Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Jodie Comer: The woman behind TV's most ruthless villain

With a wardrobe to die for and a closet of weapons that would impress an international arms dealer, Comer’s refreshing portrayal of the free-spirited assassin threw all of television’s gendered troupes out the window. Cold, ruthless and carefree, Villanelle is not your typical female character in a spy drama.

“This role should be stereotypically one-dimensional and probably played by a man, but Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] has completely turned all those stereotypes on their head,” says Comer.

BBC renews Killing Eve for a third series

The announcement comes just days after the US premiere of series two, which aired on BBC America and AMC on Sunday 7th April.

Killing Eve, which follows MI5 agent Eve (Sandra Oh ) on the hunt for assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer), was a break out hit in 2018, with BBC iPlayer receiving over 46 million requests for series one of the drama so far.

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.

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).

Watch the trailer for Killing Eve series two

Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh (Credit: BBC)

Based on novellas by Luke Jennings, the first series followed MI5 officer Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) as she pursued international assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) across Europe.

The new trailer shows Polastri on the hunt for Villanelle once again, after the psychopathic killer goes on the run from hospital.

The first series was adapted by RTS award-winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who acts as an executive producer on series two with writer-actor Emerald Fennel taking over as lead writer.

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.”

Sherlock star Andrew Scott joins Fleabag

Andrew Scott joins a returning cast which includes Olivia Colman (Godmother), Sian Clifford (Claire), Bill Paterson (Dad), Brett Gelman (Martin), Jenny Rainsford (Boo) and Hugh Skinner (Harry).

According to Executive Producer Lydia Hampson, Waller-Bridge began writing the new series in January this year, and the results, promises BBC Comedy boss Shane Allen, are “knockout”. 

Jed Mercurio's advice for screenwriters

Line of Duty (Credit: BBC)

Now's a great time to get into writing for TV. There have never been more opportunities for scripted programming. To stand out from the crowd, an idea should seem original and distinctive.

While the breadth of programming has increased, the traditional formats have remained dominant. Your writing should fit the standard models for a mini-series, a serial or an episodic series; 30 minutes for comedy, 60 minutes for drama.

Fleabag producer Lydia Hampson on comedy, drama and Reese Witherspoon

It is a motto she has picked up from Fleabag’s creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

“We wanted to shoot it like a drama and cut it like a comedy,” she explains. “Sometimes it feels like drama is comedy’s big older brother.”

For Hampson and Waller-Bridge, it wasn’t enough to create a ‘typical’ comedy. “We were trying to go for the ambition of drama, but not at the expense of the laughs.”