W1A won't be 'going forward', going forward | Writer says third series will be the last © BBC

W1A won't be 'going forward', going forward

Writer says third series will be the last

The next series of BBC management spoof W1A is likely to be the last, creator John Morton has revealed.

He said he found it increasingly difficult to write credible but funny plots, and wanted to quit while he was ahead.

‘This is probably going to be its final [series],’  he revealed at the launch of the new series, which airs next week. ‘It was written to a conclusion  and with that I mind I thought, "this has got to be good".’

Morton said it took him a year to write the six episodes in the new, third, series, which he admitted was ‘unbelievably slow’.

‘It’s difficult to find storylines that are funny enough and feel true enough but are in fact fictional,’ he explained. ‘This is a completely fictional world with completely fictional characters but closely tied to a real world about which a lot of people know stuff. 

‘You reject a lot of ideas either because they are not believable, or are too true but not funny enough.’

However he left the door slightly open for a possible return, saying: ‘Spoiler alter: there’s no plane crash, they are all alive at the end.’

But star Hugh Bonneville said it was unlikely that his character Ian Fletcher – who was previously seen ‘masterminding’ the efforts of the London Olympic committee in Twenty Twelve – would find a new home in another public service.

The Downton Abbey star said: 'I did have a conversation with John some time ago about maybe the team go over to sort out  American politics but then it got too ludicrous. I think maybe Ian Fletcher cycles off into the sunset.’

Despite frequently mirroring real events in Broadcasting House, Morton insisted the show was not a satire – and that it was not based on real people since he had never been a BBC employee.

'It's not really satirical,’ he said. ‘A real satirist would take an actual true story and do something with it. This is all made-up, but the cast make it feel real.

'A proper satire would be where you get an intellectual cerebral pleasure from watching these very unpleasant people outmanoeuvre each other and all crash and burn but the aspiration has always been that they manage to be conniving and fallible and somehow – or some of them, anyway – likeable.’

Morton also said he was allowed to write what he wished, without BBC executives wading in.

'Astonishingly, if you think there was ever a show that was going to get quietly interfered with, it would be this,’ he explained. ‘But I'm not aware of any interference at all from anybody.’

• The new series of W1A starts on BBC Two at 10pm on Monday. Here's a clip from the new series

Published: 12 Sep 2017

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