C4 says no to more Year Of The Rabbit | Broadcaster blames Covid for series 2 U-turn © Channel 4

C4 says no to more Year Of The Rabbit

Broadcaster blames Covid for series 2 U-turn

Channel 4 has reversed its decision to order a second series of Matt Berry’s Victorian detective comedy Year Of The Rabbit.

The broadcaster had planned to make a second series of the show, which also stars Freddie Fox, Susan Wokoma and Keeley Hawes, to air this year,

But now budget cuts have prompted a U-turn, blamed on a collapse in the advertising market triggered by the lockdown.

The broadcaster said: ‘We’re hugely proud of this hilarious and fearless comedy series, as result of the impact of Covid on our schedules we have made the difficult decision not to enter into a second series with a heavy heart.’

Written by Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil, Year Of The Rabbit was a co-production for Channel 4 and America’s IFC channel

So now programme-makers Objective Media Group are trying to find another partner in the hope of keeping the programme alive.

Objective’s Layla Smith told industry website Deadline: ‘IFC are very committed to the show, but we will need to find another partner – and we’re working on that.’

Channel 4 previously withdrew from the second series of Mae Martin’s  comedy Feel Good, also made by Objective - but it will still go ahead as an exclusive Netflix series. 

Series one of Year of the Rabbit aired in summer of 2019, starting with an audience of more than 1.2m viewers - although that had dropped to less than 800,000 viewers by the fourth episode. 

Nevertheless, the series, which featured guest stars including Sally Phillips, Paul Kaye, Jemaine Clement, Matthew Holness, Jill Halfpenny and Taika Waititi, was generally well-received by critics.  Read Chortle’s four-star review here.

In her interview with Deadline, Smith also confirmed  that Berry is working on a new series of Toast Of London after a five-year absence.

Speaking at the Chortle Comedy Book festival in November, co-writer Arthur Mathews suggested that the fourth season could be set in the US.

'The best thing I can imagine is Toast in his black suit, completely unchanged, in the midst of America,' Smith said.

Published: 21 Jan 2021

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