News of a mainstream television pilot from some of TVO’s finest have emerged via our good friends at The British Comedy Guide.
The pilot, tentatively titled Monks, appears to be an adaptation of one-off Radio 2 Comedy Showcase special Hey Hey We’re The Monks from way back in 2000, which was written by Dan Tetsell (Mongrels, Lab Rats) and Danny Robbins (We Are History), starring Bill Bailey and Catherine Tate.
All these years later, the format – and seemingly some of its characters – will be revived for what has been described as “a brilliantly big, funny and warm-hearted new studio comedy for BBC One centred on a group of monks”.
It features Mock The Week regular and stand-up comic extraordinare Seann Walsh as benefits cheat Gary Woodcroft, who joins a religious order to avoid jail. Except Rudley Abbey, where he ends up, is just like prison, but with added praying.
Long in gestation, the idea clearly has legs – having previously been piloted back in 2008 for a non-broadcast attempt featuring James Corden in the lead role, alongside David Bamber, Geoffrey Whitehead and TVO’s very own Justin Edwards (The Thick Of It, Lifespam) and Fergus Craig (Colin and Fergus, The Government Inspector).
Edwards and Craig are along for the ride this time around too, alongside Spaced and Big Train veteran Mark Heap and Vicar Of Dibley star James Fleet. The pilot will be filmed at BBC Elstree Studios on Friday, January 31st – and tickets are available now via BBC Shows.
We’ll aim to bring you more news on this third attempt for Monks as soon as we hear it, so stay peeled.