British sitcoms have been increasingly making their way across the pond—and not just old episodes of Are You being Served? that your mom watches on Sunday afternoons while casually mentioning she’d find it a hoot if you called her “mum.” There’s a robust market for distinctly British humor, and it’s about to get some fresh product.
According to Deadline, a number of new TV comedies are in development by the BBC, and the most noteworthy sounds an awful lot like Taika Waititi’s 2014 comedy What We Do In The Shadows, only replacing vampires with ghosts. Simon Farnaby, who co-wrote last year’s beloved Paddington 2, is creating Ghosts, a six-part comedy that follows “a group of restless spirits squabbling in a crumbling country house.” Add to that a press photo of the characters which could easily be mistaken for a deleted scene from Waititi’s film, and it all looks like a British variant on the basic structure—though probably without the documentary conceit, because no one wants to get sued. (And besides, we’re already getting the American version of that movie in TV form.)
That’s not the only one that might hold appeal for Americans, however. David Tennant is also starring in a new comedy, There She Goes, a new five-part comedy co-starring Spaced’s Jessica Hynes. The series will be based on the real life experiences of writer Shaun Pye, and deals with a “severely learning disabled 9-year-old girl,” which just sounds like comedy gold and not at all potentially heartbreaking.
There are several other comedy-based projects in the announcement, including a comic crime thriller titled Back To Life written by Episodes’ Daisy Haggard, about a woman who returns to her small town 10 years after committing a terrible crime. The BBC seems quite chuffed, to borrow a phrase, about its new block of programming, pointing out that British shows like Fleabag and Catastrophe have done quite well internationally without having to be co-commissioned with foreign partners or watering down the English-ness of it all. “We believe in a British talent first and foremost approach, and are here to grow the stars of tomorrow through the hit shows of today,” BBC comedy chief Shane Allen says, which is a nice bit of PR speak that also gives us a chance to make fun of the job title “comedy chief.” No release date has been set for any of the programs as of yet.