Over the course of the normal commissioning of series in the UK, it’s common practice for a new series to be given the go-ahead for a certain number of episodes, somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 episodes. In the case of series that have been on for several years, the addition of a Christmas episode is added to the mix (i.e. Call the Midwife, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, etc).
With Christmas Day being one of the most important days of the year in the UK from a telly watching standpoint, this is generally a sign that a broadcast/commissioning entity such as the BBC or ITV is very high on a series. Normal course of action has Christmas specials only reserved for those series with a built in track record from an audience standpoint after having several series under their belt.
Vicious starring Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian Mckellen
In the case of Vicious, ITV1’s new studio-based situation comedy series starring Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi, the bar is raised so high after completion of filming earlier this month that ITV commissioned an extra episode to run at Christmas before the series had even premiered. Written by Gary Janetti (Will and Grace, Family Guy), Vicious tells the story of Freddie (McKellen) and Stuart (Jacobi), aging partners who have lived together in their Covent Garden flat for nearly 50 years. In their prime, budding actor Freddie met bartender Stuart but both careers are now pretty much over and their lives now consist of reading books, walking their dog and bickering. While there is a good chance for this new special to premiere on Christmas Day, the series will air in the not-too-distant future on ITV1 in the UK.
The series was originally titled Vicious Old Queens but was later re-titled Vicious after the 73 year-old McKellen jokingly took offense to the fact that he was being referred to as “old”.
Vicious also stars Frances de la Tour as the duo’s best friend, Violet, who entertains the pair with her outlandish love affairs, and Iwan Rheon (Misfits) as Ash, the young man who moves in upstairs.
I so can’t wait for this….