The Goes Wrong Show series coming to BBC One

Friday 22nd February 2019, 9:28am

  • The team behind hit stage show The Play That Goes Wrong are making a TV series for BBC One
  • The Goes Wrong Show will deliver six episodes of "theatrical catastrophe" featuring slapstick moments
  • The group joke: "We can't wait to get started on making some truly terrible programmes"
The Goes Wrong Show. Image shows from L to R: Chris (Henry Shields), Dennis (Jonathan Sayer), Robert (Henry Lewis).

BBC One has ordered a series from the team behind the international hit stage show The Play That Goes Wrong.

The Goes Wrong Show will be written by and star the original founding Mischief Theatre team: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, alongside their regular supporting collaborators Nancy Zamit, Charlie Russell, Bryony Corrigan, Greg Tannahill, Dave Hearn and Chris Leask.

The BBC says: "With their unique brand of physical theatre, the Mischief team will bring all aspects of their globally recognised talents to the television version which will be filmed in front of a live studio audience."

The six-part series will see their fictional amateur dramatics group The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society "undertaking another (overly) ambitious endeavour, held back by prolific over-actor Robert Grove, the screen-hogging Sandra Wilkinson and the artistically mistrusted Dennis Tyde".

The plays include: The Lodge ("a gripping horror"); The Spirit of Christmas ("A heartwarming yuletide piece"); Harper's Locket ("an Edwardian romance"); The Pilot ("a WW2 code-cracking adventure"); A Trial to Watch ("a dramatic legal battle"); and 90 Degrees ("An American classic set in the deep south").

Henry Lewis, co-writer and co-founder of Mischief Theatre, says: "Ever since we first began to make things go wrong all the way back in 2012 it has been a dream of ours to bring a series based on this joyful brand of humour to the screen and so when the BBC commissioned The Goes Wrong Show it was a dream come true. We're so grateful for this incredible opportunity and we can't wait to get started on making some truly terrible programmes. We are still very short on equipment - if you have a camcorder we can borrow (in any condition) please do fax us."

The Play That Goes Wrong started life at the Edinburgh Festival, before launching in London in 2012. Winning an Olivier Award, it is still running in the West End, with Broadway and tour versions existing too. Mischief Theatre have also since launched the successful slapstick plays The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

Previously on BBC One the team have presented the specials Peter Pan Goes Wrong in 2016 and A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong in 2017.

Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, says: "The two Christmas specials we've backed showed a huge audience appetite for this ensemble's superbly inventive brand of family friendly comedy. BBC One has a unique role for viewers as the country's sole provider of mainstream British comedy and it's particularly gratifying to also be the only UK broadcaster still flying the flag for the studio sitcom with these fast rising stars."

The new series will be produced by Mischief Screen alongside Big Talk Productions. Lionsgate will sell the format internationally, with YTD HK having acquired Chinese rights already.

Mischief Screen CEO and executive producer, Hilary Strong, says: "Mischief has long demonstrated that they have a unique voice in comedy, with a hugely successful global theatre brand as well as a growing reputation in television. Their particular style of physical humour transcends boundaries in a way that most humour simply cannot do and I am thrilled to be working with them and our partners Big Talk, the BBC, Lionsgate and YTD HK."

Kenton Allen, CEO of and executive producer from Big Talk, says: "Everyone at Big Talk Towers have been huge fans of the brilliant comic inventiveness of Henry, Jonathan, Henry and Team Mischief for a very long time, so we are delighted to help them make an entire BBC television series go wrong. The scripts are truly terrible and we haven't got a clue what we're doing, so what's the worst that can happen?"

Filming on The Goes Wrong Show begins in March in Salford (Free tickets). Jim Poyser (Timewasters, The Job Lot) will act as producer with Martin Dennis (Men Behaving Badly, Black Books) as director.

Below is a clip from the TV version of Peter Pan Goes Wrong, demonstrating the group's style of physical comedy:

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