BBC drops Two Pints sequel plans

ExclusiveSaturday 18th December 2021, 12:40pm

  • A hotly-anticipated sequel to BBC Three sitcom Two Pints has been dropped by the BBC
  • Last Orders, a one-off special with potential to return as a full series, had been written for the channel's return to television
  • The original sitcom remains one of iPlayer's biggest successes, whilst its stars run a smash hit podcast
Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps. Image shows from L to R: Jonny Keogh (Ralf Little), Gary 'Gaz' Wilkinson (Will Mellor). Copyright: BBC

The BBC has ditched plans to revive hit BBC Three sitcom Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, British Comedy Guide can reveal.

A one-off special sequel, Last Orders, following the best-friend characters of Jonny and Gaz (Ralf Little and Will Mellor) had been mooted for the return of BBC Three as a broadcast television channel early in 2022, with potential for a full series to follow thereafter.

However, a show insider has now told British Comedy Guide that the BBC has passed on the script.

They said: "The BBC wanted to do an evening of flagship BBC 3 shows to relaunch the channel but decided they couldn't think of any others. [Series creator] Susan Nickson had penned a wonderfully funny script and both Ralf and Will were on board and very enthusiastic, as had been previous comedy commissioning boss Shane Allen, but now they've ditched the whole project."

Development of the sequel began in 2019 but interest grew significantly earlier this year after a special sketch marking the sitcom's 20th anniversary, launched by British Comedy Guide and Will and Ralf's hit podcast Two Pints With Will & Ralf, garnered more than 5 million views online within hours of publication.

By contrast, current BBC television comedy rarely attracts views of 5 million across a whole series combined.

Speaking exclusively to British Comedy Guide today, Susan Nickson confirmed: "The BBC saw the figures for the clip we filmed for the fans. [Chief Content Officer] Charlotte Moore told me: 'Two Pints Of Lager is a really important show for us' and they asked me to write them a script. They accepted it and then suddenly backed out. Just another waste of licence payer's money on something that would have been a success for them - oh well."

The insider added: "The BBC relicensed Two Pints in summer 2018 to put the whole series on iPlayer. We had previously been told it was the best performing box set on the whole platform, and they keep extending that licence so it's clearly got a huge audience that even the BBC can't deny when they're really interested."

Meanwhile, Mellor and Little's chat podcast, launched in April 2020, has run for two series to date and charted more than 40 million views for its associated videos alone. The third series will be recorded in January and February 2022 during a national live tour, tickets for which sold out within a week of going on sale.

Following a group of working class 20-something friends living in Runcorn and typified by its broad, often coarse, working class humour and relatable characters, Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps launched in 2001 and ran for 79 episodes over nine series, performing exceptionally well amongst its target audience. Bringing in additional writers to pen the long runs in later series, Nickson and the show helped launch the careers of writers including Jon Brown (Fresh Meat, Dead Pixels, Succession) and Danny Peak (Not Going Out, Code 404, Horrible Histories), and director Becky Martin (Peep Show, The Thick Of It, Veep), amongst others.

Despite continued success and latterly increasing viewing figures, the comedy was cancelled amidst a channel shake-up in 2011.

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