Count Arthur Strong (TV series)
|Count Arthur Strong|
|Based on||Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show!
by Steve Delaney
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC Two (2013)
BBC One (2014)
|Original airing||July 2013|
Count Arthur Strong is a BBC sitcom written by Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan. Delaney portrays the titular character in the series, a reboot of the character from the radio programme, Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show! The series focuses on the meeting between Count Arthur Strong, an eccentric, semi-retired music hall performer, and Michael Baker, the bookish son of his former comedy partner.
On 9 July 2013, a second series consisting of seven episodes was commissioned and filming began in May 2014. On 31 October, it was announced that the programme will move to BBC One in 2015, the second series will begin on 6 January 2015.
- Steve Delaney as Count Arthur Strong, an elderly, pompous, out-of-work actor from Doncaster with delusions that he is a show business legend. The character has been described as "a mixture of physical and mental clumsiness, mirthful malapropisms and Tourettic tics, whose pride forbids him from ever conceding fallibility, even as his world crashes around him".
- Rory Kinnear as Michael Baker, a writer. Michael, a shy, bookish and quiet man, is using Arthur's anecdotes to help write his late father's biography.
- Chris Ryman as Bulent, the irascible, hot-tempered owner of Arthur's local café.
- Zahra Ahmadi as Sinem, Bulent's younger sister with a devilish sense of humour.
- Andy Linden as John the Watch, an enigmatic regular at the café and close friend of Arthur's.
- Dave Plimmer as Eggy, a quiet, gentle, melancholy café regular obsessed with eggs and conspiracy theories.
- Ruth Posner as Katya, a café regular and Arthur's greatest fan. (Series 1)
Production and broadcast
In 2009, it was reported that Delaney would be working on making a television version of Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show! for TalkbackThames and BBC Two, and further that Graham Linehan and Jeremy Dyson were working on a project for TV called Count Arthur Strong's Entertainment Game. The quiz show format was subsequently dropped in favour of a sitcom.
The first episode of Count Arthur Strong was recorded on 10 January 2013 at Pinewood Studios. Written by Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan, it co-starred Rory Kinnear as the son of the recently deceased Max Baker, Count Arthur's erstwhile comedy partner. Michael Baker (Kinnear) sets out to track down Count Arthur after the death of his father in order to write a biography.
The television project heralds a new chapter in the life of Count Arthur Strong as compared to the character in the radio series. None of the characters from the radio programme are featured (Geoffrey, Wilf Taylor, Sally Marsden etc) and the series is set in London rather than Doncaster. The cafe is run by a stroppy Turkish character called Bulent (Chris Ryman) and his sister; Arthur's "biggest fan" is Katya, an elderly Polish lady (Ruth Posner).
The first episode of six began broadcast on BBC2 on 8 July 2013, with one episode each week airing thereafter. The first episode was watched by 971,000 viewers, less than half of BBC2's slot average over the previous three months. Episodes 4, 5 and 6 were subsequently moved from Mondays, 8.30 pm, on BBC Two, to Tuesdays, 8 pm, on the same channel.
A second series has been commissioned, but will air on BBC One after moving from Two. The series was recorded at Pinewood Studios between 6 June 2014 and 18 July 2014. The second series will begin broadcasting on BBC One on 6 January 2015.
The first series was shown on BBC Two.
Series 1 (2013)
|No.||#||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Memory Man"||Graham Linehan||Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan||8 July 2013|
|Michael Baker tracks down Count Arthur Strong, a music hall performer and former partner of Michael's recently deceased father, for help with his father's biography.|
|2||2||"Arthur.com"||Graham Linehan||Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan||15 July 2013|
|Michael gives Arthur a laptop in return for helping him write his father's biography.|
|3||3||"The Radio Play"||Graham Linehan||Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan||22 July 2013|
|Arthur is given a small role in a radio play when the original actor is unable to attend the recording.|
|4||4||"Arthur's Big Moment"||Graham Linehan||Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan||30 July 2013|
|The customers lock themselves in to the café's back room during a riot. Arthur takes the opportunity to entertain this captive audience with his one-man musical act.|
|5||5||"Doctor Two"||Graham Linehan||Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan||6 August 2013|
|After Michael is bitten by one of Arthur's dog-sitting dogs, he and Arthur pay a visit to the hospital. Their friend Katya comes with them but dies unexpectedly.|
|6||6||"The Seance"||Graham Linehan||Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan||13 August 2013|
|The café clientele are depressed after the death of Katya. Arthur holds a seance in an attempt to contact her to say a final goodbye.|
Series 2 (2015)
|No.||#||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|7||1||"The Heist"||Graham Linehan||Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan||6 January 2015|
|Michael returns, to discover that Arthur has written a novel, which is now sitting in his agent's office. However, when Michael learns that Arthur's book is full of salacious showbiz gossip, he and the café gang stage a heist to retrieve the manuscript.|
|8||2||"The Day the Clocks Went Back"||Graham Linehan||Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan||13 January 2015|
|A broken heart and the clocks going back leads to a mix-up at 2000 feet.|
The first series of Count Arthur Strong was released on 19 August 2013. In September 2013, BBC WorldWide recalled all the DVDs due to a picture fault.
- "Count Arthur Strong – News". komediaentertainment.com. August 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Count Arthur Strong – BBC2 Sitcom – British Comedy Guide". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Munn, Patrick. "BBC Two Cancels 'Heading Out', Renews 'Count Arthur Strong' For Second Season". TVWise. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- "TV Show new character details released". countarthurstrong.com. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- Burrell, Ian (18 May 2009). "Count Arthur strikes comedy gold for his devoted creator". The Independent. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
- "BBC Two Counts on Arthur". Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
- "Count Arthur Strong – Production Details". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "TV Series to air 8th July on BBC2". countarthurstrong.com. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- Plunkett, John (9 July 2013). "BBC2's Count Arthur Strong draws fewer than 1m". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- "Count Arthur Strong > Episode Guides". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "Graham & Steve interview". http://www.countarthurstrong.com. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- Count Arthur Strong transfers to BBC One
- Ben Lawrence (18 May 2014). "TV Baftas 2014: the winners in full". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 May 2014.