BBC Announces Comedy Pilots

The BBC has announced a whopping 12 new comedy pilots, with casts featuring plenty of TVO favourites.

These pilots will air as part of ‘Comedy Playhouse’ on BBC One, ‘New on Two’ on BBC Two and ‘Comedy Slices’ on BBC Three.

The Other One, BBC Two

A sitcom about two sisters who had no idea the other existed until their father drops dead. Cathy has a fiancé, a Duke of Edinburgh Award and a pension while Cat has a pay-as-you-go phone. The only thing they have in common are their names. Both of them have always wanted a sister – just maybe not each other.

The pilot stars Rebecca Front, Ellie White, Lauren Socha (Catastrophe), Amit Shah (Stag) and Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley). It has been written by Holly Walsh (Motherland), directed by Dan Zeff (Inside No. 9) and produced by Pippa Brown (Psychobitches).

Sticky, BBC Three


Animated sitcom following four best friends who attend a college located in London’s mythical borough of Shatford. This deceptively boring scenario serves as a launchpad for epic adventure, heart-rending friendship, and increasingly sticky situations.

The pilot unbelievably stars Tom Hardy along with Tony WayTom DavisKayvan Novak, Javone Prince (Inside No. 9), Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders) and Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who). It has been created and directed by Ed Tracy (Fonejacker), and written by a team of writers led by Steve Burge (Mongrels).

Wannabe, BBC Three

Back in the girl-power heyday of the 90s, a hit single would easily get you 15 minutes of fame. But 15 minutes just isn’t long enough for some people… Maxine never made it to the big time as part of teenage girl group Variety and now, as a middle-aged failing music manager, she finds herself in crisis, when the one act she looks after threatens to drop her. But Maxine has come up with a plan, and what she thinks the world is really missing is ‘Mum Pop’.

The pilot stars Lily Brazier (People Just Do Nothing) as Maxine, alongside a cast including Nicholas Burns and Jim Howick.

Celebrity Voicemail, BBC Three

Kayvan Novak has adapted his acclaimed Radio 4 comedy, The Celebrity Voicemail Show, which imagines what it would be like to listen to the voicemails left on a celebrity’s answerphone. In this pilot episode, Kayvan will imagine the answerphone messages that might have been left for George Lucas midway through his hectic, and often shambolic, first phase of shooting on Star Wars in the Tunisian desert.

The pilot has been produced by Matt Stronge (The IT Crowd) and directed by Kayvan Novak and Ed Tracy.

Mister Winner, BBC One

Photo by Idil Sukan/Draw HQ

A sitcom starring Spencer Jones (Upstart Crow) as Leslie Winner, a well-meaning but hapless chap who is prone to accidents, complications and landing himself in unusual and often somewhat dangerous situations. Leslie plans to propose to his girlfriend, Jemma Smith (Aimee-Ffion Edwards – Detectorists), but unknown to him, she is having doubts about their relationship as he doesn’t take life seriously enough.

Jemma’s parents will be played by Shaun Williamson (Extras) and Dorothy Atkinson (Mum), and there will also be a guest appearance from stand-up Romesh Ranganathan. The pilot has been written by Matt Morgan (Hospital People) and directed by Ben Palmer (Urban Myths).

Tim Vine Travels Through Time, BBC One

Master of the pun Tim Vine journeys back in time to the days of Robin Hood in a quest to mend a golden arrow and a broken heart.

Tim is in search of a celebrity for the grand opening of his antique shop, and it just so happens that his very first customer is presenter and Strictly Come Dancing champion, Ore Oduba, who asks Tim if he can mend his ancient golden arrow. Tim steps inside his special time travel Grandfather clock which takes him to Sherwood Forest in the days of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. Tim must get to the bottom of a mystery to repair the broken arrow and also help out Robin (who happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to Ore Oduba).

The cast includes Sally Phillips, Tim Key (Mid Morning Matters) and Marek Larwood (Big Field). This pilot has been written by Tim Vine and John Archer, directed by Barbara Wiltshire and produced by Baby Cow Productions (The Mighty BooshHunderby).

The Pact, BBC Two

 Two teenage friends make a pact that if they’re both still single aged 35, they’ll marry each other. Amy doesn’t think it’ll ever happen, but Andy, who’s secretly in love with Amy, desperately hopes that it will.

Twenty years later, Amy (Sarah Solemani – Him & Her) and Andy (Brett Goldstein – Derek) have drifted apart. Andy  is divorced with a four year old son, but in a new relationship. Amy, meanwhile, has managed to avoid growing up entirely.  She lives in a flat-share, works behind a bar, and her relationships never seem to go beyond drunken one night stands.

Produced by Cunk on Shakespeare producer Sam Ward.

Other pilots include:

Static on BBC One, starring stand-up comedian Rob Beckett as a man who quits a job in London to move back in with his parents in their southeast London family home, only to discover they’ve just sold the house and moved to a static caravan park in Margate.

Famalam on BBC Two, a new sketch show where no area of the universe is off-limits.

Chinese Burn on BBC Three, following the escapades of three Chinese girls as they negotiate the trials of modern life in London.

Hailmakers on BBC Three, about two men, Saz and Sol, the country’s lowest-rent entrepreneurs, as they find out that there’s nothing harder than easy money.

Enterprice on BBC Three, about two young entrepreneurs in the early stages of rolling out their home delivery service, Speedi-Kazz.

More details on these pilots, including their air dates, as and when we get them!


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