Sometimes big changes on TV happen in steps so small you barely notice them. Nothing now could seem more unremarkable than to find a flawed but funny young woman dominating a much talked-about show. Think of Fleabag or I May Destroy You or I Hate Suzie – all showered with awards and plaudits.


But in many ways every one of those shows owes a debt to a comedy trailblazer who opened the door for the likes of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Michaela Coel and Billie Piper to walk through.

When Sharon Horgan launched Catastrophe on Channel 4 in 2015 she was emerging from a long period in the TV wilderness, having had her first success with cult comedy Pulling six years before. But her creation of a character who set the template for funny women with messy, complicated lives not only engaged a new audience but changed her career for ever.

Now she is one of the most in-demand writers and producers in TV, whose hit Bad Sisters won three gongs at the most recent BAFTAs. And this week she plays it straight in Jack Thorne’s heartbreaking BBC One drama Best Interests, about two parents faced with the most agonising decision of all as they consider the future for their terminally ill daughter.

It’s a change of gear and direction that, needless to say, she manages effortlessly. Read all about Sharon’s career and her latest drama in our interview in the latest issue of Radio Times magazine.

Forty years ago, The Black Adder changed TV, too, but it almost didn’t happen, as Sir Tony Robinson recalls this week. What began as a comedy in which Rowan Atkinson played the numbskull rather than the smart aleck nearly didn’t take flight, though many factors that made it an era-defining comedy were in place.

However, one missing ingredient was Robinson himself. Read about it – then watch the lost pilot that is now being shown in full for the first time.

Sharon Horgan Radio Times cover

Also in this week's Radio Times:

  • Robert Carlyle discusses his return to Full Monty character Gaz in the Disney Plus spin-off, his confounded doubts about the potential success of the original film, and why he won’t be stripping off this time around
  • TV property guru Sarah Beeny shares her personal battle with breast cancer, the importance of early detection, and how working on her new show really helped her
  • Comedian Guz Khan on why he decided to revive his sitcom Man Like Mobeen, the lack of diverse voices in the entertainment industry, and his gratitude to Joe Lycett

Best Interests premieres on BBC One on Monday 12th June at 9pm. For more, check out our dedicated Drama page or our full TV Guide and Streaming Guide.

Take part in the Screen Test, a project from Radio Times and the Universities of Sussex and Brighton, to explore the role of television and audio in our lives.


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