Sue Johnston comedy Lapland gets full series
BBC One has announced that it has commissioned a full series of Lapland, a 'heart-warming' comedy series starring Sue Johnston.
A one-off special edition of the comedy drama was broadcast last Christmas Eve, and whilst the programme - originally commissioned at 90 minutes but edited down to 75 - attracted some negative reviews, over 6 million viewers tuned in to watch the Lewis family from Merseyside travel to Lapland for a festive family holiday, in one of the festive period's most coveted slots.
The BBC has now confirmed that it has ordered a 6x 30 minute series, following the family back in the UK. It is not yet known what the programme's new title will be.
Royle Family star Sue Johnston leads the cast as Eileen Lewis, the recently widowed matriarch of the chaotic Lewis clan, a large, close-knit and dysfunctional Northern family. The trip to Lapland depicted in the Christmas special changed Eileen's outlook on life and left the newly widowed pensioner determined to live life to the full rather than 'sitting in the corner dressed in black'. However, life back in Birkenhead proves a little less inspiring than the spectacular vistas and Northern lights of Lapland.
The series will centre on Eileen's struggle to find her own peace and joy in life whilst often confounded by her self-centred children and loveable but trying grandchildren, after husband Ted's death.
The show features three households and three generations: Eileen; her son and daughter-in-law Pete (Dean Andrews) and Mandy (Julie Graham); daughter and son-in-law Paula (Elizabeth Berrington) and Ray (William Ash); and both couples' respective children: Ethan & Melissa and Jack & Liam.
As was the special, the series will be written by Michael Wynne, whose previous credits include Eyes Down and The Priory, and produced by Rosemary McGowan (Jonathan Creek).
BBC Executive Mark Freeland says "After its rating success last Christmas, it's exciting that Lapland is coming back as a series. It shows BBC One backs fresh, new, comic writing."
Executive Producer Pete Thornton adds: "Michael Wynne has penned a beautifully nuanced, warm hearted Northern comedy featuring a highly original comic family. With the brilliant Sue Johnston leading a stellar cast, we're thrilled to welcome this hit ensemble back to BBC One."
Lapland will be filmed in Salford, Manchester, Liverpool and Birkenhead from later this month, and is being lined up for broadcast in early 2013.
Below is a clip from the Christmas special, in which the Lewis Family nearly miss their flight:
Nina Conti is to present a new BBC Two show called Nina Conti's Va-Va-Riety Show. The programme is described as 'a modern take on the traditional variety show'.
Rhod Gilbert has been named as the new permanent host of music-based panel show Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
Radio 4 is reviving its hit impressions show Dead Ringers after a break of 7 years. A new series starts at the end of this month.
E4 is to show Almost Royal, the BBC America comedy series in which two actors travel around the US pretending to be distant descendants of the Royal Family.
The BBC is reportedly looking into the possibility of a chat show hosted by Brendan O'Carroll in the guise of Mrs Brown.
Hit, multi-award winning childrens' sketch series Horrible Histories may return to screens for a sixth series. But not with the same cast.
An interview with MC Grindah and DJ Beats, the characters at the centre of BBC3's People Just Do Nothing. Read
Hayley Ellis provides this handy guide on how to deal with other people on social networking websites. Read
A public poll has revealed the nation's top ten favourite Monty Python sketches. Results here. Read
Ben Miller speaks about how he went from uni to becoming one of the biggest names in UK comedy. Read
Katie Mulgrew explains why she couldn't think of anything worse than going out with a comedian. Read
It's Independence Day in America. Here is Stephen Merchant's pro-UK message to the country. Watch
A look at ten of the best-known acts who will be performing at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival this August. Read
A guide to visiting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. How to get there, where to stay, what to see... Read