Sunday 25 Jan 2009
Filming has begun on Big Top, a colourful, upbeat comedy series for BBC One from Big Bear Films set in and around a travelling circus.
Amanda Holden (Wild At Heart, Cutting It, Britain's Got Talent), John Thomson (Cold Feet, The Fast Show), Tony Robinson (Time Team, Blackadder), Ruth Madoc (Hi-de-Hi!, Little Britain), Bruce Mackinnon (The Office, The Catherine Tate Show) and Sophie Thompson (EastEnders, A Room With A View) star as the performers and backstage staff who make up Circus Maestro.
Each week a story is unfolded, erected, performed and taken down just like the Big Top itself. Our circus is fraught with problems which the Ring Mistress Lizzie must overcome.
What do you do when you've advertised a death-defying stunt which everyone has bought tickets to see, and the performer is just that little bit too injured? How do you manage a group of people who are so jealous of each other that they are happy to sabotage their colleagues performances; or so dedicated as performers that they are willing to sabotage their own survival? When the star acrobat is being chased by immigration, how do you hold onto him?
Our characters clash with a cacophony of egos and Lizzie must keep the whole thing going... somehow...
Amanda Holden plays Lizzie the Ring Mistress; John Thomson and Sophie Thompson are the clown husband-and-wife team, although he hasn't a funny bone in his body; Tony Robinson is Erasmus, the cynical soundman; Ruth Madoc plays Georgie, the Grande Dame of Circus Maestro, and Bruce Mackinnon plays Boyco, the dazzlingly talented East European acrobat who is incredibly naive about the ways of the English world.
Big Top will film in front of a live studio audience and on location in and around London.
It is written by Daniel Peak (I'm With Stupid; Not Going Out), directed by Marcus Mortimer (Jonathan Creek, My Hero) and co-produced by John Stroud (The Hairy Bikers' Cookbook, My Hero) and Marcus Mortimer.
Big Top was commissioned by Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One, and Lucy Lumsden, Controller, Comedy Commissioning, for the BBC. The Executive Producers are Jed Leventhall for Big Bear and Simon Wilson for the BBC.
Jay Hunt says: "Big Top is a heart-warming family comedy with real potential to capture the imagination of the BBC One audience. I am delighted it will be part of the new raft of comedies on the channel."
Lucy Lumsden says: "With a great ensemble cast and brilliant scripts from the very talented Daniel Peak, we look forward to seeing the Big Top's struggling circus troupe take to the floor in this new audience sitcom for BBC One."