Fresh off of ordering Twenty Twelve spin-off W1A, BBC Two has handed out a commission to a new single musical drama titled Tubby & Enid from Victoria Wood and The Escape Artist‘s producers Endor Productions. Bafta award-winner Imelda Staunton (Shakespeare in Love) and Olivier-Award winner Michael Ball (Hairspray, Sweeney Todd) have been cast as the leads. Production on the drama is set to commence on January 6th on location in Manchester, with BBC Two eyeing a 2014 premiere.
Based on Victoria Wood’s stage play That Day We Sang, Tubby & Enid tells the story of the iconic recording of Nymphs and Shepherds sung by the Manchester Children’s Choir in 1929. The drama begins as one of those children, Jimmy, prepares for the great day, before jumping ahead 40 years to a reunion of that same choir being filmed for a documentary. One of the ex-choir children is Tubby, a middle-aged insurance salesman, living alone after the death of his mother. Hearing the record for the first time in 40 years he gets a glimpse of the boy he was, and the man he could be, if he has the courage to change. At the same reunion is Enid, living in a safe narrow world of her own construction. The music stirs powerful memories in both and seems to offer a new direction, a last grab for love. We interweave their faltering romance with Jimmy’s story, living with his adored but embittered mother in a tiny back to back in Depression hit Manchester. The adaptation was penned by Wood, who is also set to direct. Endor Productions is producing with Paul Frift serving as the producer and Hilary Bevan Jones & Matthew Read serving as the executive producers.
“Tubby and Enid brings together everything I love, singing, dancing, comedy, love and chips”, said Victoria Wood. “A musical set in ‘29 and ‘69 complete with tap dancing children, singing coal men and possibly a tram, was always going to be a big undertaking, and I’m very appreciative of the way everyone at the BBC has been so encouraging and supportive. Imelda and Michael are my dream team, superb professionals at the top of their game. I’m hoping to deliver something that will be a real treat for the audience.”
Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, said: “With a fantastic cast, and written and directed by the brilliant Victoria Wood, this promises to be a real treat for BBC2 viewers.”
Executive Producer Hilary Bevan Jones commented: “Victoria Wood is an extraordinary talent. This script is warm, witty and fun, complete with music and lyrics that make your heart leap. ”
While Producer Paul Frift added: “Musicals for television are rare – to make a musical with Victoria Wood, Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball is pure heaven. Tubby and Enid is a beautiful universal love story, we will all be in floods of tears before the end.”