Ian FitzGibbon

  • Director

Known for: Raised By Wolves (Director), Threesome (Director)

Press clippings

Suranne Jones to star in Christmas Carole, a festive special for Sky

Suranne Jones is to take the lead role in Christmas Carole, a festival comedy drama special for Sky that is loosely based on the story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

British Comedy Guide, 17th May 2022

Hullraisers sitcom series coming to Channel 4

Channel 4 has ordered Hullraisers, a sitcom series that "celebrates female talent, both on and off screen". Co-written by Lucy Beaumont, it focuses on three working class women living in Hull.

British Comedy Guide, 2nd July 2021

Coma sitcom pilot Beep to air on the BBC this March

The BBC is piloting Beep, a tragi-comic sitcom about the family of a man in a long-term coma.

British Comedy Guide, 3rd March 2021

The teenage girls living in the council house in Wolverhampton in Raised By Wolves (Channel 4, Monday) are a bracing breath of fresh air. If you saw the 2013 pilot you'll know what to expect; this semi-autobiographical sitcom about growing up in the 1980s is written by Caitlin Moran, the journalist and How to Be a Woman author, and Caroline Moran, her comedy-writing sister.

There's Germaine/Caitlin (played by Helen Monks), a stroppy 16-year-old sex-fixated extrovert; Aretha/Caz (Alexa Davies), her sarcastic, world-weary sidekick sister; and a gaggle of smaller children, "the babbies", in a chaotic bookish household headed by Della (Rebekah Staton), their no-nonsense mum.

Now commissioned for a series (under its Irish director, Ian FitzGibbon) and set in the present day, the first episode is mostly about Yoko getting her period, necessitating a family outing to "the aisle of shame" at Boots. "I don't think I want to be a woman, Mum," says Yoko as Germaine - she really is annoying - gleefully piles on the bloody (and hilarious) horror stories. "Nobody does, love, but the men are too chicken shit to handle it, so here we are," says Mum.

The girls love their movies and literary references, and inevitably, in their nonconformist clothes - Germaine channels Helena Bonham Carter - they're bullied. "There are CCTV cameras everywhere, you know," warns Aretha as a yob tries to steal her scarf. "George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four was entirely prescient."

They talk like this all the time. The only out-of-sync element punctuating the knowing dialogue and girl-power capers is a cheesy subplot involving Grandad, in his fluffy robe, getting prepped to seduce Granny over a pot of beef bourguignon that seems to have wandered in from a 1980s sitcom.

In just about every interview with Caitlin Moran, Wolverhampton - her birthplace and the setting for Raised By Wolves - is referred to in a way that suggests it's a British shorthand for cultural sinkhole. But Della, who is fond of a pithy life lecture when she's not blithely ignoring the kids, explains, "We're not northern twats, we're not southern twats, we're midlands twats." If you were ever a teenage girl - or, better still, have one - this is refreshingly honest and occasionally laugh-out-loud stuff.

Bernice Harrison, The Irish Times, 21st March 2015

In Nurse Paul Whitehouse has, with co-writer David Cummings, adapted this multi-role comedy, almost literally fleshing out the characters with much aid from prosthetics.

He plays most of the patients - or service users, as NHS jargon now has it - of the eponymous nurse, Liz (beautifully played by Esther Coles). She's a community psychiatric nurse and in last night's opening episode of four we followed her as she attended to her charges - which seems to involve injecting most of them in the bum with their medication - while visiting them in their homes.

As first sight Liz's patients may seem to be a gallery of grotesques - they include Graham, a morbidly obese young man who can barely move from his bed, a psychotic, agoraphobic ex-prisoner Billy, and ageing lech Herbert (shades of The Fast Show's Rowley Birkin), long past his many sexual conquests - but they are beautifully observed and carefully constructed individuals, people we laugh with, not at.

Whitehouse and Co (aided by Ian Fitzgibbon's adroit direction) capture the huge array of mental health issues, and intelligently address the very real problem that some sufferers have - of people close to them with whom they are in dangerously co-dependent relationships. It's a recognised phenomenon that a loved one can still be jealous of the person getting, as they see it, all the attention, or that they fear the patient becoming well and leading an independent life means their role within it diminishes, and so may try to scupper their recovery.

Other roles in a very strong cast are filled by, among others, Ben Bailey-Smith (aka Doc Brown) as a joky police officer Liz deals with on a frequent basis; Whitehouse's old confrere Simon Day, as Billy's controlling friend Tony; and Rosie Cavaliero, who like Whitehouse plays more than one role - Graham's overfeeding mum and April, a woman who lives alone with her monstrous regiment of cats, eating the same food: "If it's good enough for my little darlings, it's good enough for me."

Nurse is full of pathos and there are no Fast Show punchlines or catchphrases, but there are many, many laughs - often slipped in as throwaway lines or there to undercut the poignancy.

Created with evident affection for the institution of the NHS, and a deep respect for those working in it, Nurse has a real emotional pull while supplying some snortingly good comedy. Warmly recommended.

Veronica Lee, The Arts Desk, 12th March 2015

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