Doug Naylor’s new sitcom pilot Over to Bill is to air as part of the BBC’s revived ‘Comedy Playhouse’ strand. Comedy website Chortle have also revealed Hugh Dennis is to star in the show. Details are as follows.
In Over To Bill, Dennis plays Bill Onion, a meteorologist fired after cracking an innocuous gag about the south of England being better than the north. This sets in motion a blackly farcical train of events begins which ends in his humiliation in front of a prospective employer from another network.
Hugh Dennis has a strong track record in sitcom having just finished a five series run on Outnumbered while he previously co-starred on superhero comedy My Hero from 2000 until 2007. His co-stars in Over to Bill include Tracy-Ann Oberman as his wife, Neil Morrissey as his best friend Jez, and Helen George as Jez’s partner and Bill’s nemesis
It had previously been thought that the show had been commissioned for a full series but it seems the BBC will pick only the best received pilots from this run to become full series. That means that the creation of this one episode shouldn’t divert Doug Naylor too much from the development of Red Dwarf XI, which he has already been writing, despite the lack of official green light.
Comedy Playhouse historically produced several successful pilots in it’s 120 episode run from 1961 until 1975 including Steptoe and Son, The Liver Birds, Are You Being Served? and Last of the Summer Wine.
BBC controller of comedy, Shane Allen has brought the format back in the hope to find the next mainstream sitcom success, emulating the channel’s recent hilarious output including The Wright Way and Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Over to Bill is being produced by Richard and Doug Naylor’s new company Three Feet Productions and Baby Cow.