Britney: review: The BBC has done it again. It has another sure fire hit on its hands – Britney.
Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson created and wrote the sitcom pilot based on their sell-our Edinburgh festival show. After several years in development it was dropped by one production company but BBC Three caught it before it hit the ground. And what a catch!
The story is based on Charly’s diagnosis of a brain tumour. Having graduated from drama school she had been living in New York and was working for a seedy agency, staffed by oddball characters handing out flyers around Times Square, while trying to find work as an actor. On what was meant to be a short trip back to her parent’s home in Oxfordshire, Charly went to see the GP, after not having had a period for a few months. She underwent an MRI scan which found the tumour. The news, received over the telephone, knocked the bottom out of her world.
This may not sound like the basis for a sitcom but the creators manage to wring plenty of humour out of the situation. It’s a part funny, part poignant but nevertheless uplifting story of a longstanding bond between the two girls. A story of a joyous friendship. The supporting cast is excellent with Omid Djalili shining as the GP.
In an interview when asked Did writing this programme make you nostalgic for your past?
Charly: Yes and no. It was definitely nice to revisit lots of the jokes and adventures we went on but it wasn’t a barrel of laughs dredging up the medical stuff. Having said that, though, it was very cathartic to look back on everything and choose how to tell the story, it was quite freeing in some ways.
You both seem to find the funny side of the darkest situations. Do you use comedy to get through difficult times?
Ellen: I don’t know if this answers the question, but the first thing Charly did after the diagnosis was put on an inflatable sumo suit and I wrote a comedy eulogy.
See full interview here
It’s being shown tonight at 11.35pm on BBC Three but you don’t have to stay up late, you can watch it now on BBC iPlayer.
The pilot is far too good not to be commissioned for a full series. So BBC over to you.