Miranda (TV series)
|Created by||Miranda Hart|
|Written by||Miranda Hart|
|Directed by||Juliet May|
|Theme music composer||Alex Eckford|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||18 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jo Sargent|
|Producer(s)||Nerys Evans (Series 1)
Emma Strain (Series 2 & 3)
|Location(s)||BBC Television Centre|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC Two (2009–10)
BBC One (2012–4)
|Picture format||16:9 (1080i HDTV)|
|Original run||9 November 2009– December 2014|
Miranda is a BBC television sitcom written by and starring British comedian Miranda Hart, which first aired on BBC Two on 9 November 2009. The situation comedy also features Sarah Hadland, Tom Ellis, Patricia Hodge, Sally Phillips, James Holmes and Bo Poraj. The series is based on Hart's semi-autobiographical writing, following a television pilot and the BBC Radio 2 comedy Miranda Hart's Joke Shop. It received positive comments from critics and Hart won the 2009 Royal Television Society award for comedy performance for her role in the first series.
A second series was commissioned and began airing on BBC Two and BBC HD on 25 November 2010. A third series began airing on 26 December 2012 on BBC One and BBC One HD, concluding on 28 January 2013. As of August 2, 2014, all three series are available in the United States through Hulu. In July 2014 Hart announced that there are no plans for a fourth series but 'a couple of specials' would be made.
The various episodes revolve around this set-up and the scenarios Miranda gets herself into: Miranda (Miranda Hart) is 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and gets called 'Sir' once too often. She has never fitted in with her old boarding school friends, Tilly (Sally Phillips) and Fanny (Katy Wix), and finds social situations awkward, especially around men. She is a constant disappointment to her mother, Penny (Patricia Hodge), who is desperate for her to get a proper job and a husband. Although Miranda owns and lives above her own joke shop and boutique, she lacks any real capacity for business, so it is managed by her childhood friend Stevie Sutton (Sarah Hadland). The restaurant next door is initially run by Clive Evans (James Holmes), until series three, when the restaurant's chef, Gary Preston (Tom Ellis), purchased it from him. After many failed attempts at dating, Miranda and Gary, who is also a friend from university whom Miranda fancies, decide to be just friends. Nevertheless, when Gary gets a girlfriend called Rose (Naomi Bentley), it leads Miranda to start a new relationship with Michael Jackford (Bo Poraj), a local reporter.
- Miranda Hart as Miranda - An ungainly, socially awkward thirty-something woman who frequently finds herself in bizarre situations. She is something of a misfit relative to her upper-middle class, privately educated background, opting to invest an inheritance from her uncle in a joke shop rather than pursuing a more "respectable" career, and balking at the supposedly suitable men her mother and friends try to set her up with. Miranda struggles with everyday adult life, often indulging in odd, childlike behaviour (including adding faces and clothes to pieces of fruit and vegetables, dubbing them "Fruit Friends" and "Vegeta-Pals"). Although this often irritates her friends and family, they tolerate her because, at heart, she is intelligent and good-natured.
- Tom Ellis as Gary Preston - A handsome, friendly chef; an old university friend of Miranda's. Although there has always been an undercurrent of attraction between them, neither has pursued it until he begins working at the restaurant next to the joke shop. Despite often being confused by Miranda's behaviour, Gary generally finds her kind, open nature endearing. Gary is more confident and worldly than Miranda, but he shares her insecurity in romantic situations, and occasionally becomes embroiled in odd situations with her — for example, the pretence that they have sons called "Cliff" and "Richard" when challenged by a customer in the shop. He is one of the few people who accepts Miranda as she is.
- Sarah Hadland as Stevie Sutton - Miranda's childhood friend, and the assistant manager of the joke shop (although in reality she does most of the work due to Miranda's lack of business sense). She is generally more level-headed and ambitious than Miranda, but is not averse to becoming involved in her strange behaviour, or indeed indulging in some of her own - notably performing Heather Small's "Proud" while holding a cardboard cut-out of the singer whenever she is pleased with herself. Stevie also shares Miranda's lack of success with men, sometimes coming across as desperate when she chats someone up.
