Coma sitcom pilot Beep to air on the BBC this March

Exclusive   Wednesday 3rd March 2021, 9:00am by Jay Richardson

Image shows from L to R: Siobhan Redmond, Paul Higgins.

The BBC is piloting a tragi-comic sitcom about the family of a man in a long-term coma, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Airing on BBC Two and BBC Scotland, Beep is set in the private room of a hospital in Glasgow, as a dysfunctional, working-class family visit their father, Tommy, on his wedding anniversary, despite him lying comatose after a car accident.

Siobhan Redmond (The High Life, The Smoking Room) stars as Liz, Tommy's wife, determined to still celebrate the occasion, with Paul Higgins (The Thick Of It) playing hospital priest Father Sydney.

The 30-minute pilot, which was shot in November in and around Glasgow and premieres on BBC Scotland on Friday 12th March, is written by Bryce Hart, whose credits include BBC mockumentaries Scot Squad, Tourist Trap and Soft Border Patrol, and the forthcoming UK remake of hit French comedy Call My Agent!

The commission arose out of his placement on the BBC Writersroom scheme in Scotland.

Grant O'Rourke (High Times, Bob Servant) co-stars as Tommy's emotionally challenged son Martin, while Victoria Balnaves (Two Doors Down, Gary: Tank Commander) plays his sleep-deprived daughter Hannah.

Kevin O'Loughlin, who was The Geek in sketch trio The Ginge, The Geordie And The Geek is Tommy's lonely nephew Nigel, while Lois Chimimba (The Offenders) and Bhav Joshi (Dead Pixels, Cuckoo) round out the cast. Breaking The News writer John Hamilton appears as Tommy.

Ian Fitzgibbon (Damned, Moone Boy) directs for Happy Tramp North (Guilt, Semi-Detached), with Jane Bell (The Reluctant Landlord, Buffering) producing in partnership with Screen Scotland.

Neil Webster (Semi-Detached), executive producer for Happy Tramp North, says: "I couldn't believe our luck when we were paired with Bryce Hart through the BBC Writersroom Scotland project. He is an incredibly gifted writer with a natural talent for both humour and heart. We're very excited to help him bring this rich world of broken, lovable characters to life."

Included as part of the BBC's current Festival Of Funny, Beep will air later this month on BBC Two and was commissioned by Patrick Holland, controller of the channel, Shane Allen, director of BBC comedy commissioning and Steve Carson, senior head of multi-platform commissioning. The commissioning editor for BBC comedy was Gregor Sharp and for BBC Scotland, Gavin Smith.

Sharp said: "Bryce is one of the most exciting writing talents around with a brilliant eye for characterisation and a distinctive take on human behaviour so we're delighted he's partnered up with Happy Tramp North on what is a really special project."

Anne Edyvean of BBC Writersroom added: "We are all delighted about the Beep pilot. Bryce thoroughly deserves to be successful with his combination of talent, commitment and hard work. Our team in Scotland spotted his potential early on and backed him all the way. We could not be prouder!"

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