W1A will be back for a new series says BBC2 controller

Kim Shillinglaw says the BBC comedy starring Hugh Bonneville and Sarah Parish has not been shelved despite the obvious sensitivities surrounding charter renewal...

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The last series of W1A, the BBC’s razor sharp satire about itself, finished in May. And so far there hasn’t been another commission despite writer John Morton’s suggestion that the Corporation’s year of charter renewal will be a brilliant time for the show centred around Hugh Bonneville’s hapless head of BBC values, Ian Fletcher.

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“It will put pressure on our characters in the fictional world which will be helpful,” he said in May. “2016 will be the time of charter renewal and what the BBC is for and how it is funded will be part of the national conversation and it would be good to be a very small part of that conversation.

“The show will never take a position, but W1A is written from a place where I certainly hope things turn out OK for the BBC. I think most people think about the BBC how you do about your parents. You don’t choose them and they may drive you mad occasionally, but you would be devastated if they weren’t there.”

But why has no decision been made on recommissioning the comedy, which will have to start filming soon if it is to air in spring 2016? Is the BBC worried about upsetting the apple cart at this precarious time? Apparently not.

“It’s all about the writer. When John’s ready we will be ready,” BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw told RadioTimes.com, adding that producers are also trying to get the schedules of in-demand stars like Downton Abbey’s Bonneville, as well as Sarah Parish and Jessica Hynes, in place.

“It’s a gorgeous series, it’s very funny, it’s really sharp, it’s both specific and universal,” she said.

Shillinglaw also has high hopes for new runs of Inside Number 9 – Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s series of darkly comic tales – Danny Baker’s comedy about his youth, Cradle to Grave, and transgender comedy Boy Meets Girl, but could not confirm a formal commission for any of these shows.

“I would love to have more [Boy Meets Girl] so I would say watch this space.”

Asked whether she would give the go-ahead to a second series of Cradle to Grave – which Danny Baker has already started writing with Jeff Pope – she said: “We have some big talent involved – Peter [Kay], Danny [Baker], people whose commitments have to be juggled but we are really, really keen. Doing comedy at nine and nine thirty has really worked.”

Of a possible return for Boy Meets Girl, which has just finished its debut series on her channel, she said: “I would love to see it happen.” 

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Shillinglaw added that Inside Number 9 (below) was also in line for a third series following the broadcast in the spring of series two.