Playhouse of fun

BBC One unveils five comedy specials

BBC One has unveiled a series of one-off comedy-dramas, featuring the likes of Dave Spikey and Lenny Henry, as part of its drive to revive its comedy programming.

Five plays will air on the channel this autumn, as BBC One controller Peter Fincham promised soon after he took the job last year.

The initiative echoes such vintage showcases as Comedy Playhouse, which spawned Steptoe And Son, Till Death Do Us Part and Last Of The Summer Wine, and Ronnie Barker’s Seven Of One, which spawned both Porridge and Open All Hours.

Fincham said: ‘Comedy and drama are two key ingredients to the mix on BBC One and bringing them together in this series of stand alone pieces provides us with a unique opportunity to bring some of the best talent in the business together for the enjoyment of our audience. I am excited about the fresh tone they will strike on the channel.’

The shows are:

Magnolia. A ‘warm and slightly eccentric comedy’ about a group of painters and decorators, written by Dave Spikey, whose father, father-in-law, his brother-in-law and best friend are all in the business.

Aftersun: A TV version of the stage play David Nicholls, who recently adapted Much Ado About Nothing for BBC One, wrote last year. It is about two couples who meet on holiday: young lovers engaged after 72 hours and parents who are left alone for the first time in 20 years after their kids fly the coop.

Angel Cake: About a cake-maker, living on a grimy estate, who bakes a batch of buns which mould themselves into the image of the Virgin Mary. It is written by Keith Temple, who previously worked on  Casualty.

Slings & Arrows: Lenny Henry mines his own experience of adult education to write (with Kim Fuller) and star in this story of a frustrated dry cleaner who finds life and love at an OU English Literature course.

Housekeeping: A ‘darkly comic’ study of suburban family life told through the eyes of Raymond, a househusband going through divorce and forced to turn his house into a brothel in order to keep hold of the property.  Written by Hustle writer Tony Basgallop


Published: 23 May 2006

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