Filming has begun on Episodes, a prime-time seven-part comedy series for BBC Two from the highly acclaimed writing partnership of David Crane (Friends) and Jeffrey Klarik (Mad About You), produced by Hat Trick Productions for Showtime (Nurse Jackie, The Tudors) and the BBC, for transmission later this year in both America and the UK.
Episodes is the story of a happily married English couple, Sean and Beverly Lincoln who also happen to be successful producers of a hit British TV show called Lyman’s Boys. At an awards ceremony in London they are wooed by a hugely powerful and charismatic US network executive who persuades them to move out to LA and remake their hit show for an American audience – with disastrous results.
Things begin to unravel at Sean and Beverly’s first studio meeting. It soon becomes clear that the network president has never even seen their show. To make matters worse, he insists they replace their lead actor, an erudite Royal Shakespeare veteran played by Richard Griffiths with Matt LeBlanc. Sean and Beverly are appalled. But the decision is out of their hands. Matt comes on board and they find themselves in a complicated triangle, which threatens to destroy not just their TV show but their marriage too.
The quintessential US comedy star Matt LeBlanc is playing a larger than life version of himself. Joining him are Tamsin Greig (Green Wing, Love Soup, Shaun Of The Dead), Stephen Mangan (Free Agents, Never Better, Green Wing), Kathleen Rose Perkins (Without A Trace, Tell Me You Love Me), Mircea Monroe (Scrubs, Without A Trace), Daisy Haggard (Psychoville, Sense And Sensibility) and Richard Griffiths (The History Boys, Withnail And I).
Jimmy Mulville comments: “These are some of the best scripts I’ve read in a long time by two writers at the top of their game. To have the opportunity to make a show with David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, with Matt LeBlanc playing a hilarious version of himself, and then to make that show for both Showtime and the BBC, whose combined portfolios of comedy are second to none, is both a thrill and a great privilege. Episodes promises to be one of the great comedy treats of 2010.”
David and Jeffrey add: “For the two of us to be doing a show with Matt again is a dream come true. Add to that the chance to work with talents of the calibre of Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan? Well, it doesn’t get better than that.”
The series was commissioned by BBC Comedy and Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, who says: “I’m delighted that Matt LeBlanc will be starring in an original comedy for BBC Two, and to be working with Showtime and Hat Trick on such a unique format.”
Cheryl Taylor, Controller of Comedy Commissioning, says: “The quality of the scripts from David and Jeffrey is equalled only by the pedigree of the cast and we can’t wait to see Episodes on BBC Two.”
Matt LeBlanc adds: “Jeffrey and David have a great idea – I love it. I am really excited to be working with Showtime and the BBC. And I am also so glad I got the part; seeing someone else playing Matt LeBlanc would have been devastating.”