Sky Arts has commissioned four silent comedies starring a range of household names including Kevin Eldon, Johnny Vegas, Kim Cattrall, Frank Skinner and Vic Reeves, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
The first commission, Brilliantman! sees Eldon play a wannabe suburban superhero in a dialogue-free one-off which will be part of a physical comedy season on the channel in the autumn.
To the vexation of his landlady Mrs Wardle, played in drag by Johnny Vegas (yes, you heard right), Eldon’s character gets into all sorts of tangles when he tries to help a variety of local characters including a jogger being mugged, a window cleaner dangling from a window, cafe customers that haven’t paid their bill and a burglar in his lodgings.
He fails to deal with these incidents mostly because he can’t get his Superhero suit on in time – or is fleeing the attention of Mrs Wardle’s aggressive parrot (pictured).
Sex and the City star Cattrall plays the eponymous heroine of Ruby Robinson, another one-off which sees her character inhabit a huge, isolated and dilapidated house with a troupe of unusual acrobat helpers that she has come to take for granted.
Yearning for the company of her nephew and his family, a visit from them spells trouble for Ruby who comes to learn to appreciate that the people who truly love her are right under her nose. Ruby Robinson features some “seemingly impossible physical feats and tells an unusual comic morality tale,” according to the broadcaster.
The third commission, Three Kinds of Stupid, is a three stooges-style physical comedy starring Seann Walsh, Marek Larwood and Jocelyn Jee Esien and follows the misadventures of three community police officers who befriend a blind man, played by Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves).
Things go badly wrong when one of the gang accidentally kills the blind man’s guide dog with a prawn sandwich. Unable to tell him about the tragedy they pursue elaborate ends to convince him his dog is still alive and well.
The fourth silent comedy is Rotters which follows a blundering gang of idiots who attempt to rob an auction house owned by an antiques dealer who is played by Frank Skinner.
Sky Arts director Philip Edgar-Jones said of the new shows: “There’s no finer sight in life than someone bumping into something. This was the starting point for our brand new physical comedy season on Sky Arts. Luckily the brilliant comic talent who signed up to make four top notch, one-offs all had a rather more sophisticated view of what a silent comedy should be.
“We are thrilled that Frank Skinner, Vic Reeves, Johnny Vegas, Kevin Eldon, Seann Walsh and Kim Cattrall (amongst a host of others) will be entertaining our equally sophisticated customers with their versions of knockabout fun.”