Justin Edwards will appear in the one-off remake of Are You Being Served? set to air later this month.
The Ealing Live veteran is perhaps best known for his role as Ben Swain in legendary political satire The Thick of It, but of course his TVO credentials include such classics as Time Trumpet, Black Books, Lifespam, Black Mirror, Paddington, W1A and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret to name but a few. He’s also recently been seen as a pitch perfect Jeremy Clarkson in Murder in Successville, and as a loser dad trying to bond with his son in the frankly brilliant short Gutpunch (which you can watch here).
Now he joins the likes of Jason Watkins (Being Human, Trollied, Psychoville, W1A), Matthew Horne (Gavin and Stacy, Drunk History, Hey Diddly Dee), Niki Wardley (The Catherine Tate Show), Kayode Ewumi (#hooddocumentary) and comedy veterans John Challis, Arthur Smith and Roy Barraclough in a tribute to the much loved sitcom of the 70s and 80s, which ran for 10 series between 1972 and 1985.
Whilst the original series was written primarily by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft (the pair also created Allo Allo together), the new episode is from the pen of Derren Litten, who is the creator and lead-writer on ITV’s smash hit Benidorm. Litten has also written for Psychobitches, Not Going Out and The Catherine Tate Show, as well as appearing in shows as diverse as Perfect World, Spaced, Dalziel and Pascoe and Pie in the Sky.
As for Justin, his role in the new episode is of Mr Cuthbert Rumbold – the autocratic, obsequious yet bumbling floor manager originally played by Nicolas Smith. Sounds like a perfect fit!
Are You Being Served? will air as part of the BBC’s Landmark Sitcom series which will also feature Simon Day as Alf Garnett in a new episode of Till Death Us Do Part, and both Kevin Eldon and Katy Wix in a new edition of Hancock’s Half Hour, both of which can be glimpsed above and below respectively.
For the uninitiated, Til Death Us Do Part was a groundbreaking sitcom which dealt with working class life and both political and racial issues prevalent in society at the time, and made a household name out of its star, Warren Mitchell. Originally granted a pilot broadcast in 1965, the show ran for three series and an Easter special between 1966 and 1968, before a 1970 special led to four further series and several specials between 1972 and 1975.
The original Alan Partridge, perhaps, Mitchell’s Alf Garnett proved incredibly popular, and following another special in 1980, he returned for another series on ITV (entitled Till Death…) in 1981, and six BBC series (plus specials) of spin-off show In Sickness and in Health, as well as two movie adaptations for good measure, pushing to comfortably over 100 screen outings for the character.
As for Hancock’s Half Hour – the long running show was a platform for the legendary performer Tony Hancock which acted as a breeding ground for comic talent on both sides of the camera. Written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson (who went on to create Steptoe and Son), the series also featured Sid James, Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams to name but a few.
Six radio series and seven television ones were recorded between 1954 and 1961, and in recent years, efforts to recreate the missing episodes have been spearheaded by Pirates of the Caribbean star Kevin McNally, who also leads the cast for this tv revival.
Kevin Eldon will portray parts originally brought to life by John Vere, whilst Katy Wix will become Hattie Jacques. Also on board are Robin Sebastian as Kenneth Williams and Jon Culshaw as Sid James.
We’ll bring you more news on transmission dates as soon as we have it, so stay peeled.
Here’s a preview of the BBC’s upcoming Sitcom Season: