 March : A ‘funny and poignant portrait of loneliness in the city’ starring Vanessa Redgrave, Stephen Graham and Samantha Bond – and written and directed by Redgrave’s son Carlo Nero.

Pavement Psychologist on 4 April : A ‘taught and sexy drama’ written and directed by The Wire’s Idris Elba and starring Anna Friel as an accountant who’s life is changed when she meets a homeless man.

Mr Understood on 11 April : Co-created by cross-dressing ceramic artist Grayson Perry, this comic drama followsa young transvestite as he battles with self-doubt. 
Stage Door Johnnies on 18 April : A comedy about five excitable ‘Stage Door Johnnies’ in awe of their idols, starring Suranne Jones, Alex Macqueen and Johnny Sweet.

Cargese on 25 April : A ‘a unique piece of poetic realism’ directed by Doctor Who star Matt Smith.  

Ragged on 2 May : Directed by Johnny Vegas, and described above.

Nightshift on 9 May : About two police officers cruising the streets of South East London in the small hours.

Published: 17 Jan 2013

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