Comedy

Lisa McGee discusses the success of Derry Girls and female-led comedies

Derry Girls Mural (Credit: Channel 4)

Peek around the corner of Badgers Bar in Derry and you’ll see the larger-than-life faces of Erin, Clare, Michelle, Orla and James plastered over the wall. As far as signs of a show’s success go, they don’t get much bigger than a five-metre-high mural.

From the moment the profane and brilliant Derry Girls burst on to our screens last year in a haze of teenage escapades, nostalgic music and 1990s artefacts – such as pastel printed wallpaper, Baby-G watches and armed soldiers on the streets – it captivated its audience.

The power of female comedy

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag (Credit: BBC)

"I promised myself that I wasn’t going to say anything rude but I have actually been wet dreaming about getting a Bafta for the whole of my life.” With typically cheeky verve, Phoebe Waller-Bridge accepted her Bafta for her performance in Fleabag back in 2017. Now, with the follow-up series on our screens, fans will be clamouring for more of her stunningly clever tightrope act.

From rock'n'roll to Windrush: ITV2's Timewasters visit the 1950s

Avoiding the usual tropes audiences have come to expect, the comedy series tackles issues surrounding race, gender and culture through the lens of a black time travelling jazz quartet.

Sitting down with three quarters of the Timewasters cast, it’s clear the chemistry flows off screen for Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Adelayo Adedayo and Kadiff Kirwan. Along with Samson Kayo, the group are back on screens as the time travelling jazz band from South London this week.

Launch date announced for second series of Fleabag

Fleabag's Godmother/Stepmother(Olivia Colman) (Credit: BBC)

The new series picks up with protagonist Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) trying to made amends with her dysfunctional family by attending an uncomfortable dinner to celebrate her Dad’s (Bill Paterson) engagement to her villainous Godmother (Olivia Coleman).

The evening takes a dramatic turn when old tensions rise to the surface after an unexpected attack.

Joined by familiar faces, Fleabag shares the awkwardness with successful sister Claire (Sian Clifford) and alcoholic brother-in-law Martin (Brett Gelman).

Fleabag series two casts Kristin Scott Thomas and Fiona Shaw

The stars will be joining Andrew Scott (Sherlock) as new cast members for the second series of the hit BBC Three comedy.

“Phoebe Waller Bridge cannot be ignored,” said Dame Thomas. “She manages to hit core issues with sledgehammer brutality as she trips along with a spring in her step.”

Fiona Shaw added, “Phoebe's mind is like nothing else.”

The Russell Howard Hour returns for a third and fourth series

(Credit: Sky)

The topical entertainment show sees Howard offer his unique and funny perspective on news and current affairs, heckling the headlines and hosting a celebrity guest each week.

Filmed in front of a studio audience, the comedian also talks to children about global politics, champions the nation’s generosity and addresses his fear of mortality and tries various life prolonging activities.

“I absolutely love doing this show,” commented Russell Howard. “It’s such a ridiculous privilege that I get to write jokes as the world spins out of control.”

UKTV announces cast of Dad’s Army remake

Robert Bathurst, Kevin R. McNally and Bernard Cribbins (Credit: UKTV/Gold)

Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes will recreate three episodes of the classic sitcom Dad’s Army that were lost from the archive.

The series will celebrate 50 years since the first broadcast of the original episodes, written by David Croft and Jimmy Perry, who devised the idea for Dad’s Army back in the 1960s.

In the original series, which ran from 1968 until 1977, Arthur Lowe played Captain Mainwaring, the pompous bank manager-turned-leader of the local group of Home Guards during the Second World War.

Stath Lets Flats returns for a second series

Stath (Jamie Demetriou) in Stath Lets Flats (Credit: Channel 4)

The six-part series stars the show’s writer, Jamie Demetriou, as Stath, the UK’s worst letting agent.

After the chaos of the previous series, which included Stath setting fire to a property, the well-meaning lettings agent has been denied a promotion at his own family’s business.

Now under the management of Stath’s nemesis Julian (Dustin Demri-Burns), the hopeless estate agent must re-think what he wants out of life, just like his sister Sophie (Natasia Demetriou), who has failed her exams at Dance College.