Olivia Colman to play wife of Mighty Boosh star Julian Barratt in Channel 4’s dark relationship comedy Flowers

The Broadchurch actress will play a music teacher alongside Barratt's troubled children's author and the rest of their eccentric family

Bafta-winning Broadchurch star Olivia Colman will head up the cast of Flowers, a new dark Channel 4 comedy about the eponymous dysfunctional family.


Colman’s character Deborah is a music teacher who is struggling to hold together her marriage to husband Maurice.

Played by Julian Barratt, one half of surreal comedy duo The Mighty Boosh, Maurice is the author of twisted children’s books series The Grubbs and appears to harbour an array of dark secrets and demons. Deborah also suspects he is in a secret gay relationship with his Japanese illustrator Shun (played by Will Sharpe).

In the comedy, which will air next year, Maurice and Deborah live in a creaky, messy, crumbling old house with Maurice’s eccentric mother Hattie (Leila Hoffman), their maladjusted twenty-five year old twins Amy (Sophia di Martino – Mount Pleasant, Friday Night Dinner) and son Donald (Daniel Rigby). 

“Swinging from the magical to the mundane to the downright mad, the eccentric Flowers and their often self-inflicted crises are surrounded by even stranger neighbours who become the agents of yet more everyday chaos and disaster,” said Channel 4 in a statement. 

The six-part series has been written and directed by Will Sharpe who scripted the 2011 feature film Black Pond. It is being produced by Humans and Broadchurch production house Kudos.

Sharpe said: “This is a comedy about people who are struggling and the situations that can arise when you refuse to admit that there are problems. Our aim is not to make light of the darkness, but to find the light within it.”

C4’s deputy head of comedy Nerys Evans said “Flowers is the kind of deliciously dark comedy we love at Channel 4. The word dysfunctional doesn’t even come close to describing quite how brilliantly peculiar the Flowers family are. Will Sharpe’s genius coupled with an amazing cast has led us to an unbelievably original piece and we are delighted to have it on the channel.”


Naomi de Pear, who developed the series and will produce for Kudos, said: “Flowers has an other-worldly quality to it, even though it’s about real characters and real emotions. I couldn’t be happier that Will brought this dark, hilarious and emotional vision through our doors and it’s been such a joy to develop and see it come to life with our extraordinary cast.”