BBC brilliance from the Big Easy – Comedy


Working very hard on your behalf, Tellyspotting, along with representatives from a number of PBS stations across the country, have taken over New Orleans for the last few days for a sneak peak of what’s in store, programming-wise, for public television viewers in the coming months. With over 50 program/series offerings being made available for syndication, I can tell you that after day one, as a viewer of public television, you are in for some amazing television in 2013.

Today’s three offerings in the comedy genre ranged from charming to laugh-out-loud funny. In all cases, these three reinforce my belief that UK comedy, in most cases, is head and shoulders about the rest of the world for two reasons…writing and casting. Plain and simple, this is intelligent television.

The Café is set in and around a café in Weston-Super-Mare run by generational trilogy Mary (June Watson), Carol (Ellie Haddington) and Sarah (Michelle Terry). Acting as the social hub of the seafront town, ‘the café’ sees all walks of life pass through and gives viewers an honest portrayal of life in a typical British seaside resort. Sarah is in her late twenties and has recently returned home from London as she attempts to pursue a writing career. Many of her old school adversaries still live in the area and are frequent visitors to the café. Royle Family alums Craig Cash and Ralf Little, who also plays Sarah’s former love-interest, Richard, have really delivered a gem of a comedy that has just been renewed for a second series in the UK and will hit public television in 2013.

This new 6-part comedy tells the tale of the Pearson family and their impetuous and ambitious son, Jack. Having left for the bright lights and big city of Manchester, he has ‘secretly’ married Sarah, a nice Jewish girl. The first episode was laugh-out-loud funny when Jason brings Sarah home to meet the family. Trust me, the scene of Jason’s mom feeling the need to make bagels out of rolls with an apple corer is priceless. Stand-up comedian and series creator Jason Cook based the series on his own experiences of growing up in the North East of England. It’s a little tough to ‘understand’ given Northern England accents, but it’s well worth it.

Created by Oriane Messina and Fay Rusling, Me and Mrs. Jones follows the ever complicated life of Gemma Jones (Sarah Alexander) as she balances love, affection, sex and motherhood between and ex-husband, one grown-up son and two young daughters. Not complicated enough? Well, add in the fact that Gemma has to balance the beginning of a new relationship with Tom, one of the Dads from her daughters school and her sudden ‘feelings’ for her son’s best friend (Robert Sheehan, Misfits). Let’s go behind the scenes with Sarah Alexander…

Whether it’s comedy, drama, docs or natural history, if Wednesday was any indication, there will not be enough hours over the course of a week to slot some of the best television on television when combined with the other ‘best television on television’ that comes your way via PBS. 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for us all. Over the next several days, we’ll profile more of what’s coming your way to public television from the BBC. You are so going to want to come back to see the drama offerings…Cheers.