ITV has unveiled a slate of new comedy commissions, most of which will premiere on ITVX, its upcoming free streaming service.
New comedy titles include “Plebs: Soldiers of Rome,” “Deep Fake Neighbour Wars,” “Ruby Speaking Count,” “Abdulla” and “Significant Other.”
“The arrival of ITVX gives us more opportunities to commission a broad range of comedies and a dedicated place for the genre to call home,” said Nana Hughes, ITV’s Head of Comedy. The executive added that ITV aspired to showcase a “huge cross section of contemporary, diverse and inclusive comedy.”
“We want to take risks but most importantly we want our audiences to find shows that reflect them and make them laugh,” Hughes continued.
“Plebs: Soldiers of Rome” is a a feature-length special based on the award-winning comedy series “Plebs” which has had five successful seasons. “Plebs” is directed and written by Sam Leifer and co-written by Tom Basden.
Shot in Bulgaria and Wales, the special will follow Marcus, Grumio, Jason and Aurelius as they join the army in peace-time to break away from their humdrum lives in Rome. But when war is declared, they’re sent on the front line and must fight for survival.
Returning cast members include Tom Rosenthal, Ryan Sampson, Jon Pointing and Tom Basden, along with Karl Theobald. The cast of the finale is completed by Patrick Baladi (“The Office,” “Breeders”), Tori Allen-Martin (“London Kill”) and Kåre Conradi (“Norsemen”).
“Deep Fake Neighbour Wars” is a six part one-hour series which will use the latest AI technology to turn the U.K.’s best new impressionists into celebrities and have them argue with one another. These include Nicki Minaj, Tom Holland, Mark Zuckerberg, Billie Eilish, Beyonce, Mark Wahlberg and Chris Rock. The series will be produced by Tiger Aspect Productions, part of Banijay Group.
“Significant Other” is adapted from yes Studios’ award-winning Israeli series of the same name and is produced by Nicola Shindler’s Quay Street Productions (part of ITV Studios). The show will star Katherine Parkinson and Youssef Kerkour as two lonely neighbours who embark on an obstacle-filled relationship after drastic life events that will bring them together.
The series, written by Dana Fainaru and Hamish Wright, starts filming next month and will air on ITVX in 2023. ITV Studios will distribute “Significant Other” internationally.
“Count Abdulla” follows Abdulla Khan (Arian Nik, “The Bay”), a British-Pakistani Muslim doctor in his mid-20’s who is stuck in an identity crisis, caught between his religious mother and his secular, hedonistic friends. But when Abdulla is bitten by a vampire (Jaime Winstone, “Four Lives”), he suddenly becomes the ultimate outsider.
This new series is written by Kaamil Shah and directed by Asim Abbasi (“Churails”). “Count Abdulla” is a Fudge Park production, produced by Hussain Casey Ahmed (“Afterlife”), with executive producer Phil Gilbert (“White Gold”).
“Ruby Speaking” is a new scripted comedy from Yellow Door Productions. The series is co-created by and starring the award-winning actress and comedian Jayde Adams (“Alma’s Not Normal”) and written by Abigail Wilson (“The Larkins”). The Bristol-based series follows Ruby’s misadventures and is inspired by the years Jayde spent working in a call centre. Rosie Gaunt-Mathieson will direct and Jon Macqueen (“Sliced,” “Phone Shop”) will produce. The six part series will premiere on ITVX in 2023. Yellow Door founder Lucy Lumsden will executive produce.
ITV has also ordered “The Family Pile,” a new comedy series from Hat Trick Productions that will air on ITV in 2023.
The series tells the story of four sisters who have lost their parents and are packing up the family home to sell. The cast is headlined by Amanda Abbington (“Sherlock,” “Mr Selfridge”), Clare Calbraith (“Downton Abbey”), Claire Keelan (“Nathan Barley”), and Alexandra Mardell (“Coronation Street”). Kieran O’Brien, Richard Pepple and James Nelson-Joyce round up the cast.
The show was written by Brian Dooley with Phil Warburton-Leach as producer, Fergal Costello as director and Jimmy Mulville and Angela Sinden as executive producers.
“The Family Pile” was filmed entirely in the Liverpool City Region with the support of Liverpool Film Office’s Production Fund. Hat Trick International will distribute the series.