Matt Lucas goes silent

Physical comedy show planned for the BBC

Matt Lucas is working on a silent comedy series for the BBC, provisionally titled Pompidou.

Six half-hour episodes will be made – but they are not due to air until late 2014.

The primetime series will revolve around a ‘elderly aristocratic English oddball’ also feature guest appearances from international physical comedy performers.

BBC One controller Danny Cohen said: ‘Matt's new project is wonderfully original and ambitious. I can't wait to see what he and his talented team produce.’

Lucas said: ‘I'm delighted to be back at the BBC with another show full of new characters - however, unlike Little Britain and Come Fly With Me, this one has no dialogue at all. I've always been a huge fan of the visual comedy of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and of course, our very own Mr Bean.

‘I've been working for a while with two great writers - Julian Dutton and Ashley Blaker - to create a bunch of new faces which we hope will appeal to audiences in Britain and beyond. At the centre of it is Pompidou himself, an elderly aristocratic English oddball who has fallen on hard times but who remains upbeat and resourceful.’

Lucas started on the stand-up circuit with a character called Sir Bernard Chumley, later seen in Little Britain, an actor and raconteur who was similarly eccentric but down-on-his-luck.

Pompidou was initially revealed in an interview BBC head of comedy commissioning Shane Allen gave to the Guardian.

He said: ‘The concept is wonderfully imaginative, the writing hugely inventive and it’s the perfect vehicle for Matt - one of a handful of performers in the whole world who could pull this off. A sleep-deprivingly exciting project.’

Allen also revealed that Peep Show co-creator Jesse Armstrong is working on a three-part political comedy for BBC Two. The untitled show will revolve around an MP compromised by his sexual appetites.

It will not be Armstrong’s first dalliance with political comedy, having been part of the writing team on The Thick of It, In The Loop and Veep.

Allen – who recently took the BBC job after leaving Channel 4 – also revealed that on his wish-list was Daniel Kitson, who he hoped to lure to TV for the first time.

The peak of Kitson’s limited screen career was playing Spencer in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights on Channel 4, but it was a role he came to regret; while Kay repeatedly refers to Kitson as ‘The Bastard’ on the DVD commentary.

He also said he would like to see a place for Frankie Boyle on the BBC, despite the trouble his Tramadol Nights caused at Channel 4.

Published: 24 Mar 2013

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