Sky has unveiled an exciting slate of original comedy for 2023, which includes a fifth season of Brassic with stars Joe Gilgun and Michelle Keegan, as well as a miniature Friends reunion.


The fun begins in April with the return of espionage sitcom Intelligence for an hour-long special, which sees the team at CySec "go rogue to save their reputations and their jobs".

Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso) teams up once more with Friends icon David Schwimmer for the latest episode, which sees Jennifer Saunders join the cast as a character named Joanna Telfer-Fotheringham.

Die-hard fans will remember that Schwimmer and Saunders previously shared the screen for the London-set episodes of Friends, where she played Andrea, the icy stepmother of doomed bride Emily Waltham (Helen Baxendale).

Intelligence co-stars Jane Stanness (Mary), Sylvestra Le Touzel (Christine) and Gana Bayarsaikhan (Tuva) also return.

Nick Mohammed and David Schwimmer on the set of the Intelligence 2023 special
Nick Mohammed and David Schwimmer on the set of the Intelligence 2023 special. Sky

Later in the year, Sky will debut a brand new original comedy with the working title Smothered, which puts a fresh spin on the romcom formula courtesy of writer Monica Heisey (Schitt's Creek).

The synopsis reads: "Sammy (Danielle Vitalis) is a fiercely independent young woman who is done with dating apps, sick of immature men, and here for a good time. Tom (Jon Pointing) has never been inclined to swipe left or right; he’s a settled man with a warm heart but carries his fair share of baggage.

"On a night out, the two strangers meet, and end up singing out their drunken souls in a karaoke booth. Then the inevitable happens. (They hook up)."

The two of them agree to have a no-strings-attached affair for strictly no longer than three weeks, at which point they will go their separate ways and never speak again.

However, this plan is complicated by growing feelings between them and the revelation that Tom has a six-year-old daughter. Smothered is described as "a tale of two worlds colliding, where romance blossoms but the pressures of modern dating linger".

Creator Heisey said: “As a superfan of romantic comedies, it’s been a dream come true to get a crack at one myself, especially with such a talented cast and crew.”

Danielle Vitalis and Jon Pointing star in Smothered
Danielle Vitalis and Jon Pointing star in Smothered. Sky

The show also features Aisling Bea (This Way Up), Mercury Prize nominee Rebecca Lucy Taylor (also known as Self Esteem), Blair Underwood (Sex and the City), Rizzle Kicks' Jordan Stephens, Harry Trevaldwyn (Ten Percent) and Lisa Hammond (EastEnders).

Additionally, Sky has confirmed that Brassic will return this year for season 5, which sees "Vinnie (Gilgun) and the gang face big repercussions from their entanglements with the dangerous McDonagh brothers and powerful drug buyer Manolito".

Vinnie desperately needs to arrange some kind of exit strategy, but is distracted by his complex relationship with Erin (Keegan) as he wonders whether they will ever actually be together.

The synopsis for the new season, consisting of eight anarchic hour-long episodes, asks: "Does she really want to share this unhinged and dangerous life with him?"

Brassic executive producer David Livingstone said: “Who can believe it? Series 5. The only way to go on is to be more audacious and more ambitious than ever. Nobody is resting on their laurels. Five will be our best yet. It’s classic Brassic.”

Sky will again cap off the year with a festive treat, which this year takes the form of feature-length special Joy to the World, which comes to Sky Max and NOW this Christmas.

The synopsis reads: "Twelve-year-old Mikey Collins, who’s dirt-poor and hates Christmas, finds two Santa Clauses in the woods. One has just robbed a bank (James Nesbitt) and is on the run with the cash, the other Santa (Timothy Spall) claims to have fallen out of his sleigh.

"Mikey has no time for this second guy – he’s well past believing any of the Jingle Bells, spirit-of-the-season rubbish, even if his little brother Sean insists on treating the old man like a superstar. Instead, Mikey’s determined to get his hands on the bank-robber’s cash, convinced that this is the answer to giving his family the Christmas they all crave.

It ends with the tease: "But as Mikey risks everything for the loot, he comes to realise that maybe the spirit of Christmas is alive after all."

Timothy Spall said: “I’m delighted to be involved with this unique festive adventure. It’s a rare thing that a story has the perfect mixture of social commentary grit, suspense, emotional bite and original comedy, plus a myriad of Santas (one of them possibly the real one)!

"I’m looking forward to working with Ed Hall and the fabulous team that’s being packed up into what promises to be an extremely novel festive pressie!”

James Nesbitt commented: “It is incredibly exciting to be back in Belfast and part of something that is both funny, heart-warming and yet which also holds a mirror up to society.

"The script lifts your spirits while brilliantly addressing the cost-of-living crisis affecting so many families in the UK and Ireland right now. It’s also a joy to be reunited with my old cell mate Timothy Spall.”

Jon Mountague, Director of Comedy at Sky Studios, added: “2023 is going to be a blistering year for comedy on Sky. With returning favourites like Brassic and a crop of box fresh shows, with undeniably dynamic talent, Sky continues to be the home of UK comedy."

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