W1A

BBC comedy king Shane Allen on the importance of new talent

(Credit: BBC)

Both Monty Python’s Flying Circus and W1A – shows produced by the BBC Comedy department five decades apart – featured a gag in which the BBC head of comedy is revealed to be a dour, humourless figure on the brink of clinical depression.

“Yes. And Episodes did a bit of that, as well,” laughs Shane Allen, when the long-running gag about his job is mentioned, thereby establishing that it could not apply to him. The tape of our conversation is fittingly – though, given some of his predecessors, not inevitably – punctuated with his deep laugh.

BBC faces tough challenges in hard-hitting 'documentary' W1A

W1A, BBC, High Bonneville, Sarah Parish, Jonathan Bailey, Ophelia Lovibond, Hugh Skinner, Jessica Hynes

It's an exciting time as the BBC’s Head of Values Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville), formerly Olympic Head of Deliverance, is throwing open the revolving doors of the organisation in this six-part series.

The cameras will be following Fletcher and his team during and post-Charter as the attempt to decipher the BBC’s new mission statement of doing More Of Less, something Head of Output Anna Rampton (Sarah Parish) described succinctly as “putting what we do best front and centre and about identifying better ways of doing less of it more.”

Can Perfect Curve save the Beeb?

W1A

W1A has enjoyed two successful series gently mocking its BBC pay­master and delighting audiences. But with govern­ment pressure on the corporation mounting, Writer/Director John Morton faces some tricky decisions as he prepares a third series.

“It will be harder to pretend that I don’t hope the BBC survives,” Morton told a packed RTS London Centre event, “W1A: the story behind the series”, at the end of January.

Behind the Scenes of W1A

W1A, BBC, High Bonneville, Sarah Parish, Jonathan Bailey, Ophelia Lovibond, Hugh Skinner, Jessica Hynes

Writer/director John Morton explained to a packed London Centre event at the end of January that the show’s forerunner, London Olympics mockumentary Twenty Twelve, was initially poorly received by the BBC.

Twenty Twelve had a bit of a bumpy start –  it wasn’t always liked very much in the BBC,” revealed Morton. “When it went out and did okay the music changed from ‘We don’t think this is very good’ to ‘Can we have more of these wonderful characters?’.”

Your new favourite TV dramas of 2016

Beowulf, ITV

 

 

Churchill’s Secret - ITV

This one of TV film stars Harry Potter actor Michael Gambon as Winston Churchill. In 1953 Winston Churchill has the first of several strokes which was kept secret from the world. Told from the perspective of his young nurse, Churchill fights to recover, all the while holding tight to the reins of the nation, refusing to relinquish his Prime Ministership.