After the success of Thursday’s Alternative Election Night talk amongst David Mitchell fans has signalled that we are really missing a wry, witty and informed take on the current bizarre – and ripe for satire, political landscape. We feel a David Mitchell and Jeremy Paxman lead weekly news show may be the only solution to help us make sense of it all. After the marathon broadcast I found myself thinking: ‘I wonder what David and Jeremy would be saying about all of this now?’
After 10 0’clock Live came to an end C4’s only satire comes from The Last Leg, unquestionably a great show, but also primarily a chat show. There is a gap in the market for a full on political analysis show for Channel 4. That’s why I want us to try and make this happen!
We can do this by tweeting C4’s @4viewers twitter feed telling them what we want which is roughly this:
@4viewers After the Election Night I’d love David Mitchell and Jeremy Paxman to host some sort of weekly political show!
David and Robert have been spotted all around Stroud today! Filming their brand new comedy drama and also taking time out to take pictures with fans. Here are some of the onset sightings as reported by the local news sites:
So what can we expect from Mitchell and Webb’s newest venture? Back (see what I did there) in October David announced that ‘Back’ a brand new sitcom/comedy drama starring himself and Robert Webb, and written by Simon Blackwell had been commissioned for Channel 4 for a full series and would be broadcast later this year. The pilot was filmed ‘back ‘in April 2016 (see what I did again there? Okay I’ll stop.) and here is all the information we have at the moment from the initial press release to the titbits that are being gleamed from the filming of the series in Stroud.
The plot follows Stephen Nicholls (played by David) a slightly downtrodden man who is the son of local legend Laurie Nicholls. After his father’s death Stephen inherits the family’s pub. His mother Ellen (played by Julia Deakin) who is described as being ‘bohemian’ and sister Cass (played by Louise Brealey) show little interest in making a go of it themselves being ‘creative’ and having ‘weed to buy and energy-centres to rebalance.’The cast picture also reveals a role for Geoffrey McGivern as Laurie’s erratic brother Uncle Geoff.
With his dad now dead, Stephen sees it as his big chance to shine. But when his charming and charismatic former foster-brother Andrew (played by Robert Webb) turns up out of the blue at Laurie’s funeral, Stephen’s plans go awry. Andrew is back, and keen to rejoin the closest thing he’s ever had to a family…
Charismatic Andrew has lived in Sydney, Amsterdam, Chicago, the Loire valley and Berlin but crucially, spent five formative months in 1989 fostered by Laurie and Ellen as a 15-year-old. To Stephen, Andrew was just one of a string of 30-odd foster kids who he spent his childhood resenting. But Andrew remembers every single detail and sees that time as the most important of his life. Back’s IMDB page shows castings of Kai Alexander for a young Andrew and Dominic Creasey as Stephen which means we can perhaps expect flashback scenes to Mitchell and Webb’s characters as teenagers, but whether these castings were just for the pilot is not yet known.
Dominic Creasey cast as the Young Stephen
Kai Alexander cast as Young Andrew
Ellen loves Andrew. Cass loves Andrew. Uncle Geoff loves Andrew. But Stephen doesn’t love Andrew. He thinks he’s a glib, dangerous sociopath who’s about to steal his family, his business and his life.
A leaked page of the pilot script also reveals the character Alison who we can assume is Stephen’s girlfriend. Stephen is divorced so there is also a possibility it could be his ex-wife.
Back is being made by Mitchell & Webb’s own production company That Mitchell & Webb Company in conjunction with Big Talk productions. It will be the first project they’ve made with their own production company since ‘Ambassadors’.
Channel 4’s Phil Clarke said of the show: “To have Mitchell & Webb and Simon Blackwell working together is a very exciting prospect. It’s a unique configuration of some seriously big comedy minds. Simon has written a very funny and clever script with a strong emotional heart that takes Robert Webb and David Mitchell in a new and genuinely intriguing direction.”
Which sounds very much like it will continue on the comedy drama route Mitchell & Webb were so great at in ‘Ambassadors’. With creatives on board from both ‘Ambassadors’ and ‘Peep Show’ we could be in for something very special.
Kenton Allen from Big Talk Productions said: “Blackwell, Mitchell and Webb are some of the finest comedy minds I’ve ever encountered, a supergroup of incredibly witty individuals. The show was an absolute pleasure to develop with them and I only hope the audience will laugh as much when they see Back as I have when spending time with these masters of their craft.”
Simon Blackwell himself said: “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to write for David and Robert again (after having previously written for Peep Show), and very exciting to be surrounded by such a superb cast, director and production team.”
David said ‘His (Simon Blackwell’s) writing is deep, dark, warm and funny – like a hot tub brimming with laughing gravy.’ Robert Webb added: “That sounds disgusting.”.
As ever I’ll keep updating the instagram and the site with more news about Back so stay tuned.
If you’ll remember soon after the election was called we began a little campaign of our own here at A Dose of David Mitchell…
It was thanks, in some part I am sure, to all your help that the good people at Channel 4 have indeed announced David and Jeremy will return for another election night, with Richard Osman and Kathy Newman once again in tow and other guests to be announced shortly. Previous guests included Henning Wehn, Aisling Bea and Romesh Ranganathan. The special will begin broadcasting at 10pm and continue throughout the night until the early hours, more information can be found here:
Shortly after the announcement I received a tweet from @4viewers (C4’s viewer enquiry twitter feed). ‘We told you we’d put it in our suggestion box.’ It said. Proof if ever it were needed that a little bit of fan support does indeed go a long way. Thanks guys.
In light of the announcement of the general election on June 8th, I’m rallying a campaign to get David Mitchell (preferably with Jeremy Paxman) to host another Alternative Election Night for Channel 4. David has hosted Channel 4’s election coverage for the past two elections so wouldn’t it be great to make it a third? 2015’s Alternative Election Night was particularly remarkable for beating Sky news and ITV’s coverage, being second only to the BBC in the ratings, so surely Channel four would be looking to emulate this success again?
If you want to help with the campaign tweet @4viewers and tag David as well so he can see the demand and fan support. No twitter? No problem, contact channel 4 viewer enquiries here: https://www.channel4.com/4viewers/contact-us
Here is some of the support in action on twitter:
One comment elicited this response from Channel 4:
The nominations for the TV Baftas were released this morning and David has been nominated for an extremely well deserved ‘Best male comedy performance’ award for Upstart Crow! We will find out on May 14th if David wins. Let’s cross all fingers and hope he does!
It’s your chance to get your hands on a series 1, episode 6 original script signed by all the cast, and also a signed photo! These are being auctioned off on ebay for Autism Awareness Month in aid of The Blue Sky Autism project of which Tim Downie (our very own cool Kit Marlowe) is Ambassador. Please check it out and spread the word to raise as much for the charity as possible!