When it was first announced that BBC3 had commissioned a comedy set in a bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan, the news was met with concern – was this a step too far for the sake of a few laughs?
But Bluestone 42 has responded to its doubters with a successful eight-part series starring Oliver Chris, Stephen Wight, Kelly Adams and Tony Gardner. And now the cast and crew have been rewarded for their efforts, with the announcement that BBC3 has recommissioned the show for a second series.
The comedy, written by James Cary (Miranda) and Richard Hurst (Secret Diary of a Call Girl), follows the day-to-day banter of a counter-IED squad based in Helmand province, switching between tense sequences of bomb defusal and scenes of fast-paced camaraderie within the team’s camp.
BBC3 controller Zai Bennett said: “I’m incredibly proud of this bold, brave and hugely funny comedy drama series which has been enjoying big audiences on BBC3. The cast, crew and writers have played an absolute blinder in this important series which completes and complements BBC3’s already extensive coverage of the war in Afghanistan.”
Mark Freeland, head of BBC in-house comedy, added: “In-house comedy is at its best when we try extraordinary and slightly scary things. I believe Bluestone 42 is both. We tried to excite audiences, as well as respect the subject matter and those in conflict. The team cannot wait to pick up this challenge again.”
The final episode in the first series of Bluestone 42 aired last night, attracting just over half a million viewers.