Monks. Image shows from L to R: Brother Bernard (Justin Edwards), Brother Francis (Mark Heap), Brother Gary Woodcroft (Seann Walsh), Father Abbot (James Fleet), Brother Dominic (Fergus Craig). Copyright: BBC.



Studio audience sitcom pilot about a group of monks who definitely do not live together in peace and harmony

1 Pilot
Danny Robins and Dan Tetsell
Seann Walsh, James Fleet, Mark Heap, Justin Edwards, Fergus Craig, Angus Deayton, Marc Allum, Tala Gouveia and Melanie Hudson
Danny Robins
Dominic Brigstocke
Alex Walsh-Taylor

Gary Woodcroft (Seann Walsh) is in his late 20s and has never done a single useful thing in his life. He's been the living definition of the word 'chillax', straddling a narrow line between unemployed and unemployable. Then, after years of dubious benefit claiming, he finds himself finally threatened with prosecution. Faced with the real prospect of prison, he decides to do what anyone would... run away and hide in his local monastery. Turns out escaping being banged up by becoming a monk wasn't the easy option.

Meanwhile, Rudley Abbey is desperate. The number of monks in any given Abbey is strictly monitored, and last year Brother Christopher left to get married... to Brother Benjamin. Now they're below the required minimum of five, and if the Vatican finds out they'll be closed down.

The Abbot welcomes the new recruit - much to the annoyance of his deputy, Brother Francis. Francis does not like Gary. He doesn't think he will ever make a good monk, and that he represents all that's wrong with the modern world. Gary, however, has become good friends with the other two Brothers: Bernard, who likes a drink or two; and young, impressionable Dominic, who looks up to Gary as the cool older brother he's never had.

While the Abbey might have a leaky roof, no heating and a structurally unsound bell tower, none of the brothers can contemplate life anywhere else, so when Gary turns up on their doorstep it seems like a Godsend, at least at first...

In the pilot episode Gary causes an expensive accident and is forced to raise money for the monastery, by increasingly unorthodox means. In the meantime Brother Francis is forced to take measures to control his anger.

An earlier version of this pilot was broadcast by Radio 2 as Hey Hey We're The Monks, and a non-broadcast TV pilot starring James Corden was filmed in 2008.

Pete Thornton, executive producer, says: "Whilst Monks has been in development for about as long as the Catholic Church, I'm convinced it's now about as immaculate as any BBC sitcom pilot on earth, or indeed in heaven. The show is set in a world that the BBC One heartland audience will feel immediately at home with, and yet it's far from a traditional, old-fashioned audience show. We're delighted to be one of the trinity of fantastic shows being lined up for the new BBC Comedy Playhouse season."

Production Details

Part of

Comedy Playhouse

Comedy Playhouse 2014

Production company
Laugh track
Live audience

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Tuesday 13th May 2014 on BBC One at 10:40pm
Episode length
30 minutes

Website links


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