Channel 4 pilots sitcom from disability activist Kyla Harris

ExclusiveTuesday 1st November 2022, 11:54am by Jay Richardson

Kyla Harris

Channel 4 is piloting an autobiographical sitcom from intersectional filmmaker and disability activist Kyla Harris that reunites Smack The Pony stars Sally Phillips and Darren Boyd, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Variously known as The Odds and We Might Regret This during production in London this summer, UK-based Canadian Harris co-wrote the pilot's script with her Berlin-based compatriot Shannon Getty, and takes the lead role as a queer, disabled woman of colour in her early 30s.

Described as "a sexy, funny out-going artist and wheelchair user", she's an exhibitionist, whose "charismatic party persona" belies her insecurity and need for self-care.

The pilot co-stars Phillips and Boyd, who also appeared together in the 1999 BBC Two sitcom Hippies, Buffering's Elena Saurel and Bloods' Aasiya Shah. It was directed by Alex Winckler (This Way Up), produced by Inez Gordon (This Country, Brain In Gear) and executive produced by Ash Atalla (The Office, The IT Crowd) for Roughcut Television (People Just Do Nothing, Stath Lets Flats).

BCG understands that a decision is yet to be made about whether the comedy will be taken to series with six 30-minute episodes. A Channel 4 spokesperson told this website that: "We are unable to comment on projects on our development slate".

Harris and Getty's original script, The Odds: Body Replacement Game, was selected for the 2018 Diversity Film and Script Showcase.

A novice actor, Harris is a member of the Disability Screen Advisory Group for the British Film Institute that advises and supports inclusivity in the industry.

It's Personal, a short film which she co-directed and wrote with Lou Macnamara, who has worked as camera crew on comedies such as Starstruck and Jerk, was commissioned by the Film Video Umbrella and is their most viewed film to date.

The documentary chronicles how Harris requires 24-hour care with everything from making artwork to using the toilet. Struggling with a care shortage during the pandemic, she asked her friend Macnamara to learn how to assist her in a reality TV challenge. The division between friendship and work was blurred as the two navigated new levels of intimacy and negotiated time together as employer and employee.

Harris moved to the UK from Vancouver in 2010 and told Gal-Dem magazine last year that coronavirus has brought "a greater sense of community - especially regarding the [disabled] community ... But it is not a revolution, unless it is accessible".

She also told the magazine that as a queer, disabled woman of colour, she feels working with people like her and forming an allyship is a gateway to talking about equality and diversity. "We should all be at that table talking about it, and if we're unable to get to that table, then we should be fucking Zoomed in."

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