BBC Scotland unveils female-led comedies

Wednesday 26th May 2021, 12:01am by Jay Richardson

BBC Scotland comedy

Janey Godley, Ashley Storrie and Karen Dunbar are among the stars of a raft of female-led comedies commissioned by BBC Scotland.

Mother and daughter Godley and Storrie are pitched against each other in Ashley & Janey Get A Real Job, in which the stand-ups enter a variety of workplaces across Scotland, competing to impress their bosses.

In The Comedy Of Offence meanwhile, Chewin' The Fat star Dunbar explores whether some of her best-loved characters from the nineties and early noughties remain acceptable to modern "woke" sensibilities.

BBC Scotland has also announced a series of three episode, 5-minute comedy shorts launching on BBC iPlayer on the 9th of June, before they transfer to the main Scottish channel as 15-minute compilations.

Godley and Storrie will work in fishing boats, factories and in various capacities around an airport in their new series, vying for the title of "employee of the day". With echoes of The Des Bishop Work Experience for RTÉ and Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience for BBC Wales, the four 30-minute episodes for Mighty Productions (Ride My Rickshaw, Rage Room) will shoot soon, to air next year.

Karen Dunbar

Also filming shortly to go out in 2022, Dunbar's documentary will follow the comic actor as she revives some of her most iconic characters from Chewin' The Fat and The Karen Dunbar Show on stage, including sex-obsessed pensioner Auld Betty, incorrigible drunk Shoeless Josie and Ayrshire pub 'n' club duo Almost Angelic, butchering pop hits with their po-faced performances.

Ahead of the live show, Dunbar will also be researching "woke" language and the boundaries of offensive comedy for the one-hour film, which is made by Glasgow-based Specky Productions.

Susan Riddell

Godley and Dunbar also co-star in the short-form series Dregs, written by and starring stand-up Susan Riddell. She plays Susan in the BBC Studios production, preparing for a life of mortgages, marriage and motherhood.

However, when her boyfriend's celebrity profile rockets and he dumps Susan, she finds herself back living with her mum, working her old Saturday job in a run-down shopping centre and sharing joint custody of the Labrador the couple rescued together in happier times.

Stevens & McCarthy. Image shows from L to R: Louise McCarthy, Gayle Telfer Stevens

Best known as popular live duo The Dolls, Gayle Telfer Stevens (Sunshine On Leith) and Louise McCarthy (Scot Squad) front their own sketch show, Stevens & McCarthy. With a "cavalcade of comic characters", including competitive siblings and ultra-aware hipsters, The Comedy Unit (Limmy's Show, Burnistoun) production promises observational humour, spoofs and musical set-pieces.

Who Runs The World?. Elizabeth Caproni

Impressionist Elizabeth Caproni writes and stars in Who Runs The World?, which pledges to pop the bubble of celebrity in modern Scotland through her take-offs of Nicola Sturgeon, Melania Trump and a gallery of new characters for the BBC Studios-made comedy.

Two For One. Image shows from L to R: Brenda (Joyce Falconer), Kendra (Kendra McPherson)

Two For One is a workplace sitcom set in in a department store. Written by and starring Kendra McPherson (The State Of It) as Kendra and co-starring Joyce Falconer (Raiders Of The Lost Archive) as the no-nonsense Brenda, the two women strike up an unlikely friendship.

With Kendra working the tills and Brenda doing security, during quieter moments in the shop they discuss everything from romance to spirituality and the cinematic output of Pierce Brosnan. Also featuring Anthony Strachan (Bob Servant) as Brenda's ex, Jim, The Comedy Unit production mixes workplace gossip with dubious advice.

The comedies were ordered by Gavin Smith, BBC Scotland commissioning executive for comedy, drama and entertainment.

The commissions follow the lead of BBC Three, which confirmed four female-led "slices" pilots in April, including Dinosaur, a Glasgow-set sitcom starring Storrie as an autistic woman, airing Thursday, and Edinburgh-set Ladybaby, created and written by Kirstie Swain, about a thirtysomething woman unexpectedly reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption at 15.

"We're delighted to announce this new selection of titles for iPlayer and the channel that showcases some of Scotland's top female comedy writing, presenting and performing talent" Smith said. "It's great to see a mix of new and established names bringing fresh laughs to the Scottish audience."

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