Sky Atlantic has announced a series of all-star comedy shorts under the banner Common Ground. The ten-minute, one-off episodes are to begin airing in double bills from Monday 4 February at 9pm as part of the channel’s Comedy Mondays.
The series, which is set in south London and features some overlapping of characters and locations between the individual films, begins with Floyd, in which Charles Dance stars as a rakish retired rock manager causing chaos for his daughter (Amelia Bullmore) and son-in-law (Hugo Speer). Also airing on 4 February is Patricia, written by and starring Jessica Hynes. The Twenty Twelve star plays an inept local councillor with an apparently limitless talent for avoiding the consequences of her own bad decisions.
Katy Brand writes and stars in Eleanor, about a woman whose favourite organic cafe is in danger of being taken over by the overbearing owner of the local greasy spoon (Gordon Kennedy). It’s teamed on 11 February with Sunshine Simon, a gangster comedy by and with Tom Davis (Comedy Lab), co-starring Sean Pertwee and, as a policeman, Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle.
On 18 February, Common Ground continues with Johnny Vegas as a tattooist in a self-penned comedy, Rupert, co-starring Tony Pitts, Paul Kaye and Celia Pacquola; and Fergus & Crispin, the tale of two posh but incompetent entrepreneurs played by Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton.
Former Fast Show star Simon Day takes the lead in Colin, playing a personal trainer; also showing on 25 February is Nell, Ted & Marlon, which is set in a community centre and features Annette Crosbie (One Foot in the Grave) as a lonely chorister.
The last double bill opens with Bill & Sinclair, by and with Hunderby star Rufus Jones and his longtime collaborator Dan Skinner – now better known as Angelos Epithemiou. Jones plays a digraced banker forced to move in with his brother (Skinner). The series ends with Barry, starring Alex Lowe as an 82-year-old ma n working through a “bucket list”. Former Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson appears as Barry’s daughter.
The series will air alongside season two of the acclaimed comedy Girls, and a repeat run of the double British Comedy Award-winner Hunderby.