W1A – BBCs satire about itself starring Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Hynes and Sarah Parish – is due for a return in 2017, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
There had been rumours that the show was put on hold in 2016 because director general Tony Hall didn’t want the organisation to be unduly embarrassed during this year’s Charter renewal marathon. The last series finished in May 2015.
This has been denied by senior BBC sources who say that the availability of the cast was the major issue in the delay.
Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville, who plays the hapless head of values, Ian Fletcher, is busy as are the rest of the cast including Sarah Parish and Jessica Hynes, who plays ghastly PR Siobhan Sharpe.
However, these difficulties appear to have been overcome and the new series is earmarked to be filmed in 2017. “It is definitely coming back next year,” said a production source.
Despite these claims, Morton was certainly keen to get the comedy aired during the charter saga when the BBC was in the news, but it never happened.
He told RadioTimes.com last year: “It will put pressure on our characters in the fictional world which will be helpful. 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.”
Another piece of good news is that the new series is expected to see a return for Jessica Hynes’ motormouth PR Siobhan Sharpe.
Here she is in action…