- Patricia Hodge as Penny - Miranda's middle-class mother, a "lady who lunches", who likes to impress her friends and fellow W.I. members. Her main mission in life is to find Miranda a man and a better job. She despairs at Miranda's decision to run a joke shop, and her tendency to reject suitable (or at least available) men. Penny's catchphrase, "Such fun!" is normally used to describe an activity or event where she believes Miranda may find a husband. Penny tends to ignore Miranda's obvious disinterest or discomfort. Although often embarrassed by her daughter and prepared to humiliate her (to the point of holding up a placard offering to pay someone to marry Miranda). Penny's actions are borne out of genuine love and concern, and on the rare occasions where Miranda is doing well she shows her love by cheering "Go Miranda".
- Sally Phillips as Tilly - An old schoolfriend of Miranda's who, in contrast to her, fits right in with their private school background, often showing more in common with Penny than Miranda does. She will often address Miranda by her school nickname, "Queen Kong" (due to Miranda's stature), despite Miranda's obvious repeated and vocal distaste for it, but her criticisms and attempts to help Miranda are generally well-intentioned. Tilly's catchphrase is "bear with", usually said as she breaks off from conversations to read text messages. Whilst she seems more confident and together than Miranda, she has no more luck in romantic terms, notably when her fiancé Rupert makes a pass at Miranda behind her back.
- James Holmes as Clive Evans (series 1 and 2) - The camp, vicious-tongued owner of the restaurant where Gary works. Whenever he attempts to help Miranda and Gary get together he is usually more of a hindrance than help, such as accidentally revealing Gary has a secret wife. He is absent from the third series having sold the restaurant to Gary off-screen.
- Bo Poraj as Michael Jackford (series 3) - Miranda's new boyfriend who works as a television reporter and loves Miranda for the real her.
- Naomi Bentley as Rose (series 3) - Gary's new girlfriend. When Rose can't accept his past affections for Miranda, Gary breaks up with her. She is last seen entering Gary's restaurant for its re-opening, but when Miranda confesses her true feelings for Gary during an argument, Rose immediately walks out.
Abigail Wilson, who worked for comedians Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, suggested Hart pitch a show to the BBC after seeing her perform in 2003. Following a read-through of her script with Saunders and BBC executives, a television pilot, based on her semi-autobiographical writing, was filmed in early 2008, and the series was then developed into a sitcom for radio; Miranda Hart's Joke Shop aired on BBC Radio 2 in August and September 2008. A television series was commissioned in August 2008 and began filming in June 2009. Outdoor shots for series one were filmed in Hounslow, West London.
In an interview with the BBC's Writersroom, Hart said of the semi-autobiographical basis for the series:
Well I developed this stand-up persona, and that's where it all started from. I realised I was getting laughs being a version of me, and that's what ended up in the sitcom. You do ultimately start from yourself but I'm pleased to say I did have to exaggerate for comedic effect. It wasn't entirely autobiographical. I'm not quite that mad.
Each episode begins with a welcome to audience and a 'Previously in my life ...' segment, and Hart says a joke shop is the "right place" as the setting after being asked to consider an office to "normalise" the character. Her love of 1970s comedy programmes, such as Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, is the influence for Miranda. The episodes end with a 'You have been watching ...' credits section where each cast member waves goodbye, as seen concluding Jimmy Perry and David Croft sitcoms such as Dad's Army and Hi-de-Hi!. Quoted in The Times, Hart says "I'm saying this is what I'm doing and I'm not scared to do it. Some of my comedy peers do slightly fear being a mainstream figure, as if it's slightly uncool. Well, I thought I'm going to embrace it." Throughout each episode, Hart breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly, a technique described as a "simple creative decision [that] makes this infectious comedy sing"; another critic stated "this is hard to pull off, but it works well".
