Ashley Storrie starring in BBC autism comedy Dinosaur

ExclusiveMonday 8th March 2021, 6:58pm by Jay Richardson

Ashley Storrie

Ashley Storrie is to star in a BBC Three comedy drama about an autistic woman, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Made by the producers of Fleabag, a pilot of Dinosaur was shot in Glasgow last month, with the stand-up, who has autism, making her television acting debut as Nina, a twenty-something woman who has yet to be diagnosed but is struggling to negotiate the world around her.

Vicki Pepperdine co-stars in the comedy, which is directed by Jonathan Schey (Ladhood) for Two Brothers Pictures, producers of Back To Life and both series of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's internationally acclaimed sitcom for the channel.

BCG understands that writer Matilda Curtis has penned scripts for an entire series.

Storrie reflected upon her autism, and a more severe form of the condition that her father has, in her 2019 Edinburgh Fringe show, Hysterical, stating "it's what makes me me ... I'm very good at hiding it. I've got what's called 'masking'. Ladies are very good at hiding autism, it's when we put on a muggle face and we can pretend to be normal just to make the rest of you feel comfortable."

She has appeared on BBC stand-up and panel shows, such as BBC Scotland's The Comedy Underground and The Blame Game for BBC Northern Ireland, and had a bit-part in Josie Long's 2018 film Super November.

However, a lead role in a BBC series would represent a significant profile raise for the comic, who is the daughter of fellow stand-up Janey Godley, as BBC Three prepares to return to television. Storrie landed the part after an extensive open casting search.

The National Autistic Society estimates that there are approximately 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK, with a male-to-female ratio of approximately 3:1.

However, various factors - including autism assessment tools tending to be based on male characteristics and women and girls being better at masking or camouflaging their difficulties - may cause significant under-diagnosis of women.

A graduate of the Soho Theatre's Young Writers Lab, Curtis's 2018 Edinburgh Fringe play Somebody was described as "skilfully structured and wittily observed" by The Scotsman.

Her cousin, Ethan Floquet, is autistic and was the subject of the 2018 documentary Ethan At 21, shot over 12 years.

Floquet's mother, Cammie McGovern, is also the author of several novels for children and adults featuring characters with autism and other disabilities.

In 2019, the BBC pledged to provide a more "authentic and distinctive" representation of disabled people on screen, as well as committing to increasing the number of disabled people in its workforce to 12% by 2022.

Fern Brady's stand-up special Power And Chaos, in which she touches upon her own autism, airs on Thursday on BBC Scotland and on Friday on BBC One. The corporation has also just commissioned Paddy McGuinness and his wife Christine to present a BBC One documentary on the subject after their three children were diagnosed with the condition.

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