Susannah Fielding joins The Cockfields

Exclusive   Friday 14th May 2021, 8:00am by Jay Richardson

This Time With Alan Partridge. Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding). Copyright: Baby Cow Productions.

Susannah Fielding has joined the cast of The Cockfields, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

The This Time With Alan Partridge star plays Esther in the Gold sitcom, new girlfriend of Simon (Joe Wilkinson) following his break-up with Donna (Diane Morgan).

Rab C Nesbitt star Gregor Fisher is another new addition for the second series, taking over the role of Simon's step dad in the comedy about an oddball family living on the Isle of Wight. Joe was originally portrayed by the late Bobby Ball, who passed away in October from Covid-19 complications.

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em star Michele Dotrice also takes over the role of Lyn, originated by Maggie Steed, with Fresh Meat's Greg McHugh appearing as Simon's old schoolfriend Tony.

Sue Johnston returns as Simon's doting mother, as does Ben Rufus Green as his celebrity-obsessed stepbrother.

Written by Wilkinson and David Earl, six 30-minute episodes are currently in pre-production and scheduled to air later this year.

Fielding has given little away about her upcoming role in recent interviews, revealing only that it was markedly different to poised presenter Jennie Gresham on This Time. There is "quite a lot of sitting around on the sofa in a tracksuit, drinking cups of tea" she told Channel 4's Sunday Brunch.

Wilkinson and Earl said, "Thank you Gold loads for giving us a second series and supporting the show. We're so chuffed to finally be making more episodes of The Cockfields - although our mate Simon isn't, whose surname we nicked for the show. He's actually quite annoyed, as it goes.

"We also want to mention how sad it was to lose Bobby last year, and what an honour it was to work with him. A brilliantly funny man."

UKTV's most watched launch for a new comedy, The Cockfields's first series was directed by Steve Bendelack, attracting between 629,000 and 788,000 viewers as the three episodes aired over consecutive nights in November 2019. The second series is directed by Simon Hynd (Motherland), produced by John Rushton for Yellow Door Productions and executive produced by Lucy Lumsden.

The Cockfields was commissioned by Pete Thornton, UKTV head of scripted, and ordered by Gerald Casey, Gold channel director.

The first series proved a hit with critics, with The Guardian describing it as "sitcom splendour" and "cringe inducingly funny", while The Telegraph labelled it "a well-observed, gently addictive gem". The "sparkling script" was an "injection of big-hearted comedy" said The Mirror, while The Daily Mail praised the cramming in of "lines so true to life, it sometimes felt like a documentary".

Lumsden said: "Huge thanks to Gold for letting us make more episodes of The Cockfields. We were so sad to lose Bobby who was such a special part of our show. With the blessing of Bobby's family, we'll be seeing more of the characters we fell in love with and the joyous relationship between stepdad and stepson that Joe and David write so well. We so look forward to getting back on to the Island."

Thornton added: "It feels like a long time since we last dropped in on The Cockfields so I'm delighted to be back in business with the team behind the first three smash hit episodes, and to be bringing this very special show back for a second series. At last we're going to be allowed the opportunity to properly get to know this extraordinary family - and I know from the early drafts of Joe Wilkinson and David Earl's remarkable scripts that fans of series one are in for an absolute treat."

The first series of The Cockfields is repeated on Gold from the 24th of this month.

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