Three for One

BBC's new big-name comedies

BBC One has ordered a trio of famous-name sitcoms starring Jimmy Nail, Caroline Quentin and Roger Lloyd-Pack.

Lloyd-Pack – best known as Trigger in Only Fools And Horses – will star in The Old Guys, about two elderly delinquents lusting over a sexy neighbour.

The idea originally formed part of the BBC comedy-writing competition The Last Laugh, in which Peep Show writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong wrote the start of the script, and invited contributions to complete it.

Website developer James Donohue wrote the winning script; but the final programme will be written by Simon Blackwell – who worked on The Thick Of It – alongside Bain and Armstrong.

It is being made by BBC Scotland, which has already had success with one sitcom about two ‘old codgers’ – Still Game.

Meanwhile Quentin will star in Life Of Riley, as a woman who marries for a second time, and so has to deal with a complicated modern family of step-children, ex-wives and ex-in laws.

The series was penned by Smack the Pony writer Georgia Pritchett

Finally Nail will play Phil Palmer, a former Eighties one-hit wonder who is now the father of a drummer in a teen group, in the new comedy Parents Of The Band.

The six-part sitcom was created by Jimmy Nail and Tarquin Gotch – who were also responsible for Nail’s earlier BBC series, Crocodile Shoes.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Parents Of The Band is an ensemble comedy following three 15-year-old boys who want to rebel, meet girls and generally have a good time.

‘Sadly for the boys their parents are the first generation to embrace the concept of "middle-youth" … and are determined to live vicariously through the highs and lows of their children's band.’

Nail added: ‘Half-hour comedy is something I've not done before. We have a wonderful team and we'll be working hard to ensure the end product is special.’

The series is written by David Cummings – who co-wrote Harry Enfield’s movie Kevin & Perry Go Large – and script edited by legendary writing duo Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

The BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, Lucy Lumsden, said: ‘[Big names] add instant recognition to a comedy, and when a comedy plays in peaktime on BBC1 that's an important thing.’

She added that all three shows ‘feel like they had a mainstream heart to the idea’ which made them suitable for BBC One.

Published: 19 Mar 2008

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