Dylan Moran creates new BBC sitcom

Friday 7th May 2021, 5:06pm by Jay Richardson

  • Dylan Moran has written a BBC sitcom, the Black Books star's first lead role in 17 years
  • The short-form series is about a psychiatrist
  • Moran confirmed in a newspaper interview today: "We film that whenever they give us the nod"
Dylan Moran. Copyright: Andy Hollingworth

Dylan Moran is preparing to shoot a new BBC sitcom.

The television comedy, his first starring role in 17 years, will focus on a psychiatrist, British Comedy Guide can reveal. Also written by the Irish stand-up, it will be a two-hander between himself and a female actor.

Delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, "we film that whenever they give us the nod," he told the i newspaper in an interview published today. "A lot of it is about ... er ... I'm trying to write about modern pressures. Well, not modern pressures. I'm trying to write about people under pressure, some kind of pressure."

As with Moran's 2018 stand-up show, recorded in 2019, streaming Saturday and Sunday on DICE.fm, and his 2015 book, the sitcom has, at times in development, been known as Dr Cosmos.

In 2019, Moran told The Ray D'Arcy radio show in Ireland that it was "small and quietly in the pipes. It's a small format, just 15 minutes long, five episodes, a micro thing ... I'm in it and I'm in it with another actor, who I won't name yet ... she's a huge talent and a fantastic performer ... I'm really enjoying writing it."

Three years before, he told Canadian newspaper The Times Colonist that he was writing a pilot "about modern psychiatry and mental health".

The former Perrier Award winner acquired mainstream fame with the Channel 4 sitcom Black Books, in which he played curmudgeonly book shop owner Bernard Black, alongside Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig. Three series of the comedy ran from 2000 to 2004, winning two Bafta Awards.

Now streaming on Netflix for a new generation of viewers, "it's so long ago... it becomes part of the kind of space junk orbiting the consciousness that's out there," he told the i. "On some level, I'm pleased to have a satellite up there."

He also revealed that he'd predicted Bailey's success on Strictly Come Dancing, after a fashion. A rejected storyline for the third series of Black Books featured Bailey's character Manny "doing ballroom dancing with this Brazilian. Or Colombian. Her name is something like Yolanda.

"And the only line I can remember for it is ... she gets really annoyed, because Bernard is sick and then Manny gets sick. And she calls him 'Manrico'. She's complaining about him: 'Manrico - he has, how you say? Lurgeee!'"

Moran has burnished his acting credentials in acclaimed, darkly comic movies such as A Film With Me In It (2008), Calvary (2014) and last year's Pixie, and had a recurring role in the final series of Uncle in 2017. He starred alongside the late Charlotte Coleman in the 1998 BBC Two romantic sitcom How Do You Want Me?, but he has not had a leading role on screen since portraying Bernard Black.

He wrote a pilot for the US channel ABC in 2013 about modern news reporting that he was also set to star in, but this was not picked up to series.

The Irish comic is now planning a stand-up tour for 2022 and admits to missing being able to get on stage during lockdown.

"It's absolutely shown me for the first time what it's like to have performing taken away from me," he told the i, "and how key that is to my way of dealing with life, of coping with life ... so I miss it. I mean, it's fucking murder to be honest with you, not performing ... I can't believe I found out I'm such a Mariah Carey."

And he suggests that the Government should have done more to support the arts during the pandemic.

"Of course, because everybody's screwed. But I think it's also very tricky. This juggernaut of this thing came with so many urgencies ... I wish the people in theatres and so on had been looked after better ... I can only hope they can rebuild, and that people can come back."

Moran's 2015 stand-up special Off The Hook aired on BBC Two in February and is still available on iPlayer.

And here is the trailer for his Dr Cosmos stand-up special:

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