British Comedy Guide

Richard E. Grant to present Ealing comedies documentary series

Thursday 12th May 2016, 9:56am

Richard E. Grant On... Ealing Comedies. Richard E. Grant.

TV channel Gold has announced Richard E. Grant On Ealing Comedies, a documentary series looking at the output of the classic comedy-focused film studios.

Across three hour-long episodes, actor and director Richard E. Grant - who starred in Withnail & I - will "explore one of British cinema's most powerful brands."

The programmes will tell the story of the studio during its comedy heyday and look at the impact the modestly budgeted movies have had on British humour. Across the episodes, the host will be joined by famous faces, comedy heroes and iconic filmmakers including Mike Myers, Peter Capaldi, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Eric Idle and Paul Whitehouse.

Richard will also visit some of the places that provided the backdrop to the most memorable film moments, such as the back-streets of Battersea and Bermondsey, Leeds Castle in Kent and Ealing Studios themselves.

Richard E. Grant explains: "Between 1939 and 1955, comedy gold was mined at Ealing with the 40 carat talents of Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway and the inimitable Joan Greenwood, to name but a few. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to present these documentaries. Ealing for me was the studio that put Britain on the cinematic map and it's been great to have the chance to watch all the films again and chat to both my friends and the people who share my love of Ealing Comedy."

Producers Phil McIntyre Television will be working closely with film giant and archive owner Studio Canal to unlock a wealth of never-before-seen footage and stills from the Ealing vaults to use in the programme.

Producer Richard Dean says: "I've always wanted to work with Richard E. Grant, and after filming with him over the past few months, it has to be said that he's lived up to all of my expectations - he's extremely funny, incredibly knowledgeable and completely unpredictable. I hope the Gold audience enjoys watching these three Ealing documentaries as much as we have enjoyed making them... to put it in Mr Grant's words, 'It's been a blast'."

Commissioner Iain Coyle adds: "I'm really looking forward to this both as a viewer and as a commissioner. Gold doesn't do archive shows by half and adding Ealing Comedies and Richard E. Grant to the mix is all the more reason to watch. The guests Richard has lined up to talk to are spectacular, it'll be a real treat for the viewers and lovers of classic comedy."

Steve North, General Manager of Gold, comments: "We are over the moon to welcome Richard E. Grant to Gold. He's the perfect fit for the channel and will offer a fascinating insight into the endearing past of the Ealing Comedies. The film season will give viewers a chance to enjoy the great classics that inspired the British cinema."

Richard E. Grant On Ealing Comedies is expected to be shown on Gold in September. The channel will also air a season of classic films alongside it, including Passport To Pimlico, Kind Hearts And Coronets and The Lavender Hill Mob.

See also: BCG's article 'Ealing Studios' comedy history'

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