Lights, camera… silence: filming begins on Matt Lucas comedy Pompidou

The Little Britain star's new silent sitcom finally begins shooting 14 months after the BBC1 commission was first announced...

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Lights, camera… silence: filming begins on Matt Lucas comedy Pompidou
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He won't be shouting about it, but Little Britain star Matt Lucas has finally started filming his silent comedy Pompidiou, “the show I've always wanted to make.”

The six–part series will air early next year on BBC1 and the commission of a comedy with no dialogue – even if it is written by Matt Lucas – is being seen as a bold gamble for the mainstream channel.

Lucas takes the titular role of Pompidou, an elderly oddball aristocrat who has fallen on hard times and finds himself forced to live in a clapped-out old caravan parked beside a crumbling estate.

The pompous, penniless but lovable eccentric is served by his loyal butler Hove – played by The Thick of It’s Alex MacQueen – and their Afghan Hound Marion.

Each week Pompidou and Hove face a new challenge, from stealing back a priceless bowl, to extracting a live bird which has flown into Hove’s mouth and is nesting in his stomach.

Former Russ Abbott sidekick Bella Emberg, Coronation Street’s Roy Barraclough and actress Jane Asher are among the performers making cameo appearances on the comedy.

The BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen said: “Matt has worked incredibly hard on creating a unique comedy universe for Pompidou. Only someone of his immense talent and experience could achieve something that feels so modern and inventive which also has an underlying nod to past classic comedy masters like Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy. It’s rare to have a comedy the whole family can enjoy together.”