A full three years on from its initial debut, the second series of acclaimed Mitchell and Webb sitcom Back finally arrives on Channel 4 tonight.
The premiere picks up with cynical publican Stephen (Mitchell) spending time at a psychiatric institution, after being driven close to madness by the duplicitous actions of his foster brother, Andrew (Webb).
His impression of an enlightened soul is good enough to get him discharged, but in reality, Stephen’s grudge against Andrew is just as bitter as ever – and this time, he’s determined to bring him down for good.
Production on series two faced a couple of major delays (more on that below) but we can say with certainty that it was well worth the wait, telling a witty, fun and surprisingly emotional story that is a thrill from start to finish. Read our Back review for more.
Here’s everything you need to know about Back series two on Channel 4.
What time is Back series two on TV?
CONFIRMED: Back series two will finally premiere on Channel 4 on Thursday 21st January 2021 at 10pm.
The show was recommissioned for a second series back in November 2017 and fans have been wondering ever since when exactly those follow-up episodes would make it to broadcast.
Creator Simon Blackwell announced on Twitter that Back series 2 was due to start filming in October 2019, but production soon hit a major hurdle when Robert Webb was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition.
That wouldn’t be the only obstacle for the crew to overcome, as filming would be interrupted once again due to the coronavirus pandemic. Find out more information here on why Back was delayed.
After a long and unpredictable journey, Webb announced that filming on the second series of Back had finally wrapped in September 2020, joking that it may have broken the record for “most preposterously dragged-out sitcom shoot”.
Back is wrapped. Thanks to our EXCELLENT director George Kane (pictured) @GeorgeKaneIV and BRILLIANT producer Lyndsay Robinson (not pictured) as well as the SEXY cast (not pictured). Coming to a screen of some sort at some point. pic.twitter.com/hEnw0GoQWA— Robert Webb (@arobertwebb) September 19, 2020
What is Back about?
David Mitchell plays cynical pub owner Stephen, whose insecurities come to the fore when his foster brother Andrew (Robert Webb) reappears at their father’s funeral.
Andrew is fondly remembered by his mother and quickly becomes a popular figure with the locals in their small Gloucestershire community, but Stephen believes that he is lying about his true identity.
This suspicion grows and grows over the course of the first series, ultimately sending Stephen into a state of extreme paranoia which lands him in a local psychiatric institution.
Series two picks up with Stephen being discharged but his aspersions against Andrew keep coming and this time he’s determined to publicly expose him as a liar.
Back series 2 cast
Peep Show stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb are sharing the screen once again for Back, having previously worked together on their BBC One sketch show as well as comedy drama Ambassadors and 2007 film Magicians.
On his partnership with Webb, Mitchell said: “We’ve been working together for over 20 years, and in that time it’s gone through phases when it’s all been tremendous fun, and phases when we’ve felt bleak and hopeless.
“There have been phases where we’ve been doing stuff that we’re excited to do, but we’re utterly sick of the sight of each other. And then it comes back round to be fun and joyful again.
“But we did some of our best stuff when we couldn’t stand the sight of each other, so the fun is not key – but it’s nice that the fun has returned.”
Also returning to the Back cast for the second series is Penny Downie (Downton Abbey) as Stephen’s mother, Ellen, and Louise Brealey (A Discovery of Witches) as his gormless sister, Cassandra.
Geoffrey McGivern is a frequent scene-stealer as Uncle Geoff, who has a lot of strong opinions and isn’t shy about sharing them, while John Macmillan plays local vicar Julian.
Oliver Maltman (Liar) and Jessica Gunning (Trollied) will also be back as the hilarious bar staff at ailing country pub The John Barleycorn, while Olivia Poulet is also returning as Stephen’s ex-wife, Alison.
Back series 2 trailer
The first trailer for Back series two was revealed exclusively by RadioTimes.com in December 2020. Check it out below:
Back series 2 premieres on Channel 4 at 10pm on Thursday 21st January. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.