BBC announces Salford Sitcom Showcase 2016 shows

Monday 6th June 2016, 3:27pm

The Late Late Morecambe And Wise Show. Image shows from L to R: Eric (Jonty Stephens), Ern (Ian Ashpitel)

The BBC has announced the four new comedy projects that will form part of its annual showcase event in Salford.

Now in its fifth year, the BBC Salford Sitcom Showcase aims to develop future comedy hits for the BBC, with Citizen Khan, Boy Meets Girl and Hebburn amongst the shows that have previously been involved in the scheme.

This year's Showcase will take place on the 5th and 6th July, and the comedies involved are:

The Late Late Morecambe And Wise Show

The Late Late Morecambe And Wise Show. Image shows from L to R: Eric (Jonty Stephens), Ern (Ian Ashpitel)

The BBC says: "Imagine having The Morecambe And Wise Show back for an evening. Olivier-nominated Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens star as the unforgettable double act, together with their special guests, performing brand new material."

Ashpitel and Stephens have played versions of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise live for a number of years, via their acclaimed Eric And Little Ern stage shows.

The Russ Abbot Sketch Show

Boomers. John (Russ Abbot). Copyright: Hat Trick Productions

Russ Abbot, most recently seen in Boomers, returns to the sketch show format in The Russ Abbot Sketch Show pilot. Between 1986 and 1990, The Russ Abbot Show was one of the most watched programmes on Saturday nights.

The BBC says: "Russ is back with a 2016 reinvention of the sketch show and a brand new band of exciting live performers. The show is full of big memorable characters, some old friends and a roistering sense of energy and fun that only Mr Abbot can deliver."

Home From Home

Common Ground. Rupert (Johnny Vegas). Copyright: Baby Cow Productions

The showcase will also involve a screening of Home From Home, the previously announced BBC Two sitcom which stars Johnny Vegas. The pilot is due to be shown on BBC Two this summer as part of the BBC's Landmark Sitcom Season.

Vegas plays family man Neil Hackett, who is overjoyed to finally buy his very own lodge in the picturesque Lake District. What should be the perfect "home from home" rapidly dissolves into the stuff of nightmares though when he discovers he is living next door to the effortlessly superior Dillons, played by Emilia Fox and Adam James.


Miles Jupp

A live theatrical performance of a new sitcom in development with the BBC. The synopsis is: "Eddie needs space to iron his socks. Sally needs space to line up her vodka shots. Can these two really live under the same roof together?"

Lodger has been written by Miles Jupp (pictured), alongside his former Balamory co-star Kim Tserkezie (aka Penny Pocket), and Undercover writer Andy Milligan.

Additionally, aside from the above four key events, the BBC will run a series of panels and masterclasses for aspiring writers and comedians in collaboration with Salford University. Running on both the 5th and 6th July, the BBC say the workshops "will include insights into development, pitching, writing, and commissioning processes from a variety of industry talent".

BBC Salford Sitcom Showcase

Event producer Gary Matsell says: "Salford Sitcom Showcase is now in its fifth year and I'm excited to be a part of it. The showcases have already cultivated several success stories over the years (Citizen Khan, Hebburn, Boy Meets Girl), building upon the rich comedy heritage of the North. We have a few treats again this year... and there's nothing quite like instant feedback from a live audience!"

BBC commissioner Shane Allen adds: "There is such a legacy of northern comedy from the BBC including the likes of The Royle Family, Victoria Wood's dinnerladies and now Peter Kay's Car Share. The Salford Sitcom Showcase is a great chance to once again mine the source of that rich comedy land."

Alice Webb, Director of BBC North, comments: "The Salford Sitcom Showcase is a key event in BBC North's summer calendar, and is what we are all about - discovering new talent from outside of the capital to share with our audiences. We hope it will result in some new commissions and continue to offer northern talent a platform."

To apply to be in the audience to watch the sitcoms visit

To apply for the workshops visit BBC Writersroom (information coming soon)

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