Smack the Pony star joins forces with South Park writer for “filthy” comedy pilot about magazines

Sally Phillips has high hopes for Distinguished Ladies, which revolves around a revealing picture of the Duchess of Cambridge and features a cameo from Caitlin Moran

Sally Phillips has reunited with South Park writer and former Smack the Pony scribe Jane Bussmann on a risqué TV comedy about magazine journalists, RadioTimes.com can reveal.

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The comedy, which has the working title of Distinguished Ladies, sees the pair collaborate for the first time since their comedy The Junkies was made for the web in 2000 and broadcast on Channel 4.

Made for a budget of just £3,500, The Junkies starred Phillips, Peter Baynham and Peter Serafinowicz and was co-written by Bussman and David Quantick. 

The pilot episode of the new idea is causing a simlar stir in comedy circles: the plot centres around an upskirt photo of Kate Middleton, with the twist being that she is not wearing any underwear.

It also pokes fun at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their philanthropic work. At one point an actor playing Prince William says: “Millions of women in India and Africa don’t even look like they’ve been raped. But they probably have.”

The pilot stars Fonejacker’s Kayvan Novak alongside Morgana Robinson, Olivia Poulet and Vilma Hollingbery, with Bussmann acting for the first time since she did a guest voice on South Park. It also includes a cameo from journalist Caitlin Moran, among others.  

Bussmann and Phillps filmed the show at the BBC Radio studios in Marylebone in front of an audience of 700 raucous comedy fans –  a large number of whom secured entry via the web-site Popbitch. They and are hoping it will attract the interest of either the BBC or Channel 4, but they admit that it may require changes.

“It’s South Park does Grazia,” said Phillips. “We had to do the reading three times. And people laughed a lot, which is always good.  I’d watch it. I think a current affairs sitcom that satirises the British media would be great. Have I Got News for You but all the questions are from Grazia, Hello and Stars! magazines…

Describing the audience laughter – so loud the actor’s microphones distorted – Phillips adds: “Normally when you are trying to get a show away you go to the exec’s offices and wait in a beige room with no atmosphere with a cold Nescafe and a plate of soft biscuits. I can’t pretend it wasn’t satisfying to have the execs have to come to us and have to queue round the block to get in. A very gentle kind of revenge.”


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