Ben Elton pens new sitcom pilot for BBC1

Slings and Arrows will star David Haig as the head of a council's bungling Health & Safety department


If you were Ben Elton and you were going to write a BBC1 sitcom about the Health & Safety department of a local council, what would you call it? Slings and Arrows, of course…


The pilot from the man who brought us police sitcom The Thin Blue Line, and a musical about Queen, will star David Haig as an exasperated everyman who runs the Health & Safety department of Baselricky Council – which is staffed, of course, by a bunch of bungling misfits who cause far more chaos than they prevent.

According to the synopsis, viewers can expect “physical comedy, a gag rate to die for and beautifully heart-warming performances from an exceptional ensemble cast.” We shall see (if BBC bosses like the non-transmission pilot, that is, which is shooting this weekend and is directed, aptly, by the Vicar of Dibley’s Dewi Humphreys).

The show is the first sitcom Elton has written for the BBC since 2005’s little-lamented Blessed, and his first work for TV since the Australian sketch-show Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth, which was cancelled after three editions in 2011.


If you fancy watching watching Slings and Arrows being filmed this Saturday, you can get free tickets at the Applause Store. In the meantime, here’s an idea of the sort of thing you might be in for with a clip from The Thin Blue Line…