BBC picks up Lee Mack's real-time sitcom | Full series for Semi-Detached © BBC/Happy Tramp North

BBC picks up Lee Mack's real-time sitcom

Full series for Semi-Detached

Lee Mack is to star in a BBC Two sitcom that unfolds in real-time, Chortle can reveal.

Mack plays Stuart in Semi-Detached, a hapless wedding DJ living opposite his ex-wife, which has been picked up following a pilot earlier this year.

Six 30-minute episodes have now been ordered of the sitcom, written by former character comic Oliver Maltman and writer-actor David Crow.

The comedy is 'exactly like 24, except instead of following a government agent as he saves the planet, the series follows a perennial loser called Stuart as his life goes down the pan in a suburban cul-de-sac' say producers. 'Each episode of Semi-Detached will give viewers an incredibly fast moving, half-hour window into Stuart’s world.'

The commission comes after the pilot, which aired in January as part of BBC Two's New on Two strand, co-starred Samantha Spiro as Stuart's former spouse and Ellie White as his pregnant girlfriend. Both will return for the series.

Neil Fitzmaurice, Clive Russell, Sarah Hoare and The Office's Patrick Baladi, who also appeared in the pilot, are returning too

Semi-Detached is made by Happy Tramp North, which previously made the sitcom Sun Trap and Morgana Robinson's sketch show The Agency for the BBC. 

Executive producer Neil Webster said: 'David Crow and Oliver Maltman have not only written the funniest scripts I have ever read, they’ve also effortlessly managed to make the whole series play out in real time. And with an incredibly funny cast headed up by Lee Mack, we’re confident that Semi-Detached is going to be a genuinely laugh out loud series. Or your money back.'

Gregor Sharp, commissioning editor for the BBC said: 'Semi-Detached stands out from the crowd with its combination of intricate plotting and sustained comic action and we’re knocked out by the amazing cast that have come on board to bring David and Oliver’s sparkling scripts to life.'

Mack, who is currently touring with his Would I Lie To You? collaborators Rob Brydon and David Mitchell, already stars in the long-running family sitcom Not Going Out for the BBC. Returning for an eleventh series next year, it has been commissioned for a further two series until 2022.

The topic of divorce has some relevance for the comic, as his parents split when he was 12. And he has speculated that: 'I don’t know the statistics, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that a disproportionate number of comics come from broken homes.'

Reviews of the Semi-Detached pilot were mixed but broadly positive. Read Chortle's three-star review here.

- by Jay Richardson

Published: 5 Oct 2019

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