BBC Two has given the green-light to W1A, a 4 episode series which is being hailed as the follow-up to the BBC’s multi-BAFTA-winning comedy series Twenty Twelve. Despite that, the BBC are keen to stress that W1A is not a direct sequel but “shares the same DNA” and will follow the exploits of Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) and PR guru Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes).
Penned and directed by Jon Morton, W1A – a reference to the postcode area in which Broadcasting House is located – follows Ian Fletcher (Bonneville), former Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, taking up his next big job – the (fictional) Head of Values at the BBC. His task is to clarify, define, or re-define the core purpose of the BBC across all of its functions and to position it confidently for the future, in particular for Licence Fee Renegotiation and Charter Renewal in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The post is sold to Ian as a chance to influence and shape one of the great British institutions. His job is to think Big Thoughts, but it doesn’t him take long to realise that not only does he not have time to think Big Thoughts, he never has time to think any thoughts at all. The 4 episode series is being produced by BBC In-House Comedy with Jon Plowman serving as the executive producer. The initial 4 episode run is set to enter production next month, with BBC Two eyeing a 2014 premiere.
“It isn’t a demolition job on anybody or anything, and it isn’t one giant in-joke, and this isn’t a game of guessing who is supposed to be who. If it is satirical then it’s satirical about an environment, an ethos, and the absurdities of modern corporate life itself”, said writer and director John Morton. “The key principle is to operate at a level of reality just to the left or the right of fact, to create stories that haven’t actually happened but that could happen or might have happened.“
Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, commented: “Twenty Twelve was one of BBC Two’s stand out comedy hits last year and I’m absolutely thrilled that John Morton and the fantastic off-screen team are coming together again as well as some of our most loved characters from the first series.”
While Mark Freeland, Head of BBC In-House Comedy, added: “This is a kind of love letter to the BBC. But a letter that gets mislaid, because the remote computer system is not working and Head of Recovery, BBC, is stuck in a blue sky brainstorming session in a meeting room that’s been double booked and anyway, the bean bags have gone missing.”