Following the conclusion of the first series, the BBC commissioned a second series for BBC Two in 2010. Of this, Hart said "I am not only relieved but totally overwhelmed by the response and thrilled that people have enjoyed the series. I am very grateful for all the support and to the BBC for giving me the chance to do another series next year." Filming started during the first weeks of summer, and the new series began broadcast in November 2010. The second series comprises six episodes and saw the return of Miranda's mother and friends, Stevie, Gary and Tilly.
For the BBC broadcast, following the end of each episode viewers could press the red button, or go online, to watch Hart interview a guest who had inspired her during the writing of the show. Hart's friend Clare Balding was the first guest and they discussed how Balding influenced the character of Tilly. Frank Skinner was interviewed for the second episode. Following the end of episode five, which is a two-hander between Miranda and Penny, the red-button feature saw Hart interview her real-life mother. In late 2010, Hart announced that she would be filming a special edition of Miranda for Comic Relief. The sketch saw Miranda team up with dancers from Pineapple Dance Studios.
Miranda was recommissioned for a third series by BBC Comedy commissioner Cheryl Taylor in January 2011. Hart revealed that the third series might not be ready until 2012, but she may write a Christmas special. The following month it was announced that the third series of Miranda would be shown on BBC One. In April 2011, Hart announced on The Graham Norton Show that she had set herself to start writing the third series the following month. However, Hart revealed in November she had still not started writing the series. That same month it was announced Hart would not be doing a new Christmas special, though the 2010 Christmas episode would be repeated on BBC One.
On 17 December 2011, Andrew Mickel of Digital Spy reported Hart's involvement with BBC One drama Call the Midwife had delayed the third series of Miranda until Autumn 2012. Filming on the third series ended in early October 2012. A month later, a BBC News reporter revealed that Gary Barlow would appear in an episode of the third series as himself. They stated that he would "get friendly in an unexpected way" with Hart. The third series began broadcasting from 26 December 2012. The outdoor scenes for the second episode of the third series were filmed in Church Street, Kingston upon Thames.
Due to the cliffhanger at the end of the third series, it was suspected that Miranda would return for a fourth series. However, in July 2014, Hart announced that there are no plans for a fourth series but 'a couple of specials' would be made.
In September 2014, co-star Sarah Hadland told The Sun that two Christmas specials will be filmed in November. Hart later announced that the two Christmas specials would be the end to the sitcom. Hart said the end was “going to be really emotional,” but added that she didn't want her sitcom character "to keep falling over and making a fool of herself".
The first two series of Miranda were broadcast on BBC Two. In February 2011, it was announced that for the third series, the show would be moving to BBC One. George Entwistle stated, "Miranda's been a tremendous hit with audiences on BBC Two and I'm very glad she's let us persuade her to move to BBC One, where we believe we can build an even bigger following for her multi-award-winning show. BBC Two has done an exceptional job of supporting and nurturing Miranda over a number of years and I'm certain she'll be equally well looked after at BBC One." From 20 March 2013, the series began airing on Gold. e On 5 July 2012, it was announced that the first two series of Miranda had been acquired by UKTV Australia. The series is broadcast on ABC1. In New Zealand, Miranda is aired on the TV One channel.
The first series was picked as one of the top 10 forthcoming TV shows for Autumn 2009 by The Sunday Times. Ahead of the first episode airing, Dominic Maxwell in an article for The Times described it as an "old-school" sitcom and said that "It's good fun, if you buy into it. And if you do, it's because of Hart." Also describing it as "old-fashioned", Vicky Frost for The Guardian said of the slapstick physical comedy that "It's not clever – but it is funny. And that, I think is at the heart of Miranda's appeal." Mark Wright for The Stage said that Hodge gives a "brilliant, brilliant performance" and that "what sets Miranda out as something special is Hart herself, and the rest just gels around her." The first series opened with 2.63 million viewers (10% audience share), rising to 3.14 million viewers (12% share) for the fourth episode.
