British Comedy Guide

BBC Two announces Dave Allen biopic with Aiden Gillen

Tuesday 19th September 2017, 2:14pm

  • BBC Two has commissioned an hour-long Dave Allen biographical comedy drama
  • The single programme will star Aidan Gillen as the Anglo-Irish comedian
  • Mimicking the format of the comic's TV shows, it will include flashbacks as sketches whilst Allen recounts his life
Dave Allen At Peace. Image shows from L to R: Dave Allen, Dave Allen (Aidan Gillen). Copyright: BBC / Two Brothers Pictures.

BBC Two has ordered Dave Allen At Peace, a one-off biopic of sit-down comedian Dave Allen, starring Aidan Gillen.

The Anglo-Irish star was beloved for his comedy routines, almost exclusively performed whilst sitting with a glass of whiskey, and his comedy sketches, in series such as Dave Allen At Large.

Born to an Irish father and English mother, he found fame in the 1960s and 70s with a number of high-rating BBC series, and was particularly noted for his routines about organised religion and the Roman Catholic church.

His life and work will be celebrated in the new one-hour comedy drama Dave Allen At Peace, which begins filming this month in Northern Ireland. It will be structured in affectionate homage to the comedian's original television format: from his famous bar stool, Allen will reflect on his formative years and showbusiness career.

Producers say: "Flashbacks, some visualised as comedy sketches, will intercut his bar stool repartee bringing significant moments to life."

The BBC explain: "Written by Stephen Russell, this film will explore how Dave's comedy genius was shaped by the tragic loss of his father, his brother... and his finger. How he survived decades of the Roman Catholic Church's wrath, death threats from the IRA and a ban by Irish and Australian TV, only to have his television career end in controversy when he used the f-word in an innocuous joke."

From the same writer and production company as We're Doomed: The Dad's Army Story, Darlow Smithson, the programme will star Aidan Gillen as Allen - born David Tynan O'Mahony - with Conleth Hill as his brother, John, and Tommy Tiernan and Joanne Crawford as their parents.

Other cast members are set to include Robert Bathurst, Pauline McLynn, Ian McElhinney, Simon Day and Julian Rhind-Tutt. Gillen's last comedy role was starring as Timothy Leary in the Sky Arts Urban Myths strand episode, When Cary Grant Introduced Timothy Leary To LSD.

BBC Two Controller Patrick Holland says: "Stephen Russell has written a wonderful script that is surprising, innovative and poignant, exploring the people and forces that went into making Dave Allen the comic genius he was. With Aidan Gillen leading a stellar cast, this promises to be a real treat."

Head of Comedy Commissioning, Shane Allen says: "Dave Allen defined and pushed at the boundaries of where television comedy were set and paved the way for modern stand-up to tackle controversial themes and taboos. This film explores what shaped his trail-blazing career and celebrates this hugely popular comedian who ridiculed authority figures with a twinkle in his eye, a glass of whiskey and the most talked about finger in comedy history."


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