Channel 4 is releasing seven more Comedy Blaps pilots, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal, including new shows from Rosie Jones, Jordan Brookes and Kiell Smith-Bynoe, with an emphasis on showcasing talent with disabilities.
Most of the short series, which feature performers like Jamie Demetriou, Joe Thomas, Emma Sidi, Kemah Bob, Anna Crilly, Sunil Patel, Amy Gledhill and primetime television alumni Debbie McGee, will land on All 4 next month. They also include new comedies from online sensation Harry Trevaldwyn, comedians William Thompson and Jess Thom and relative newcomer Emma Lennox.
Rosie Jones is breaking bad as a drug dealer in the sitcom Disability Benefits, which she stars in and co-writes with Peter Fellows. She plays Rosie Dawkins, a young woman who's just been made redundant and had her state benefits cut to shreds, so with very little left to lose begins to build an illegal drugs empire. However, she isn't your average street-dealing dope peddler - she's sharp, funny, biting - and, on top of all that, she has cerebral palsy.
People have underestimated Rosie her entire life; if they're not patronising her for completing the most menial of tasks, they're pretending she's not even there. What better disguise could there be for criminal activity than being written off by the same system that exists to protect the law?
Co-starring Ryan McParland, Guy Rhys, Angela Griffin, Lynn Hunter, Mark Monero and Will Brown, Disability Benefits is directed by Sophie King and produced by Charlie Laurie. The executive producers for Merman are Clelia Mountford and Sharon Horgan, while the executive producers for 2LE are Tom Thostrup and Michael Livingstone.
Late Night Forever! With Jordan Brookes
Current Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Brookes is presenting the "chat show of his nightmares", Late Night Forever! With Jordan Brookes.
Stuck in a coma after a mysterious accident, he finds himself hosting a psychedelic talk show live from his own subconscious. And every time he makes it to the credits, another episode begins.
Jordan is convinced that if he can just put on a good show, he will wake up. Yet he can't seem to control the parade of disco dancing intrusive thoughts and personified past traumas which interrupt every episode. Can he face down his demons and make it back to reality? Or will he be interviewing Debbie McGee for all eternity?
Starring Brookes with Patel, Gledhill and showbusiness veteran McGee, Late Night Forever! is written by Brookes with producer Zoë Tomalin for Hat Trick and is directed by Rosco 5, aka Gideon Beresford and Behnam Taheri. The executive producer is Stu Mather.
Described as "a fast-paced and ridiculous free fall into a wide range of sketchy situations ... fun, dumb and discombobulating", the show "reflects the modern world we live in but not quite the way you'd imagine". We meet various heroes - all played by Smith-Bynoe - who walk wrong and strong into chaos.
Smith-Bynoe writes with Kayode Ewumi, Jamie Demetriou, Sam Campbell, Adam Hess and Stevie Martin, and the ensemble cast includes Demetriou, Ben Ashenden, Kemah Bob, Kevin Garry, Emily Lloyd-Saini, Emma Sidi, Tom Stourton and Jason York. Produced by Maisah Thompson for Baby Cow, it's directed by Big Red Button, aka Johnny Burns and Pier van Tijn, and executive produced by Rupert Majendie.
Focused on an egomaniac with a self-proclaimed "heart of gold", it tells the brave and gritty story of just what a twenty-five-year-old brat will go through in order to get a half-head of highlights. Filmed in such a way that we only ever see him, it's a narcissist's (aka Billi's) dream.
Jess Thom, best known by her alter-ego Touretteshero, stars in the loosely autobiographical Biscuitland. This Blap conveys the extraordinary everyday world that Jess creates and shares with everyone around her.
Her Tourette's syndrome and her surreal tics transform and inform her experience of life, work, friendship, and family. Unexpected hedgehogs, surprising geraniums, and an abundance of biscuits are all part of Jess's life as she encounters the constant challenges of a world that routinely excludes disabled people.
Described as "rude, unexpected, challenging, and authentic, a day in the life of someone whose unusual neurology has ideas of its own - funny, surprising, and unfiltered in every way", Biscuitland is written by Christine Robertson with Thom and Matthew Pountney, directed by Nicole Charles and produced by Jon Rolph for Fremantle and North Bridge Media.
William Of Orangedale
Inspired by the life of comic William Thompson, William Of Orangedale is a coming-of-age comedy about teenager William and his friends growing up on a council estate in East Belfast and the shenanigans that they get up to. Teenage years can be complicated but William must juggle all these dramas while living with cerebral palsy.
Promising to delve into a side of Northern Ireland never seen on screen before, Thompson co-wrote the "uplifting tale about friendship, family and making the best of your lot" with fellow comic Dave Elliott. Eoin Cleland directs, Anna Hinds produces for Hat Trick and Louise Gallagher and Jimmy Mulville executive produce.
Finally, Emma Lennox has written Unfair, the story of clueless student Sorcha who leaves her leafy home for a life on a showman's yard with boyfriend, Bentley. Sorcha is desperate to fit in with his family, but knowing nothing of fairground life, doesn't realise she's in for a rollercoaster ride. It stars Kat Ronney and Dylan Wood and also features Joe Thomas, Anna Crilly, Sharon Small, Grant O'Rourke, Tina Grey, Yana Harris and Gavin Jon Wright
Blaps to have successfully been turned into series for Channel 4 include Lady Parts, Chewing Gum, Stath Lets Flats and Dead Pixels. The broadcaster put out an appeal for new ideas last year with an emphasis on representation for people with disabilities.
Co-commissioning executives for Channel 4, Laura Riseam and Joe Hullait, said: "After a world pandemic enforced hiatus, we are so delighted for Blaps to be back bigger, bolder and better than ever before. With seven brand new shorts, this bumper crop is showcasing exciting new talent on and off screen and delivering stories from previously unheard voices. We were overwhelmed by the reception to our brief and can't wait for everyone to get their peepers on this round of Blaps."