David Mitchell is returning to the BBC for genre-bending detective comedy Ludwig, which features on a five-strong comedy slate alongside Hulu co-production Dinosaur and a show from The Duchess star Michelle de Swarte.
Unveiling his first major comedy slate at this afternoon’s BBC Comedy Festival in Cardiff, the corporation’s Comedy Director Jon Petrie said the shows reflect “the depth and range of our offerings which champion British creativity.”
The slate is led by Ludwig, Peep Show star Mitchell’s first BBC project since Upstart Crow, which follows the eponymous protagonist as he takes on the identity of his brother, DCI James Taylor, who has disappeared off the face of the earth. Mitchell’s Ludwig lives in quiet solitude, designing puzzles for a living under his nom-de-plume, and he struggles to adapt to being a twin who happens to be a successful DCI leading Cambridge’s busy inner-city major crimes team.
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The Outlaws producer Big Talk, which worked with Mitchell and his comedy partner Robert Webb on Channel 4’s Back, is producing Ludwig in association with That Mitchell and Webb Company, with Mark Brotherhood penning the script. EPs are Kenton Allen, Chris Sussman and Kathryn O’Connor, and the producer is Georgie Fallon.
Ludwig is joined on the slate by de Swarte’s Spent, with Netflix’s The Duchess actress also starring as Mia, a former catwalk model who is on the run, mainly from herself. The protagonist may have a high falutin’ attitude and a world class skincare regime, but she is now living on the breadline. Show comes from Various Artists Limited and is being exec-produced by Jack Bayles and Phil Clarke.
Meanwhile, Hulu/BBC co-pro Dinosaur started life as a BBC Comedy Slice pilot and comes from Fleabag indie Two Brothers, following Nina (Ashley Storrie), an autistic woman in her 30s, who adores living with her sister and best friend Evie. Yet when Evie rushes into an engagement after only six weeks and makes Nina her maid of honor, Nina is floored.
Rounding out the slate is Things You Should Have Done from People Just Do Nothing indie Roughcut TV, an offbeat dysfunctional family sitcom created by YouTuber Chi with a C aka Lucia Keskin, which stars Am I Being Unreasonable?‘s Selin Hizli. Finally, there is BBC Studios’ Mammoth, which follows a Welsh PE teacher believed to be killed in an avalanche whose body is found decades later, alive.
Petrie has also recommissioned Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education for a fifth season, along with Romesh Ranganathan’s Avoidance, Diane Morgan’s Mandy, Peacock and sketch show Ellie & Natasia.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that British comedy is hugely important to television and the national cultural landscape,” added Petrie. “It is a public service and needed now more than ever.”
Petrie also unveiled a set of 11 Comedy Short Films including Ricky Gervais’ first BBC show in a decade.
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