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Hugh Bonneville to play villain in Noel Fielding's Dick Turpin comedy

ExclusiveWednesday 2nd August 2023, 2:00pm by Jay Richardson

Noel Fielding's Dick Turpin. Dick Turpin (Noel Fielding)

Hugh Bonneville plays the villain in The Completely Made-Up Adventures Of Dick Turpin, Noel Fielding's comedy for Apple TV+, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Facing off against Fielding as the legendary eighteenth 18th Century highwayman, W1A and Paddington star Bonneville is his nemesis, "Thief Taker General" Jonathan Wilde, part of an all-star comedy cast.

Posing as a public-spirited vigilante, Wilde, or Wild as he was more commonly known, operated on both sides of the law, hunting down criminals and advising the government while also running his own underworld operation.

In The Completely Made-Up Adventures Of Dick Turpin, Noel Fielding stars as Dick Turpin, "who always believed he was destined for something bigger than a life chopping meat in his dad's butcher's shop. And he was right. When he inadvertently becomes leader of the Essex Gang, a notorious bunch of outlaws, he realises he's found his calling.

"Sure, he might be a peace-loving vegan who believes in panache over pistols, but what he lacks in hard-core highway skills he makes up for in imagination, invention and incredibly pointy purple shoes."

In the irreverent retelling, Dick is the most famous "but least likely of highway robbers, whose success is defined mostly by his charm, showmanship and great hair. Together with his gang of loveable rogues, Dick rides the highs and lows of celebrity - and does what he can to escape the clutches of the Thief Taker General."

The cast also features:

Duayne Boachie (Hollyoaks) as Honesty Courage, one of Dick's Essex Gang. Honesty lives in the moment, it's just not the same moment as everyone else. While admittedly sometimes slow on the uptake in high stress situations, he can be prone to moments of brilliant, blinding insight.

Asim Chaudhry as Craig the Warlock. Petrified of being caught performing magic without a licence. He's attempted to pass his official warlock exams multiple times and racked up hundreds of major errors.

Tamsin Greig as Lady Helen Gwinear, the elected leader of the Syndicate, a union of organised crime groups with fingers in every pie from illicit eel husbandry to diamond smuggling. A working mother who fought her way up the greasy pole of the crime underworld, Helen is an uncompromising and brutal boss.

Mark Heap as John Turpin, Hempstead's irascible butcher. Lover of meat; hater of vegetables. He hides his affection for only son, Dick, under a layer of cynicism so deep not even a meat cleaver could penetrate it.

Ellie White as Nell Brazier, one of Dick's Essex Gang, who has dreamed of being a highwayman since she was a little girl. Brought up in luxury, Nell threw away dresses for ditches and ran away at sixteen to make it on her own.

Joe Wilkinson as Geoffrey the Gaoler, the ultimate nihilist, who will tout his mediocre services to anyone in need of a jailer, security guard or general dogsbody - no questions asked.

Marc Wootton as Moose Pleck, one of Dick's Essex Gang, a terrifying looking man-mountain; but on the inside he's just a big old softie. After years of being terrorised by various brutal gang leaders, he's convinced he's found his soulmate in Dick.

Additional series regulars include Fielding's brother, Michael Fielding as Benny Turpin, Kiri Flaherty as Little Karen, Samuel Leakey as Christopher Wilde, Geoff McGivern as Lord Rookwood, and Dolly Wells as Eliza Bean. Wells previously appeared in Fielding's surreal 2012 Channel 4 series Luxury Comedy as Dolly, his model and drummer ex-girlfriend.

Guest stars across the six episodes include Greg Davies as Leslie Duvall, Jessica Hynes as The Reddlehag, Paul Kaye as Ratclyff, Guz Khan as Gow, Diane Morgan as Maureen, Connor Swindells as Tommy Silversides, Laura Checkley as Sandra and David Threlfall as Tom King. Colin Hoult is also set to appear, as is The Witcher actor Jota Castellano.

Noel Fielding's Dick Turpin. Dick Turpin (Noel Fielding)

As BCG revealed last year, the series is created by the established team of Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis and Stuart Lane, and written by Jon Brittain, Richard Naylor, Downes, Jarvis and Lane, with The Mighty Boosh star Fielding.

The first three episodes are directed by Ben Palmer (The Inbetweeners), with Episodes 4-6 are directed by George Kane (Timewasters).

Fielding also executive produces the series for Big Talk Studios (Back, Friday Night Dinner), alongside Palmer, Kenton Allen and Victoria Grew.

The Great British Bake Off presenter was dubbed "the dandy highwayman of comedy" by Radio 4's The Museum Of Curiosity when he curated the ninth series in 2016. He also appeared as "Brothel Gent" in the 1999 film Plunkett & Macleanne, starring Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller in the highwaymen title roles.

However, his portrayal of Turpin doubtless owes more to Adam Ant than the real eighteenth century robber. Speaking in a video interview with the NME in 2014, the comedian revealed that he was "obsessed" with the 1980s new wave singer.

"When I was really young, Adam Ant, I loved, as a concept, and I think Dandy Highwayman or Prince Charming ... Prince Charming was the first album I bought" Fielding said. He has also said that embracing Ant's pop sensibilities felt like a rebellion against the artier rock of David Bowie and Led Zeppelin favoured by his cool parents.

In the 1999 live show Arctic Boosh, and Tundra, a 2004 episode of The Mighty Boosh on BBC Three on which it was based, Fielding and his double-act partner Julian Barratt gave several nods to the singer born Stuart Leslie Goddard.

In the television version, Fielding's zookeeper character Vince Noir dresses up a lion as Adam Ant, while his Arctic exploring outfit has him aping the white strip across his nose that the singer famously sported.

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