Channel 4 has announced a raft of new commissions, including a new comedy series from “Episodes” star Stephen Mangan that’s based on “Web Therapy” and a thriller from “Boardwalk Empire” staff writer Bash Doran.
Mangan will co-write and star in the British adaptation of the Emmy-nominated “Web Therapy.” Doran is writing period thriller “Jerusalem,” her first original for U.K. television. Channel 4 also announced a one-off documentary exploring gender fluidity and a four-part factual series featuring Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry. The four new commissions were announced Tuesday in Edinburgh on the eve of the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival, which runs Aug. 23-25.
Mangan, who stars alongside Matt LeBlanc and Tamsin Greig in “Episodes” as a British sitcom writer whose show is horribly remade in the U.S., turns the tables with “Hang Ups.” He will co-write and appear in the new six-part half-hour sitcom adapted from “Web Therapy,” which was co-created in the U.S. by LeBlanc’s “Friends” co-star Lisa Kudrow.
“Hang Ups” sees Mangan play an unconventional therapist who is trying to keep his life, and patients, from falling apart. After the collapse of his previous group-therapy practice, he develops a new form of therapy – weekly quick-fire sessions with his patients via webcam. It is co-written by Robert Delamere, who will also direct.
Fiona McDermott, head of comedy at Channel 4, who commissioned the new show, described “Hangs Ups” as “a timely, inventive and very funny exploration of the ridiculous pileup of challenges we call modern life.”
“Hang Ups” is produced by Louise Delamere for Slam Films and executive produced by Kevin Loader and Mangan. FremantleMedia International, which has a development deal with Slam Films, will handle international distribution. “Web Therapy” was co-created by Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky and Don Roos.
Doran created and will write six-part spy thriller “Jerusalem,” set in the aftermath of World War II, when Britain was struggling to define itself in a new world order. It tells the story of a young woman who joins the British Civil Service in 1945 and agrees to spy on her own government for America.
“Bash’s writing is so evocative and immersive you can’t help but to hold on tightly to her extraordinary and diverse cast of characters and never let them go. She has found contemporary resonance in the past at every turn,” said Beth Willis, head of drama at Channel 4, who commissioned the series alongside head of international drama Simon Maxwell.
“Jerusalem” is produced by management and production company 42 and Twenty Twenty Television. Eleanor Moran and Rory Aitken executive produce for 42, alongside Tim Carter for Twenty Twenty. It is co-funded by Channel 4 and All3Media International.
“Genderquake” will be a 90-minute documentary looking at gender fluidity in the U.K., produced by Optomen. Nick Hornby and Tina Flintoff will serve as executive producers for Optomen alongside Hamish Fergusson. It was commissioned for Channel 4 by factual entertainment commissioning editor Ian Dunkley.
“Grayson Perry: Rites of Passage” will see the artist explore the key landmark events in people’s lives: birth, coming of age, marriage and death. It was commissioned by Channel 4’s head of specialist factual John Hay, and is produced and directed by Neil Crombie for Swan Films. Swan’s Joe Evans will serve as executive producer.