Ambassadors, the BBC2 comedy starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb as two British diplomats, will not be returning for a second series in its current form, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
However, moves are afoot to resurrect it as a drama instead.
Independent production company Big Talk, which makes the show with That Mitchell and Webb Company is understood to be awaiting a decision from new BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw about reformatting the series and accentuating its more serious elements.
When it premiered in October last year Ambassadors surprised some with its strong dramatic spine and some finely judged moments of insight and pathos as it followed the antics of a British diplomatic mission to the fictional republic of Tazbekistan.
Also unusual for a narrative comedy was the format – three hour-long episodes instead of the 30-minute instalments seen in most sitcoms.
As Radio Times TV editor Alison Graham wrote presciently in her preview at the time: “There are some funny bits, but it’s a drama with a light touch, rather than an out-and-out comedy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as this is an engaging, even winning, hour.”
Ambassadors was written by James Wood, who penned hit BBC2 comedy Rev, and writing partner Rupert Walters. Like Rev, it was based on extensive research, this time involving garnering stories from real life diplomats.
Mitchell played Keith Davis, newly appointed British Ambassadors of Tazbekistan, with Keeley Hawes taking on the role of his wife Jennifer. Mitchell’s comedy partner Robert Webb, who played the deputy head of mission Neil Tilly, described the show before its broadcast as “Yes, Prime Minister meets Spooks at a bad disco and Yes, Prime Minister is a bit sick on Spooks, but Spooks doesn’t mind.”
In comments which suggest that David Mitchell could be happy to appear in Ambassadors the drama, he said at the time: “It’s credible, hopefully funny at times, but serious at times. It was very nice to do something in a slightly different genre. It was nice to do a bit of acting alongside all my sitting in a sparkly chair telling a joke.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years writing for Stage newspaper, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.