Mitchell and Webb fans had to wait well over two years for the second series of Back, but after this week’s heartbreaking finale they’ll be hoping that a third comes along much quicker.
The sitcom follows feuding foster brothers Stephen (Mitchell) and Andrew (Webb), who are locked in a power struggle over their family’s pub that occasionally escalates to outright psychological warfare.
Series two saw some great comedic moments and killer one-liners, but ended on a dramatic note as the show bid farewell to one of its principal characters before springing an epic cliffhanger ending.
So, will we get a follow-up to answer all of our burning questions? Read on for everything we know so far about a potential third series of Back (beware spoilers for series two follow).
Back series 3 release date: Has the sitcom been renewed?
There’s no word yet on whether Back has been renewed for a third series, but we expect Channel 4 to come to a decision in the near future.
The second series was confirmed a mere month after the first concluded, so if the broadcaster sticks to a similar timeframe we should know the fate of Back before too long.
Creator and writer Simon Blackwell is certainly keen for the show to return, revealing in a press event that he already has an idea of how he wants to follow-up on the latest jaw-dropping cliffhanger.
“I think we know where it might go if there were a third series,” he said. “There’s a very particular ending to this series and I think we know where we might go in terms of the story if there was a third one.”
In a joking reference to the delays that hampered production on series two, producer Kenton Allen added: “So hold onto your hats for 2027!”
Back series 3 plot
After a relatively light-hearted series that saw Stephen and Andrew enacting more devious schemes against one another, Back series two packed a surprisingly emotional ending.
First, there was the long-awaited meeting between Andrew and his uncaring birth mother, who Stephen ultimately paid to feign interest in her son.
Then came the devastating revelation that Ellen (Penny Downie) had cancer and although she bravely attempted to fight the illness, it ultimately proved fatal.
A potential third series would no doubt have to deal with the aftermath of this loss as Stephen and his sister Cass (Louise Brealey) learn to cope in a world without their mother, but that’s not the only uncertainty.
Towards the end of the series, Andrew began speculating that Ellen’s fiancé, the town vicar Julian (John Macmillan), might have been aware of her poor health and could have made an effort to muscle the brothers out of her will.
But of course, Andrew is hardly reliable and has often demonstrated a desire to steer Stephen onto the wrong path in an effort to mess with his head, so take this theory with a pinch of salt for now.
Speaking of the tightrope that Back walks in terms of comedy and drama, creator Simon Blackwell said: “First and foremost it needs to be funny, that’s our job. But it also needs to be emotionally true I think, just to make it something that people want to watch.
“I always try to write stuff where, if you lifted all of the jokes out, it would work as a drama, the story would be satisfying and you would believe all of the emotional beats. So it’s a balance to strike but primarily it’s a comedy and you have to keep in the back of your mind that we need laughs.”
Yet another plot twist hit in the closing moments of the finale, when a pregnant woman appeared at Ellen’s funeral to say goodbye to “mum”, in a shock move that mirrored Andrew’s sudden arrival in the first episode.
Is this mysterious figure a genuine foster sibling or perhaps an imposter? We need answers and we need them now.
Back series 3 cast
If Back were to be renewed for a third series, we expect most of the main cast would return, led by legendary comedy double act David Mitchell and Robert Webb in the lead roles as Stephen and Andrew.
We hope to see the return of Olivia Poulet (Doc Martin) as Alison, who became a very worthy adversary to Andrew in series two, after he set his sights on stealing her parents.
It seems likely we’ll see more from John Macmillan (The Trouble with Maggie Cole) as Julian as the character comes under scrutiny from Stephen and Andrew, but his bride-to-be Ellen (Penny Downie) has made a sad exit from the series.
And of course, the John Barleycorn pub wouldn’t be complete without its resident bartending team, Mike (Oliver Maltman) and Jan (Jessica Gunning).