Syrian refugee comedy ‘Home’ a sweet surprise at BBC Showcase

Photo credit: Channel 4

Shifting genres a bit during Day 2 of BBC Showcase in Liverpool, Home, a new comedy about a Syrian refugee who enters Britain illegally, in the car boot of a family coming home from holiday, generated universal interest among those of us in attendance in Liverpool on Monday.

The BBC Showcase

The Showcase is an annual gathering where the British public broadcaster rolls out their best programming for approximately 700 TV buyers — like Bill, who’s the television VP at North Texas public media station KERA — from around the world.

» Go to all BBC Showcase stories

Written by and starring W1A star Rufus Jones, Home tells the story of Sami as he tries to settle in the UK. Sami ends up living in suburban London with his new adoptive couple Peter (Jones) and Katy, and her son John, after they are surprised to find their unexpected visitor when they return from France.

After screening the initial pilot on Monday, Home brought a tear to the eye of many of us as, beyond the comedic aspects of Sami and his quest to claim asylum, we watched both Sami and his newly adoptive family come to terms with what “home” really means.

The series was an overwhelming favorite among our small group of programmers looking to bring back comedy gold to our respective public television stations in the coming year.

Home has also become somewhat of a personal passion for Jones. The W1A star told BBC News: “I first thought of the idea in the middle of the refugee crisis in 2015, when we were getting all these terrible images. But rather than being about Syria, it’s about what a Syrian man finds when he arrives here — and I wanted to do that from the point of view of a family. It’s almost like a state of the nation piece.

Home was recently commissioned for a full six-part series following a successful Channel 4 pilot episode. Fiona McDermott, head of comedy at Channel 4, said: “Home got us with its heart and conviction to tell an important story about family, strangers, identity and the fragile ties that both bind us and pull us apart. It’s full of warmth, boldness and characters we hope viewers will really take to their hearts.

Airing later this year on Channel 4 in the UK, let’s hope we can welcome Home to public television stations comedy line-ups in the future.

In: Comedy