Ricky Gervais and more confirmed for new BBC Comedy Shorts
Gervais, Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Mark Bonnar are among those involved with 11 shorts about to drop on BBC iPlayer.
The BBC has announced a series of 11 short comedy films which will debut on BBC iPlayer this Friday (26th May), before airing on BBC Three.
The films have been created with the involvement of stars such as Ricky Gervais, Mark Bonnar and Jack Carroll - with the project intended to give a voice to both new and established talent looking to develop, and showcase exciting concepts centred on originality and experimentation.
Jon Petrie, the BBC's director of comedy, said: "It’s been exciting to create a space for comedy creatives to flex their funny bones and we’re particularly proud to have given 11 new writers and six new directors their first BBC Comedy credit. We can’t wait to see them go out."
You can find a trailer and descriptions for all 11 shorts below.
A Better Place
This short, created and written by Book of Jam (Jacob Topen and Ibrahim Clayton), follows an oddball trio who inherit the failing family funeral business after their father’s death.
Led by hapless son Archie, they devise a plan to save their funeral home from the clutches of rival businesswoman Eileen.
Book of Jam said: "We’re delighted to bring Book of Jam's fly on the wall, dead-pan style to the BBC Comedy Festival. If a comedy festival needs more of anything, it’s more plucky Dundonians, and stoney-faced Brummies, in a film about a funeral home."
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Uncle Shortbread (Arthur Studholme and Cosmo Wellings) are behind this short which stars Colin Hoult, and is about the dangers of sleep deprivation, the brutality of the music industry, and the power of Iggy Pop’s hip thrust.
Uncle Shortbread said: "Making this short film with Hat Trick for the BBC has been an absolute dream come true. Not in the literal sense though, as sadly no one's eyeballs and teeth fell out during filming, and we never found ourselves standing naked on stage at our school talent show with our childhood sweetheart Cindy Business watching on and laughing. Hopefully next time."
This slapstick comedy is based on the Beano comic strip of the same name and has been written and created by Louis Paxton.
It is about a young man (Dylan Blore) who is cursed with 'acute misfortune syndrome', and who tries to reconnect with his dad (Mark Bonnar) after being thrown out by his mum for setting fire to their house.
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Paxton said: "Calamity James has been a wonderful opportunity for me. Together with some of Scotland’s best cast and crew, we’ve made an ambitious, heartfelt, and befittingly disastrous short film of which I am immensely proud."
This film, written by Super Lemon (Rian Lennon and Ryan Early), is about Callum and Jordan, two emotionally-unassembled young lads from Northern Ireland who start the Funboys’ Fun Club, a playgroup for childish young men to engage in wholesome mucking about.
However, when a juice party goes awry, Callum’s ultra-religious fiancée Morgan kicks them out and the Funboys must search for a new HQ. When they come across Marty, a catatonically depressed 60-year-old, they try to bring joy back to his life and prove that fun won't necessarily lead to an eternity spent in raging hellfire.
Super Lemon have called it a "short film based on our own sad, sad lives."
Jobless is a sitcom from creator and writer by Thara Popoola about the Adenugas, a British-Nigerian middle-class family in Milton Keynes. The short particularly focuses on 16-year-old twin brother and sister Kehinde (Kenny) and Taiwo (Tai), who are desperate to make their mark on the world.
Popoola said: "I'm so excited for the world to meet the Adenuga twins, Tai and Kenny, or as their mum likes to call them, 'jobless people'! We've had such a fun time making this, and I couldn't have asked for a better cast, who have brought these characters to life so brilliantly."
Written by Angela Nesi and Anna Brook-Mitchell, the synopsis for this short says: "Don’t be afraid to embrace the beast within you... even if that means wolfing down a load of pervy men."
Nesi and Brook-Mitchell said: "We are really excited to be a part of BBC Comedy Short Films. It was a brilliant opportunity for us to work with such a talented team led by John Pocock, a producer we’ve been hassling to work with us for ages!
"A huge thank you to everyone who worked on this film and to the BBC Comedy team for creating space and opportunity for female comedy writers"
This short has been written by Jack Carroll and Tom Gregory, and stars Carroll as Mike, a student heading to his first day of sixth form on the mobility bus with friends Sonny and Dan. Will they make it to school without strangling each other?
Carroll said: "It’s been a lifelong ambition of mine to write and act in a BBC comedy and I couldn’t be prouder of getting to do that with a project as good as Mobility. We had such great fun making it and I think that really comes across.
"I can’t wait for viewers to join Mike and the gang for a journey on the mobility bus on the 26th May. Watch it and tell a friend, otherwise you’re probably ableist."
Pobl Bachyn is a comedy-horror film from Tarot about the triple threat of Welsh folklore, English tourists and (to a lesser degree) being hungover, all set on a farm on Ynys Môn.
It has been written by Adam Drake, Ed Easton, Kath Hughes, Ben Rowse and Kiri Pritchard-McLean, while Pritchard-McLean also makes her directorial debut.
Pritchard-McLean said: “I'm so excited that the first project I've directed is full of comedy talent I admire like Katy Wix, Dean Fagan and Tarot - I've got to say them, really.
"I'm so happy we got to shoot it all in beautiful North Wales working with an abundance of Welsh talent. Pobl Bachyn will take you on a night out with friends and give you a messy end you'll be talking about for years."
This Is Gay
They’re called “gays”. But what are they? Who are they? And why? Part mockumentary, part sketch show, This Is Gay attempts to answer questions such as what gays are, who they are and why. A figure known as Host takes you on a strange adventure with stop-offs including Renaissance Italy, modern-day London, a Welsh parish, and a fridge.
Creator and writer Kirk Flash said: “I just want to shine a light on the bits of gay life your local supermarket’s Pride month advert won't touch.”
Where It Ends
Jack Roberston writes and stars in this film about an actor who joins a panto tour of care homes, where he is confronted with the reality of where it ends. Also starring are Lauren Pattison, Charlie Hardwick and Dave Johns.
Roberston said: "Where it Ends is a personal story of something that actually happened to me and has stayed with me for years. So to be able to work with such fantastic people to bring the story to life, for screen, was amazing. But the best bit was the catering, the chips on set were perfectly seasoned."
Ricky Gervais directs this short from writers Harry Carlile and Jonathan Parramint, which stars Joe Wilkinson and Seroca Davis. It is about who two people who both plan to end it all at a desolate train track, but awkwardly turn up at the same time.
Carlile and Parramint said: “We are so proud and excited to see our film come to life. We’re so grateful to Ricky and the BBC for believing in us and this project, and can’t wait for everyone to watch it. Please watch it.”
All 11 comedy shorts will be available on BBC iPlayer on Friday 26th May, and will be shown on BBC Three in the coming months. Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.
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