Gary Barlow making comedy Dogs, about a mega-flop film

Tuesday 5th April 2022, 12:51pm by Jay Richardson

  • Inspired by the 2019 movie Cats, Dogs is written by The Thick Of It's Sean Gray
  • The television series is produced by Calamity Pictures and is seeking a broadcaster
  • "It's a very good script, really funny and I'm quite excited by it" says producer David Livingstone
Gary Barlow. Copyright: BBC

Gary Barlow has written songs for a new television comedy sending up the mega-flop movie Cats.

Written by Sean Gray, whose script and producing credits include The Thick Of It and Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle, Dogs follows the ill-fated process of turning a hit West End musical about canines into a feature film.

Take That singer Barlow initially wrote four songs for the series but has since written more as Gray has shared scripts with him.

In the works for several years, Dogs is the brainchild of producer David Livingstone, whose Calamity Films make the long-running Sky comedy Brassic and produced the Oscar-winning Judy Garland biopic Judy.

News of Dogs first emerged on Friday in a scoop by the Daily Mail's outgoing showbusiness correspondent Baz Bamigboye. British Comedy Guide has only been able to confirm today that it was not an April Fool's joke.

"It's a very good script, really funny and I'm quite excited by it" Livingstone told BCG. "We've been working on it for a year or more. There are people who've been in shows and films I'm associated with that are circling to be in it. And some people have come to us because they've heard about it. There are broadcasters who are engaging with it and significant acting agencies, both here and America as well.

"The bottom line is that there's a script, there are songs by Gary Barlow. We haven't got a home for it yet but we're out to broadcasters and I suspect we will soon. It's not an April Fool."

Starring Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, James Corden, Taylor Swift and Rebel Wilson, Tom Hooper's film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's record-breaking Cats musical, itself based on T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats, was almost universally panned when it was released at the end of 2019, with many viewers disturbed by the visual effects employed to bring the anthropomorphic felines to life.

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A box office bomb, it is estimated to have cost Universal Pictures between £54 million and £87 million. Lloyd Webber distanced himself from the production, placing blame for its failure on director Tom Hooper. Indeed, the composer was so "emotionally damaged" by the experience that he revealed he has bought himself a therapy dog.

Meanwhile Barlow, whose acting credits include playing himself in two episodes of Miranda Hart's titular sitcom and an appearance in Keith Lemon: The Film, is one of the executive producers of Greatest Days, a film based on Take That's own West End show, jukebox musical The Band.

As BCG reported last month, the film stars Aisling Bea as one of five best friends whose lives are changed by a concert by their favourite boy band.

Filming began earlier this week on the movie, which features Take That's songs and also stars Jayde Adams, Alice Lowe, Marc Wootton, Cush Jumbo and Rosamund Pike and is directed by Coky Giedroyc (How To Build A Girl).

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