Alma’s Not Normal gets a full series | BBC Two orders Sophie Willan's sitcom after hit pilot © BBC / Expectation

Alma’s Not Normal gets a full series

BBC Two orders Sophie Willan's sitcom after hit pilot

Sophie Willan’s sitcom Alma’s Not Normal has been commissioned for a full series, following the success of a pilot earlier this month.

BBC Two has ordered five more half-hour episodes of the semi-autobiographical series about a Bolton woman trying to sort out her life while maintaining fractious relationships with her heroin-addicted mum and vampish grandmother.

Willan said: ‘I’ve been overwhelmed by the fabulous response to the pilot and I'm so excited to be developing the series! I’ve already been using the lockdown as a chance to get cracking so I'm just pleased to have the official go ahead! I can’t wait to get it made and share the world of Alma with everyone!’

The pilot attracted more than a million viewers and a slew of four- and five-star reviews. The Mirror called it ‘Phoenix Nights meets Fleabag, guided by the spirit of Victoria Wood’; The Times said, ‘Willan’s writing is skilled and clearly very personal…uplifting and strangely enchanting’ and Chortle praised the characters as ‘complex, authentic people portrayed in a way we don’t usually see on television’.

Nerys Evans of programme-makers Expectation said: ‘It’s been such a pleasure working with Sophie on Alma’s Not Normal, she’s innately funny and has such a unique outlook on life.

‘Her writing is so authentic and intelligent; in just one episode she has created such a fully formed world. Her characters are beautifully observed and often flawed and sometimes challenging, but Sophie’s humour allows her to explore some really difficult subjects. I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds across a series as she’s bursting with brilliant ideas."

Shane Allen, the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning added: ‘Alma’s Not Normal landed so wonderfully formed with its distinctiveness, heart-on-sleeve charm, sparky humour and knockout cast. 

‘Sophie’s raw honesty, eye for characterisation and comedic insouciance have resulted in a cracking show bursting with potential. We just couldn’t resist a series.'

The cast of the pilot also included Lorraine Ashbourne, Siobhan Finneran and Jayde Adams.

News of the full series – expected to air next year – comes as part of a slew of BBC Two comedy commissions, including  Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe, a series of shorts from comics in lockdown called Comedians Playing With Themselves, and a Matt Berry mockumentary series Squeamish About….

• Read an interview with Willan about the Alma's Not Normal pilot here.

Alma's Not Normal

Alma’s Not Normal production credits

Made by: Expectation for BBC Two

Written and executive produced by: Sophie Willan

Commissioned by: Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two and Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning

Executive producer: Nerys Evans
Commissioning editor: Kate Daughton

Published: 22 Apr 2020

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