Details on the new BBC2 sitcoms for 2008
BBC2 has revealed more details about the sitcom which will be making up its winter schedule. They are:
Stephen Mangan stars as Keith, the wrong person trying to do the right thing, in Never Better.
A recovering alcoholic in his mid-thirties, Keith doesn't realise that alcohol was the least of his problems. Indeed, while he manages to stay on the wagon, his sobriety brings crisis and destruction to those around him.
At his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings he creates chaos, endangering the recovery of his fellow 12-steppers. At home, his wife and two children have to cope with Keith's new extreme attentiveness and misfiring determination to be a good dad and husband.
Never Better is about a recovery that never progresses and family time that never fails to go wrong. The cast also includes Kate Ashfield as Keith's wife Anita, and Tom Goodman-Hill as his best friend, Richard.
Taking The Flak
An acerbic, authentic and caustic comedy that covers the entire progress of a small African war, as seen through the eyes of a team of journalists sending back the nightly reports for the BBC 'Ten'.
The team includes the smooth, veteran correspondent; the harassed, but infinitely resourceful, producer; and the green and gauche rookie stringer, dropped into a hotel and forced to choose between a room on "the shooting side" and "the mortar side".
Journalists in war zones live in a state of perpetual bloody war - with themselves, their organisation, their colleagues, their competitors and their loved ones. So, if they can't get themselves embedded with the invading forces, they'll get embedded with each other.
In the first true synthesis of news and narrative comedy, Taking The Flak is shot by an award-winning news cameraman entirely on location in Kenya and created, co-written and co-produced by experienced, award winning journalists. It includes cameo appearances from George Alagiah, Sophie Raworth and Dermot Murnaghan.
The series stars British and Kenyan actors, including Martin Jarvis (Titanic), Doon Mackichan (Smack The Pony), Bruce Mackinnon (Jekyll, Home Again) and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Star Stories), with special appearances by Lloyd Owen (Monarch Of The Glen) and Mackenzie Crook (The Office).
Lab Rats is a new comedy set in a university laboratory, starring Chris Addison (The Thick Of It).
Somewhere in the tangle of rooms and corridors that is the St Dunstan's College science building, the occupants of the Arnolfini Research Laboratory work and, for the most part, live. The Arnolfini is used by the university for flashy-looking projects, random research ideas and as a revenue-raising lab for hire.
The style and subjects of each episode are big, daft and cartoony and by no means restricted to the world of science. One week might find the characters accidentally engendering giant, corridor-filling snails; the next negotiating a lab bursting with a snowstorm.
The regular cast also includes Selina Cadell (Bremner, Bird And Fortune), Geoff McGivern (Hyperdrive), Jo Enright (Phoenix Nights), Helen Moon (Shameless) and Dan Tetsell (Extras).
Lab Rats is written by Chris Addison and Carl Cooper, the Sony Gold Award-winning writers of BBC Radio 4's The Ape That Got Lucky. The executive producer is Armando Iannucci.
Jacky (Gregor Fisher) and Tony (Billy Boyd) are two ordinary guys who work for a property maintenance company, clearing out empty or fire-damaged flats and making simple repairs. Despite being very different, these two have simply "hit it off".
For both men, work is an escape. When they are together in an empty flat, they can go into their own little world – a place of wild flights of fancy and comic imaginings sparked by items they find or problems they encounter in each new location.
Promising to be both poignant and funny, Empty sees Jacky and Tony explore comic possibilities in the most mundane situations before the real world intrudes with its uncanny knack of bringing them comically back down to Earth.
The BBC has announced the creation of an annual Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture, named in honour of the late writer and actor, and intended to address key current themes in British comedy.
Ben Miller will be reunited with the writers of The Worst Week Of My Life, Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni, for new BBC One sitcom I Want My Wife Back.
Comedian Tracey Ullman, whose 1980s US series gave birth to The Simpsons, is to make a brand new series for the BBC, more than 30 years since last working for the corporation.
Morgana Robinson has been awarded her own sketch show pilot for BBC Two. Morgana & Friends will explore the world of celebrity both on and off camera.
BBC Two has confirmed it has commissioned a one-off programme celebrating the 25-year working partnership of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse.
Rory Bremner will follow up his Coalition Report programme with an Election Report special after May's General Election.