BBC2 is set to make history by ordering the UK's first transgender sitcom Boy Meets Girl among the channel's new commissions.
Created and written by Elliott Kerrigan and Simon Carlyle, the Manchester-based comedy was discovered through the Trans Comedy Award – a BBC talent search, through the BBC Writersroom, which offered aspiring writers up to £5,000 for the best script that promoted a positive portrayal of transgender characters. The series was then commissioned following a screening of the pilot at the BBC Salford Sitcom Showcase in March.
The synopsis of the six-part series is as follows.
"Leo’s had a bad day. He’s been fired (again), is being given a hard time by his mum and, to cap it all, his blind date fails to show up. But then he bumps into Judy and finds himself deeply attracted to this surprising and beguiling woman. They bond over drinks and, unfazed by the fact that there’s a bit of an age gap between them, arrange to meet the following evening. Leo’s mother is unhappy that he’s having dinner with an older woman. But Leo doesn’t care what she thinks; he knows that he’s just met someone very special."
Boy Meets Girl will be the first comedy to pivot entirely around transgender issues; a topic that has recently been given weight by Laverne Cox's portrayal of a transgender prisoner in US comedy Orange Is the New Black. Casting and broadcast details for Boy Meets Girl will be announced at a later date.
Alongside dramas such as The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses and news that Jack Whitehall's Backchat will be moving from BBC3 to BBC2, other commissions announced by the channel include a new travel series fronted by The Great British Bake Off co-host Sue Perkins, called The Mekong River. The four-part show will see Perkins journey to South East Asia in search of the river that brings life to millions of people from Vietnam to the Tibetan mountains.
There will also be a sketch series, The Javone Prince show, fronted by PhoneShop actor. The four-part series will focus on modern multicultural Britain, and the attitudes of UK citizens. Shot in front of a live audience, it will feature sketches, standup, music and special guests.
An adaptation of Stonemouth, the acclaimed novel from the late Iain Banks, is also due to go into production. The first TV adaptation of his work since his death last year, the drama will "delve into love, loyalty and vengeance," and focus on character Stewart Gilmour, who returns home for his best friend’s funeral a year after being run out of town by his girlfriend's family.
Prime Suspect's David Kane will write the adaptation, while Wallander's Charles Martin will direct.