Channel 4 has handed out a six episode series order to Damned, the social services comedy co-created by and starring Jo Brand which was originally set up at Sky Arts, TVWise has learned.
Damned follows Social workers Rose and Al who work in a children’s services department, dealing every day with the all too familiar social issues that flood the media. Swimming against a tide of bureaucracy and pedantry, and contending with the absurdities and irrationalities of life in a county council office, the pair attempt to navigate their way through their equally trying professional and personal lives.
Jo Brand (Getting On, Going Forward) plays Rose, while Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek, Whites) will play Al. Other cast members include Morwenna Banks (Skins, The Thick of It), Kevin Eldon (Game of Thrones, Nighty Night), Himesh Patel (Eastenders), Georgie Glen (Waterloo Road, Evermoor), Aisling Bea (Trollied, The Fall) and Marjorie Yates (Shameless, Pat & Cabbage).
“As the daughter of a social worker, who worked for many years in child protection, I grew up seeing social workers go unrecognised for the good things they did and castigated for the bad”, said Jo Brand. “It’s like being a traffic warden without the perks. Damned is an attempt to portray the tragic-comic lives of social workers, always under pressure, always in possession of a grim sense of humour and always wrong in the eyes of the public”.
Damned was originally set up at Sky Arts, who commissioned a one-off episode which aired as part of their Playhouse Presents strand back in 2014. With no movement on the project going to series at the channel, Jo Brand, co-creator Morwenna Banks and writer Will Smith (Veep) re-developed it for Channel 4. What Larks Productions is producing the series, with Claire Whalley on board as the producer, while Ian Fitzgibbon is attached to direct.
“We are thrilled to be working with Jo, Morwenna and Will on this brilliant bittersweet series”, added Channel 4’s Deputy Head of Comedy Nerys Evans, who commissioned Damned alongside Head of Comedy Phil Clarke. “The series highlights some of the challenges and dilemmas facing front line social workers in this time of austerity. The characters are warm, honest and human and often have their own set of challenges outside of the office as well.”