Count Arthur Strong (TV series)

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Count Arthur Strong
Genre Sitcom
Created by
Original airing July 2013 (2013-07)

Count Arthur Strong is a BBC Two 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![1] 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.[2]

On 9 July 2013, a second series consisting of seven episodes was commissioned[3] and filming was underway in May 2014.

Cast[edit]

  • 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".[4]
  • 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.[5]
  • Chris Ryman as Bulent, the irascible, hot-tempered owner of Arthur's local café.[5]
  • Zahra Ahmadi as Sinem, Bulent's younger sister with a devilish sense of humour.[5]
  • Andy Linden as John the Watch, an enigmatic regular at the café and close friend of Arthur's.[5]
  • Ruth Posner as Katya, a café regular and Arthur's greatest fan.[5]
  • Dave Plimmer as Eggy, a quiet, gentle, melancholy café regular obsessed with eggs and conspiracy theories.[5]

Production and broadcast[edit]

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,[6] and further that Graham Linehan and Jeremy Dyson were working on a project for TV called Count Arthur Strong's Entertainment Game.[7] The quiz show format was subsequently dropped in favour of a sitcom.[8]

The first episode of Count Arthur Strong was recorded on Friday 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[9] 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 series was recorded in front of a live audience from January to February 2013 at Pinewood Studios.[10]

The first episode of six began broadcast on BBC2 on 8 July 2013, with one episode each week airing thereafter.[11] The first episode was watched by 971,000 viewers, less than half of BBC2's slot average over the previous three months.[12] Episodes 4, 5 and 6 were subsequently moved from Mondays, 8.30 pm, on BBC Two, to Tuesdays, 8 pm, on the same channel.[13]

A second series has been commissioned. Studio recordings for the second series began at Pinewood Studios from Friday 6th June 2014 with filming expected to end on Friday 18th July 2014.[14]

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (2013)[edit]

No. # Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 1 "Memory Man" Graham Linehan Steve Delaney & Graham Linehan 8 July 2013 (2013-07-08)
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 (2013-07-15)
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 (2013-07-22)
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 (2013-07-30)
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 (2013-08-06)
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 (2013-08-13)
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 (2014)[edit]

The second series of Count Arthur Strong will consist of seven episodes and is expected to begin airing in September 2014.

Awards[edit]

The first series of Count Arthur Strong was nominated for Best Situation Comedy at the 2014 BAFTA awards.[15]

DVD release[edit]

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.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Count Arthur Strong – News". komediaentertainment.com. August 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Count Arthur Strong – BBC2 Sitcom – British Comedy Guide". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Munn, Patrick. "BBC Two Cancels 'Heading Out', Renews 'Count Arthur Strong' For Second Season". TVWise. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.komediaentertainment.com/arthur-takes-over-radio-4/
  5. ^ a b c d e f "TV Show new character details released". countarthurstrong.com. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Burrell, Ian (18 May 2009). "Count Arthur strikes comedy gold for his devoted creator". The Independent. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  7. ^ "BBC Two Counts on Arthur". Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.comedy.co.uk/news/story/00000823/count_arthur_strong_tv_sitcom/
  9. ^ http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/count_arthur_strong/
  10. ^ "Count Arthur Strong – Production Details". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "TV Series to air 8th July on BBC2". countarthurstrong.com. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Plunkett, John (9 July 2013). "BBC2's Count Arthur Strong draws fewer than 1m". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Count Arthur Strong > Episode Guides". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Graham & Steve interview". http://www.countarthurstrong.com. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Ben Lawrence (18 May 2014). "TV Baftas 2014: the winners in full". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  16. ^ http://www.bbcshop.com/comedy/count-arthur-strong-dvd/invt/bbcdvd3818

External links[edit]