Cuckoo (TV series)

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Cuckoo, BBC Comedy, Title Card 2012.jpg
Created byRobin French
Kieron Quirke
Written byRobin French
Kieron Quirke
Directed byBen Taylor (Series 1-2)
Paul Murphy (Series 3-4)
Ben Gregor (Series 5)
StarringAndy Samberg
Greg Davies
Helen Baxendale
Tamla Kari
Tyger Drew-Honey
Taylor Lautner
Andie MacDowell
Esther Smith
Matt Lacey
Kenneth Collard
Composer(s)Oli Julian
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series5
No. of episodes33 (list of episodes)
Producer(s)Dan Hine
Running time30 minutes*
Production company(s)Roughcut Television
Original networkBBC Three
Original release25 September 2012 (2012-09-25) –
present (present)
External links

Cuckoo is a British-Irish sitcom that began airing on BBC Three on 25 September 2012, repeating on BBC One, and in 2016 began airing worldwide on Netflix.

Written by Robin French and Kieron Quirke, Cuckoo stars Andy Samberg, Taylor Lautner, Andie MacDowell, Greg Davies, Tamla Kari, Esther Smith, Tyger Drew-Honey, Helen Baxendale, Matt Lacey and Kenneth Collard. The series launch became BBC Three's most-watched comedy launch, beating the record set by Bad Education, which debuted the previous month. Greg Davies was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme. At the British Comedy Awards, Cuckoo was nominated for Best New Comedy Programme and Greg Davies was nominated for Best TV Comedy Actor.


Following the success of series one, BBC ordered a second series, but it looked uncertain due to Samberg's busy schedule. In February 2014, it was announced that Samberg would not return for the second series, with Taylor Lautner replacing him as Cuckoo's long-lost lovechild Dale. The second series began on 7 August 2014. On 4 April 2016, Cuckoo was commissioned for two more series.[1] Series 4 wrapped up production on 18 March 2018, confirmed by Lautner via social media.[2] It was released on 2 August 2018.

A pilot for America's NBC television network was under consideration in May 2015.[3]

The show is filmed in the town of Amersham and the adjoining ‘old town’ in South Buckinghamshire, England.

Some of the outside scenes are also filmed in and around Thame, Oxfordshire.


Series 1

Cuckoo is set in Lichfield, Staffordshire, (external scenes are mostly filmed in Farnham, Surrey, Slough, Berkshire, and Amersham, Buckinghamshire, all approximately 100 miles south of Lichfield), home to the Thompson family. When Ken (Davies) and Lorna (Baxendale) collect their daughter Rachel (Kari) from the airport, they learn that she has returned from her gap year before medical school having married Dale "Cuckoo" Ashbrick (Samberg), an eccentric American hippie with an exuberantly loving attitude who does not have a job and loves to take drugs.

Series 2

Two years have passed and we learn that Cuckoo went missing in a climbing accident in the Himalayas, Dylan (Drew-Honey) is planning to attend university, and Rachel (now played by Esther Smith) is moving in with new boyfriend Ben (Lacey). Dale (Lautner), a hirsute young American, arrives, claiming to be Cuckoo's son and searching for his father whom he has never met. Taking pity, Ken and Lorna ask him to stay.

Series 3

Six months after Dale's dramatic departure at the end of the Christmas special of Series 2, Rachel is still heartbroken and missing Dale, but she has managed to salvage a certain friendship with her jilted former fiancé Ben (Lacey). Just as life looks like it's about to return to normal in the Thompson household a transformed Dale returns to shake things up all over again after having spent some time working for a Chinese 'businessman' in Shanghai. Meanwhile, Ken and Lorna are preparing for the birth of their unplanned new baby, and their son Dylan (Drew-Honey) is getting ready to leave for university. In the first episode Lorna gives birth to their baby son Sidney.[4]

Series 4

Dale and Steve work towards opening a bar called 'All Steve's Pals'. Rachel gets offered a job in Sierra Leone.

Series 4 was released, in full, online on BBC Three on 2 August 2018 with the opening episode titled "Lawyer of the Year". [5]

Series 5

Series 5 introduces a new character, Ivy (Andie MacDowell), who comes to England from America with a slightly sinister plan.
Dale (Taylor Lautner) does not appear in Series 5. His absence is not explained, with Rachel just telling Sid that "Dale is gone".
After meeting a strange lady in a pub, Ken decides to run for Lichfield MP.

Series 5 was released in full, online on BBC Three on 4 January 2019 with the opening episode titled “Ivy Arrives”.

