BBC commissions new comedies starring David Mitchell, Michelle De Swarte and more

BBC commissions new comedies starring David Mitchell, Michelle De Swarte and more

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Thursday, 25th May 2023
Newly Commissioned shows. Credit: BBC.

The BBC has unveiled 10 brand new and returning comedies, with Bad Education and Ellie & Natasia among those making a comeback.

Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy for the BBC, announced the slate during a speech at the BBC’s Comedy Festival in Cardiff. He said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that British Comedy is hugely important to television and the national cultural landscape. It is a public service and needed now more than ever.

"Not only do audiences consume comedy in huge numbers - there were over 500 million requests on BBC iPlayer last year – but it has also acted as a vital talent pipeline to some of the UK’s most successful creatives. The BBC remains the biggest single investor in original comedy content in the UK."

New Series


David Mitchell (Upstart Crow) stars as the identical twin brother of a missing detective chief inspector.

John ‘Ludwig’ Taylor (Mitchell) has never married, never had kids, and never really left his home. Under the pseudonym ‘Ludwig’, John spends his time designing and selling puzzles. He is completely cut off from modern technology with no phone, computer, or even television.

In a bid to find his brother and bring him home, John assumes the detective's identity, and is soon plunged into the life of a DCI, leading Cambridge’s major crimes team.


Created and led by Michelle de Swarte, Spent is the story of a catwalk model turned broke and sofa surfing woman pushing her 40s. Mia (de Swarte) had humble beginnings, but through her high-flying career she has become addicted to the finer things in life.

De Swarte (The Duchess) says: “To have my first commission as a writer for the BBC seems like some sort of fever dream. The shows I watched growing up are like landmarks in my memory, so to be able to share a space with those shows in someone else's mind is more than I ever thought possible!”


PE teacher Tony Mammoth (Mike Bubbins) was presumed dead after being swallowed by an avalanche on a school trip in 1979, following a freak ski accident. When his body is discovered and defrosted in the present day, Tony goes back into the work force and attempts to rebuild his life as a PE teacher in 2021 Cardiff.

Former PE teacher, and writer and star of Mammoth, Bubbins says: “I’m very excited to watch Tony Mammoth come to life. And not just after being miraculously frozen in time, following a freak skiing accident, in 1979. I want Mammoth to be the sort of comedy that families can sit down to enjoy together. Big laughs, from a big character. With quite a big moustache”.


Comedian Ashley Storrie makes her TV debut as Nina, an autistic woman in her 30s suddenly cast out of her comfort zone and routine by her roommate, sister, and best friend Evie’s sudden engagement to her boyfriend of six weeks.

When Nina is chosen as Evie’s maid of honour she sets herself a challenge – to find herself a wedding date. As Nina explores first dates, dating apps, and ghosting for the first time, will she be able to understand and play by the rules of modern dating?

Things You Should Have Done

Having made her name through impression-based sketches on social media under the handle @chiwithac, Lucia Keskin makes her writing and acting debut in Things You Should Have Done.

‘Stay-at-home-daughter’ Chi (Keskin) has spent the last 20 years comfortable in her family home, eating crisps, watching television, and vlogging. Upon the sudden death of her parents, Chi is left to fend for herself, only able to inherit her childhood home under one condition – she must complete a list her parents left her entitled “Things You Should Have Done”, which includes everything from ‘get a job’ to ‘pet a dog’.

As Chi works through her list, she comes up against her Aunt Karen played by Selin Hizli (Am I Being Unreasonable?) who wants nothing to do with her highly dependent niece but would very much like to inherit a house.

Returning Series

Credit: BBC

Bad Education

Bad Education has been commissioned for a fifth series. Former students Stephen (Layton Williams) and Mitchell (Charlie Wernham) resume their teaching careers with their ever more unique approaches to education. Class K will be returning with Usma (Asha Hassan), Inchez (Anthony J Abraham), Harrison (Bobby Johnson), Jinx (Laura Marcus), Warren (Ali Hadji-Heshmati), and Blessing (Francesca Amewudah-Rivers) all stepping back into the classroom.

Also returning will be veteran teacher Mr Fraser, played by Mathew Horne (Gavin and Stacey), and control freak headteacher Ms Hoburn, played by Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On).


Comedian Romesh Ranganathan (Rob & Romesh Vs…) will return as the anti-hero Jonathan who, in series one, split up with his partner Claire (Jessica Knappett) and, instead of telling their son Spencer, ran away. This encapsulates Jonathan’s severe issues with avoidance - Jonathan falls through life avoiding making decisions, avoiding the mess he causes, and above all avoiding conflict.

Series two is about love, reconciliations, and a baby. And Ranganathan has warned that he may be clothed in a lot of Lycra.


Mandy comes from the mind of Diane Morgan (Cunk on Earth), who also plays the eponymous woman unsuccessfully seeking a job. Hopefully Mandy will have more luck in series three, as in series two she took a job as a cleaner/scullery maid dressed in historical garb and handing out nibbles at a snobby masked party. Each instalment is 15 minutes long, so Mandy’s forays never last too long.

Diane Morgan says: “Bigger hair! Longer cigarettes! Mintier pig! Expect all this and more in the third epic season of Mandy. Now in 3D (where available) – you’ll believe you’re actually inside Mandy’s small back bedroom! Get your free goggles in the Radio Times”.


Personal trainer Andy Peacock (Allan ‘Seapa’ Mustafa) begins re-evaluating himself as he realises his gym lad, playboy persona may be wearing thin on others. Series one saw Andy applying for a job as head trainer and attempting to make meaningful connections with women.

Peacock will continue his self-improvement journey in series two, this time in an adult relationship and as the owner of a body-positive fitness business. Here’s hoping his ego doesn’t get in the way.

Ellie & Natasia

Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou are back for a second series of their sketch show. Expect blown out stereotypes like activewear mums, immigrant entrepreneurs starting (and failing) new ventures and James Bond himself.

Ellie and Natasia say: “When the BBC came crawling on their knees begging us for a series 2 we didn’t have it in our hearts to say no. It is our pleasure to provide our stunning and excellent sketches and characters to help out the darling little BBC – it’s God’s work and someone has to do it.” 

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The BBC has unveiled 10 brand new and returning comedies, with Bad Education and Ellie & Natasia among those making a comeback.