The second series opened with 3.19 million viewers, rising to 4.01 million viewers for the third episode. Rachel Tarley from the Metro said Miranda is an acquired taste and that an episode can be a mixed bag. However, Tarley enjoyed the festive episode of series 2, saying "Hart got away with a lot of the more irritating qualities of her work, with help from the fantastic Patricia Hodge and Sally Phillips. Tonight was also the first we saw of Miranda's father, played by Tom Conti, who filled most of the episode's falling-over quota, so that Miranda finally remained pretty vertical throughout the episode." She added that Hart is "a great observer of everyday dilemmas" and the best thing of all is she left the door open for a third series. Dominic Cavendish of The Daily Telegraph called Miranda "the sitcom of the year", while Chris Harvey of the same newspaper said "The truth is, pretty much every time Miranda turns and looks at the camera, I burst out laughing. And even when her slapstick is so obvious it wouldn't confuse a small child [..] I still laugh. Even when I'm trying not to. Even when I really, really don't want to." Meanwhile, Catherine Gee said the show was a flop and listed six reasons why, which included unoriginal jokes, Hart's asides to the camera and the show retaining "the worst aspects of the sitcoms of yesteryear."
The opening episode of the third series became one of the most watched shows in the UK over the Christmas period, attracting a total audience of over 11.5 million viewers. For The Telegraph, Michael Deacon compares the programme to a childish Christmas panto, finally adding, "Perhaps I’m just getting old. I’m sure I’d have loved this show when I was six."  Keith Watson, writing for Metro, says the series three finale is a "great end to an up-to-scratch season, Miranda never fails to cheer up an evening, reminding many of us that we aren’t alone in the everyday awkward situations that we might find ourselves in – to some extent, anyway."
Awards and nominations
In March 2010, Hart won the comedy performance prize at the 2009 Royal Television Society Awards for her role; the series was also nominated for the scripted comedy and comedy writing (for Hart, Cary and Hurst) awards. The series also gained two nominations at the 2010 British Academy Television Awards: scripted comedy and female comedy performance for Hart. Both Hart and Hodge received Best Actress nominations at the 2010 Monte Carlo Television Festival. In November 2010, Miranda was nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the Broadcast Awards. In January 2011, the show won Best New British TV Comedy at the British Comedy Awards, while Hart won Best TV Comedy Actress and the People's Choice Award For The King Or Queen Of Comedy 2010. Miranda was also nominated for Best Sitcom.
Hart won Best Comedy Performance and Miranda was named Best Scripted Comedy at the Royal Television Society Awards in March 2011. Miranda earned the award for Best Comedy Show at the 37th Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. Juliet May received a nomination for Best Director at the 2011 British Academy Television Craft Awards. Hart and the show received nominations from the British Academy Television Awards for Female Performance in a Comedy Role and the YouTube Audience Award respectively. In December 2011, Hart won Best TV Comedy Actress at the 22nd British Comedy Awards. She also earned nominations for Best Female TV Comic and the People's Choice Award For The King Or Queen Of Comedy. Miranda was nominated for Best Sitcom. 2013 saw Hart nominated for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme at the British Academy Television Awards.
|DVD Title||No. of discs||Year||Episodes||Release date||Special features|
|Region 2||Region 4|
|Series 1||1||2009||6||15 November 2010||31 January 2012||Behind the scenes, The set tour with Miranda, Introducing the cast, Out takes|
|Series 2||1||2010||6||7 November 2011||4 July 2012||Miranda Hart interviewing cast, friends and family|
|Series 1 & 2||2||2009–10||12||7 November 2011||TBA||Same as individual releases|
|Series 3||1||2012–2013||6||4 November 2013||5 June 2013|
|Series 1, 2 & 3||3||2009–2013||18||4 November 2013||20 November 2013||Same as individual releases|
|Christmas Specials||1||2010/2012||2||24 November 2014||TBA|
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