Sky has ordered Funny Girl, a comedy drama series adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel of the same name. Gemma Arterton (Their Finest, Black Narcissus) is attached to star in the lead role.
Funny Girl follows Barbara Parker (Gemma Arterton), a young woman from Blackpool finding her comic voice in the male dominated world of the 1960s sitcom. It’s the height of the swinging 60s and Barbara Parker has just been crowned Miss Blackpool – but there’s got to be more to life than being a beauty queen in a seaside town, right? She wants to be… someone.
The bright lights of London are calling, and our determined hero sets off to find out who that someone is. The London she encounters is not as quite as swinging as the one she’d read about and seen on TV. However, after a series of setbacks Barbara finds herself in unfamiliar territory – an audition for a TV comedy show. Barbara’s uncompromising northern wit proves to be the X factor that the show has been missing. She gets the part and becomes part of a ground-breaking new sitcom which will have an impact on British comedy for decades to come.
Being a woman in a largely male environment has its own challenges, but as Barbara ‘finds her funny’ she re-defines the prevailing attitude to funny women and in the process, reinvents herself. Clare-Hope Ashitey (Riviera, Top Boy); Arsher Ali (Informer, The Missing) and Alexa Davies (White House Farm, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!) also star. “It’s a heart-warming story of an ambitious woman with a dream of making people laugh – it’s going to be something special”, Gemma Arterton said in a statement. “It’s an honour to be working with such an incredible team and be reunited with my first ever director, Oliver Parker.”
The comedy drama series is being penned by Morwenna Banks and is being produced by Potboiler and Rebel Park Productions, in association with Sky Studios. It was commissioned by Sky’s Managing Director of Content Zai Bennett, Sky Studios’ Director of Comedy Jon Mountague, and Sky Studios’ Commissioning Editor Tilusha Ghelani. The executive producers are Nick Hornby, Gemma Arterton, Morwenna Banks, Andrea Calderwood, Gail Egan, Jessica Parker and Jessica Malik. Oliver Parker is attached to direct.