Making One laugh

BBC unveils autumn comedies

BBC One has unveiled its autumn schedules, boasting a host of new comedy shows.

Pride of place goes to British-Iranian comic Omid Djalili, whose stand-up and sketch show makes its prime-time debut.

A BBC spokesman said Djalili would be ‘invoking the spirit of Dave Allen’ in a show that ‘takes a grown-up swipe at modern-day life in a multicultural society’.

Hugh Dennis, Claire Skinner and Samantha Bond star in Outnumbered, a new semi-improvised comedy about two parents and their three young children, written by Drop The Dead Donkey creators Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton.

Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller return with a new sketch show, boasting more than 100 characters, including Pru and Miranda, who run a grossly inefficient vegetarian restaurant in Hampstead; retired Essex gangster and self-appointed guardian of public decency, Mr Foley; and Tony and Dimitri, a Keegan-esque football manager and his Russian oligarch boss.

Jeremy Dyson from The League Of Gentlemen also worked on the show as ‘script guru’.

Armstrong also appears in the new comedy-drama Mutual Friends, about a family shaken up by the reappearance of an old friend, who is glib, self-confident, popular and pathologically immature. Marc Warren and Keeley Hawes co-star

Spaced actress Jessica Hynes (née Stevenson) stars opposite David Tennant in another comedy-drama, Learners, about a group of L-plate drivers.

In the show, which she also wrote, Hynes plays Bev, a downtrodden wife who's failed her driving test eight times, thanks to her husband's impatient approach in teaching her how.

Tennant swaps his Doctor Who cool to play the geeky Chris, a devout Christian and professional instructor assigned to Bev. In turn, she develops a crush on him.

And Lee Evans stars in a third comedy-drama,People Like Us, set-around a middle-class dinner party and also features Rupert Graves, George Cole, Alison Steadman and Jessie Wallace.

The new schedules also see the return of Lee Mack and Tim Vine in Not Going Out; Nicholas Lyndhurst in After You've Gone, the divorce sitcom created by My Family’s Fred Barron; and John Sullivan's Only Fools And Horses spin-off The Green Green Grass.

Michael Palin’s next travel series will also air this autumn, exploring the ‘mysterious chunk’ of Europe that was behind the Iron Curtain, including Albania, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia, Bulgaria and Poland.

Published: 11 Jul 2007

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