The Olympics were, miraculously, a resounding success – much to the relief of Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville), ex-Head of the fictional Olympic Deliverance Commission. But now he’s got a bit of time on his hands, he’s turning his attention to the BBC…
His next role is their (fictional) Head of Values, requiring him to clarify, define, or re-define the core purpose of the BBC across all its functions and to strengthen its future position, in particular for Licence Fee Renegotiation and Charter Renewal in 2016 and 2017. Uh-oh.
Relishing the opportunity to influence and shape one of the great British institutions, Ian is tasked with having BIG thoughts. But there’s a catch. It turns out he doesn’t have any time to think his big thoughts. In fact, he doesn’t have time to think any thoughts at all.
Now, the Beeb have made it very clear this is not a sequel to Twenty Twelve – more of a follow-up, “sharing some DNA” with its predecessor but featuring new situations and new characters (and sadly by the looks of it, no Amelia Bullmore or Olivia Colman).
The good news is we will get a chance to revisit Jessica Hynes’s “totally cool” PR guru Siobhan Sharpe as she moves on from her role masterminding London 2012’s often questionable publicity strategy.
“It isn’t a demolition job on anybody or anything,” said Twenty Twelve and W1A writer, John Morton, “and it isn’t one giant in-joke, and this isn’t a game of guessing who is supposed to be who. If it is satirical then it’s satirical about an environment, an ethos, and the absurdities of modern corporate life itself. The key principle is to operate at a level of reality just to the left or the right of fact, to create stories that haven’t actually happened but that could happen or might have happened.”
A spokesperson for the BBC’s director-general, Tony Hall, added: “In a divergent, 360 degrees, flexi-content, on-demand marketplace, this is just the kind of connected proposition that the BBC is prioritising… what is it…??”
“This is a kind of love letter to the BBC,” concluded head of BBC in-house comedy, Mark Freeland. “But a letter that gets mislaid, because the remote computer system is not working and Head of Recovery, BBC, is stuck in a blue sky brainstorming session in a meeting room that’s been double booked and anyway, the bean bags have gone missing.”
Filming begins on the four new episodes next month with the new series to be screened on BBC2 in 2014.