Count Arthur heads to TV

BBC Two sitcom shooting this year

Radio 4 stalwart Count Arthur Strong is to make the leap to TV – with a BBC Two sitcom shooting at the end of the year.

Father Ted and IT Crowd writer Graham Linehan is working on scripts for the show with the bumbling character’s creator, Steve Delaney.

In the new series, the aging thespian will be partnered with a character called Michael, who gets sucked into the madness after arriving to research a biography of his late father, who was once in a double-act with Strong.

‘He thinks it will take a couple of days. But, Arthur being Arthur, it ends up taking far longer, and he has to move in with him, more or less,’ Linehan told the Irish Times.

‘Because Arthur can’t be embarrassed, we needed someone embarrassed on his behalf… It won’t be like Ted or even The IT Crowd. It’s going to have its feet planted in the real world. Arthur will be the strangest thing about it.

‘I’m really looking forward to getting to know Arthur better, creating an obstacle course for him to stumble on… Steve has an approach to Arthur that is instinctive and warm, and I’m looking forward to getting deeper into that.’

Linehan compared Count Arthur to a British version of wheeler-dealer Sgt Bilko, ‘except instead of trying to make $1,000 in Las Vegas he’s trying to make £50 collecting bottle tops.

The sitcom commission follows seven series of his Radio 4 show – and an abandoned idea to make a TV game show around the Count Arthur character, piloted two years ago but never broadcast.

Published: 19 May 2012

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