Today the BBC have announced new shorts from Lolly, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Diane Morgan and Lazy Susan which will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer this summer.
They follow Sara Pascoe, Tim Key, Nick Helm and Spencer Jones who had Comedy Shorts last year and a four-part series of Spencer Jones' short The Mind of Herbert Clunkerdunk will air on BBC Two later this year. But what can we expect this year?
Sorry is a 14-minute pilot written by Lolly Adefope (Ghosts) in which she stars as Dolly Adesina, an actress on the verge of super-stardom and a self-described 'black Jennifer Lawrence', is on the way to the London premiere of her first Hollywood film.
But don't worry, she's just like you. Sure, it's pretty likely that she's about to be cast in the next Marvel movie - but she eats pizza and drinks beer and watches Netflix, just like you! During the journey, she finds out she's trending on Twitter, but for all the wrong reasons, putting her career in jeopardy.
Speaking about the pilot which explores the ideas of intent, regret and redemption, Lolly said “So excited to be making a comedy short for BBC iPlayer, and especially excited by the opportunity to really get out of my zone by playing an actress who gets into trouble for something she tweeted!"
Executive Producer Damian Kavanagh said “The team at Tiger Aspect are beyond excited to be working with the exceptionally talented Lolly on Sorry and helping her to bring her wonderful creation to life for audiences to enjoy.”
Brain in Gear is a 10-minute short written by Famalam's Gbemisola Ikumelo in which she stars as a perfectly normal, if somewhat anxious single woman in her *cough* late 20s called Remi. This flat-share comedy sees the voices in your head become the nightmare tenants.
They are the voices that tell you to get out there and apply for that job, flirt with that stranger, carpe that diem... And the other one. The one that tells you stay in bed. Caught in the middle is Remi, who tries her best to navigate the contradicting advice from her inner selves who refuse to stay “inner”, and have an annoying habit of appearing uninvited in her home.
Speaking about the pilot, which promises to be a funny, surreal yet relatable, poignant yet puerile take on the conversations we have with ourselves every day, Gbemisola said “I talk to myself a lot. As in full blown, animated chats about everything and nothing, and I've often wondered what I would look like if someone placed a hidden camera in my home and caught me mid-flow. Brain in Gear is the world getting to see some of the awful things I get up to when I’m alone. Don't judge me!”
Gbemisola Ikumelo also stars in Mandy, a 15-minute short which marks Diane Morgan's (Cunk on Britain, After Life) directorial debut. A film she also wrote and starred in about a woman who really wants a sofa.
We've all been there haven't we? Spotting a sofa we like in a shop window and really wanting it. Wanting it so much that we can't think of anything else, wanting it so much that we feel physically sick and wanting it so much that nothing else in your life matters and you’d do anything, literally anything to get it, no matter the cost.
Starring alongside Diane and Gbemisola in Mandy will be Al Green (Stath Lets Flats), Mark Silcox (Man Like Mobeen), TV presenter Rick Edwards and Carol Decker from T'Pau.
Speaking about the short, Diane Morgan said “As well as writing and performing in this, I also did location scouting, prop-buying, costume and my own hair and make-up. But if it’s no good I can always blame the director. Oh hang on, that was me as well.”
And finally, Lazy Susan is the self-titled 10-minute short from Freya Parker and Celeste Dring better-known as Fringe favourites and comedy duo Lazy Susan.
Expect to see some of their best-loved characters from their stage shows such as Megan and Michaela who just ‘don’t want any drama tonight’ and Thomas and Sandrine the ‘whimsical French woman, written by a man who’s never met a woman' alongside some new creations.
Subversive, strangely universal, and most importantly, extremely funny. this is Lazy Susan’s world and we’re all just living in it.
Speaking about the short, Freya and Celeste said “This is a really exciting opportunity for us. We’re so glad that Amy Annette and Katie Churchill said yes when we proposed making it with them (on bended knee – as is customary in TV pitching). It’s our best shot at capturing some of the essence of our live shows but reimagining it for telly / the internet. We’ve got a really great team around us - including ace director Jennifer Sheridan - so it really is a shame that we've already blown the entire budget on models and jet-skis.”
Executive producer Myfanwy Moore said “Celeste and Freya are brilliantly talented writer-performers, and it is an honour of comic proportions to help them realise their vision on screen."
Speaking about these new shorts, the BBC's Controller for Comedy Commissioning, Shane Allen said "These shorts are a fast track way to back generation defining comedy talents to experiment with story and form. They also offer the comedy audience a novel way to watch comedy in more readily digestible ways as their attention is being pulled in so many more ways than ever before.”
Mandy, Lazy Susan and Sorry will be available from Thursday 25th July whilst Brain in Gear will be available from Saturday 3rd August on BBC iPlayer