More than 20 years after working together on the classic BBC comedy Men Behaving Badly, writer Simon Nye and TV executive Beryl Vertue have teamed up on a new sitcom – set in a hotel.
Nye has finished the script for Private Parts and is hoping for a commission from the BBC, RadioTimes.com can reveal. Nye has also made casting approaches.
“Serious actors are desperate to do comedy so we’ve got some good people lined up,” he revealed, adding that he would not rule out a return of Men Behaving Badly either.
“There’s always the issue of how you’d cast it, but I’d never say no.”
Private Parts is being overseen by Hartswood Films, the independent production company run by Beryl Vertue, the mother of producer Sue Vertue who is married to Doctor Who and Sherlock executive Steven Moffat.
Vertue came across Nye’s 1989 novel Men Behaving Badly, and quickly realised it would lend itself to a TV adaptation. She managed to track down the author to a bank where he was working, and hired him to write the show which went on to become one of the most successful comedies ever and one which helped define the 1990s lad era.
The series started slowly on ITV when it starred Harry Enfield and Martin Clunes as the flatmates Dermot and Gary.
However it took off when it was snapped up by the BBC and moved to a post watershed slot on BBC1 with Enfield’s character Dermot replaced by Neil Morrissey as Tony.
For the most part the plot focused on Gary and Tony’s attempts to avoid commitment and drink as much lager as possible, with Tony’s obsession with Leslie Ash’s neighbour Deborah a recurring plot strand.
It was voted the best sitcom in the BBC’s history at BBC Television’s 60th anniversary celebrations in 1996.
However, if it makes it to TV, Private Parts is likely to draw inevitable comparisons with an altogether different comedy: the mother of all hotel sitcoms, Fawlty Towers. John Cleese’s 1970s’s classic Fawlty Towers ran for just twelve episodes between 1975 and 1979.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.