Lucas, Walliams ink deal with BBC
LONDON — Matt Lucas and David Walliams, the stars and creators of Blighty’s cult laffer “Little Britain,” have signed an exclusive three-year deal with the BBC, it was revealed Tuesday as BBC1 controller Peter Fincham launched the fall schedule.The duo will make two “Little Britain” specials to air over Christmas before beginning work on a new comedy sketch show next year “that will involve some of their familiar characters,” Fincham said. Other highlights of the fall sked include an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” — the first on BBC1 for 23 years — helmed by Susanna White, who directed last fall’s “Bleak House.” Fincham hopes he can repeat the success of “Doctor Who” with a retelling of the Robin Hood story, co-produced with HBO, aimed at family auds on Saturday evenings. Other drama includes “The State Within,” a conspiracy thriller set in the British embassy in Washington, partly funded by BBC America. A reality show features songsmith Andrew Lloyd Webber attempting to find an actress to star in his production of “The Sound of Music” in “How to Solve a Problem Like Maria.” The fall schedule also features six new episodes of acclaimed natural history skein “Planet Earth” made with Discovery, Japan’s NHK and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Fincham, whose channel is losing auds as digital competition intensifies, said the season would live up to his key criteria for BBC1 by delivering quality, range and talent.