BBC bolsters commitment to sketch comedy
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BBC comedy today announces two brand new series commissions as its commitment to sketch comedy continues.
Following their critically acclaimed pilots last year for BBC Three, both Ellie & Natasia and Lazy Susan will return for a full series run. Also, Famalam, the comedy sketch show where no area of the universe is off limits, will return later this year for a third series with a brand new addition to the cast in Danielle Vitalis.
Both Ellie & Natasia and Lazy Susan are the creations of female comedy duos; Ellie & Natasia is the work of Ellie White (The Windsors, Pls Like, The Other One) and Natasia Demetriou (Stath Lets Flats, What We Do In The Shadows), and Lazy Susan comes from the minds of Freya Parker (The Mash Report, Mister Winner) and Celeste Dring (This Country, The Windsors).
Ellie & Natasia was a Slice (formerly known as a Comedy Feeds) for BBC Three in 2019, and follows in the footsteps of many other Slices that have gone on to become big hits such as People Just Do Nothing, Man Like Mobeen, A Brief History of Tim, Josh and the upcoming In My Skin.
Lazy Susan was a Comedy Short for iPlayer and BBC Two and follows in the footsteps of Spencer Jones’ The Mind of Herbert Clunkerdunk, as well as two upcoming shows; Mandy from Diane Morgan and Out Of Her Mind from Sara Pascoe, in being given a full series.
Famalam started life as a New On Two and has given us Motherland, Johnny Vegas’ Home From Home and The Other One which will launch later this year.
Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning, says: “The UK has a long and rich history of multi-character sketch comedy; these new shows carry that flame at a time when we need comedy to burn bright. The talents involved celebrate all that is wonderful about the British spirit and character to demonstrate that laughter really is the best medicine.”
Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three, says: “BBC Three has always been a channel that places huge value in nurturing new talent so we’re really happy that we’re taking Ellie & Natasia and Lazy Susan, two comedies from female comedy voices, to series. Famalam has been a huge hit for us, both on iPlayer and on social, and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next from these unique, comedy talents.”
Ellie & Natasia
Ellie & Natasia say: “In the midst of a pandemic the humble sketch is a shining light of hope and we are happy and honoured to be those torch bearers, with love Ellie and Natasia."
Harry Hill, executive producer, says: “Thrilled to hear that the BBC have rewarded the best new British double act since Vic and Bob with a series.”
Ellie & Natasia (6x15’) is a Nit Television Production for BBC Three. The producer is Olly Cambridge, the director is Andrew Gaynord. The executive producers are Harry Hill, Mobashir Dar and Danielle Lux. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Alex Moody. Ellie & Natasia was commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy commissioning and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three.
Critical acclaim for Ellie & Natasia
The Guardian, Julia Raeside: “A fiercely funny sketch show you’ll watch over and over.”
Chortle, Steve Bennett: “The talented pair show a huge amount of invention, showcasing a wide variety of comic styles, but always underpinning their skits with distinctively off-kilter sensibilities.”
The I, Sarah Carson: “It is brilliant: familiar stereotypes and impressions are cut through with a streak of the delirious, and each three-minute glimpse into a new world they’ve created leaves you wanting more.”
There’ll be more from some of the best loved characters from the short, including Megan and Michaela, who still just 'don't want any drama tonight', and many all-new creations of relatable, smart and surprising sketches.
Sharply written and full of joy, Lazy Susan will be an even bigger platform to house moments of variety, ambitious originality and above all hilarity, all brought together by Freya and Celeste playing versions of themselves in a friendship we’re invited to join.
Freya and Celeste say: “We are so grateful to the BBC for letting us stage our radical re-imagining of Hamlet on Ice.”
Amy Annette and Katie Churchill, producers for Tiger Aspect, say: “We were so thrilled by the reaction to the short from comedy fans, comedians and commenters online. So it’s our great joy to be bringing more of Freya and Celeste’s idiotic genius to BBC Three.”
Damian Kavanagh, Managing Director for Tiger Aspect, says: “We were so pleased to be a part of Freya and Celeste’s first TV commission as Lazy Susan, and to now work with them to bring this Lazy Susan sketch show to series on BBC Three. Tiger Aspect has built a reputation of being a home for brilliant talent to find their TV feet, and of working with that talent throughout their career - we can’t wait to be making shows with Freya and Celeste for years to come.”
Lazy Susan (4x15’) is a Tiger Aspect (part of Endemol Shine UK) production for BBC Three. The executive producer is Damian Kavanagh, and the producers are Amy Anette and Katie Churchill. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Alex Moody. Lazy Susan was commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy commissioning and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three.
Critical acclaim for Lazy Susan
The I, Jeff Robson: “None of the skits outstayed their welcome; all shared the same off-kilter logic.”
The I, Sarah Carson: “It’s a mix that appeals to different funny bones, the pleasingly odd to the laugh-out-loud obvious, with layers that build depth impressively in a short space of time.”
Danielle says: “What a wonderful experience to be able to play in so many different worlds that are all so familiar to me and my peers. Best job ever!”
Two of the clips from the second season of Famalam are some of the most viewed videos on BBC social media channels; Turf Wars has been viewed over 30 million times and No White Jesus stands at 27.5 million views.
Famalam has received a number of award nominations since the series began. In 2019 writer, producer and composer Akemnji Ndifornyen won a Bafta Craft Award for Breakthrough Talent and cast member Samson Kayo has received both Bafta and RTS Award nominations. Series one was nominated for a Screenwriters Award in 2018 and the show has recently been nominated in the best comedy series category at the Edinburgh TV Awards 2019.
Famalam (5x22’) is a BBC Studios production for BBC Three. The executive producer is Ben Caudell, the producer is Akemnji Ndifornyen. The commissioning editors for the BBC are Gregor Sharp and Sarah Asante. Famalam was commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy commissioning and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three.
Series one and two of Famalam are available on BBC iPlayer.
Critical acclaim for Famalam
Refinery29, Katy Harrington: “I'm trying to think of another TV show out there that can take topics like slavery, inner city gang violence and racism, subvert them, satirise them and still make you laugh out loud - but I can't. Famalam can.”
The I, Jay Richardson: “Famalam is arguably one of the first British sketch shows to truly harness the look and rhythms of online comedy.”
The Independent, Sean O’Grady: “A sublime achievement of satire.”
Source BBC One
March 27, 2020 8:30am ET by BBC One