Cast and characters[edit]

     = Main cast (actor receives "Starring" credit that season)
     = Recurring cast (actor appears in two or more episodes that season)
     = Guest (actor who has appeared in another series of Cuckoo but only made 1 appearance in this series)
Character Actor Series
Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5
Dale Ashbrick, Sr. / Cuckoo Andy Samberg Main N/A
Ken Thompson Greg Davies Main
Lorna Thompson Helen Baxendale Main
Dylan Thompson Tyger Drew-Honey Main
Rachel Thompson Tamla Kari Main N/A
Esther Smith N/A Main
Steve Chance Kenneth Collard Recurring Main
Connie Chance Selina Griffiths Recurring N/A Guest N/A
Zoe Chance Holly Earl Recurring N/A
Tony Philip Jackson Recurring N/A
Nina Juliet Cowan Guest Recurring Guest Recurring
Dale Ashbrick, Jr. Taylor Lautner N/A Main N/A
Ben Matt Lacey N/A Main N/A Main
Jane Jacqueline Botswain N/A Guest Recurring N/A
Pepe Sevan Stephan N/A Recurring N/A
Charles David Calder N/A Recurring N/A
Sidney ‘Sid’ Thompson Unknown N/A Recurring N/A
Emilie & Maisie Davidson N/A Guest N/A
Scott & Zach Durnford N/A Recurring N/A
Adriano Broccu N/A Recurring
Jess Emma Pierson N/A Recurring N/A
Ling Alice Hewkin N/A Recurring N/A
Mr. Xi Logan Wong N/A Recurring N/A
Adrian Peter Landi N/A Guest Recurring N/A
Noel Colin Hoult N/A Recurring N/A
Ivy Mittelfart Andie MacDowell N/A Main
Tash Lily Frazer N/A Main


  • Only named characters appear in the table above.
  • Only characters that have appeared in more than two episodes in a single series appear in the table above.

Series overview[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1625 September 2012 (2012-09-25)30 October 2012 (2012-10-30)
267 August 2014 (2014-08-07)11 September 2014 (2014-09-11)
Christmas Special24 December 2014 (2014-12-24)
3716 February 2016 (2016-02-16)28 March 2016 (2016-03-28)
SeriesEpisodesOriginally released
462 August 2018 (2018-08-02)
574 January 2019 (2019-01-04)


Series 1[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
UK viewers
11"The Homecoming"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke25 September 2012 (2012-09-25)TBAN/A
22"Family Meeting"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke2 October 2012 (2012-10-02)TBAN/A
33"Ken on E"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke9 October 2012 (2012-10-09)TBAN/A
44"Grandfather's Cat"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke16 October 2012 (2012-10-16)TBAN/A
55"Connie Sings"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke23 October 2012 (2012-10-23)TBAN/A
66"The Wedding"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke30 October 2012 (2012-10-30)TBAN/A

Series 2[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
UK viewers
71"A New Beginning"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke7 August 2014 (2014-08-07)TBAN/A
82"Potato Party"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke14 August 2014 (2014-08-14)TBAN/A
93"Tribunal"Ben TaylorBen Edwards, Robin French & Kieron Quirke21 August 2014 (2014-08-21)TBAN/A
104"Funeral"Ben TaylorJon Foster & James Lamont28 August 2014 (2014-08-28)TBAN/A
115"Ken at Work"Ben TaylorJon Foster, James Lamont, Robin French & Kieron Quirke4 September 2014 (2014-09-04)TBAN/A
126"Neighbourhood Watch"Ben TaylorBen Edwards11 September 2014 (2014-09-11)TBAN/A

Christmas Special[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
UK viewers
131"Christmas Special"Ben TaylorRobin French & Kieron Quirke24 December 2014 (2014-12-24)TBAN/A

Series 3[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
UK viewers
141"Birth"Paul MurphyRobin French & Kieron Quirke16 February 2016 (2016-02-16)TBAN/A
152"The Application"Paul MurphyRobin French & Kieron Quirke22 February 2016 (2016-02-22)TBAN/A
163"Mums Group"Paul MurphyRobin French & Kieron Quirke29 February 2016 (2016-02-29)TBAN/A
174"Life of Dale"Paul MurphyBen Edwards7 March 2016 (2016-03-07)TBAN/A
185"University Challenged"Paul MurphyBen Edwards14 March 2016 (2016-03-14)TBAN/A
196"Sid's Big Day"Paul MurphyJon Foster, James Lamont, Robin French & Kieron Quirke21 March 2016 (2016-03-21)TBAN/A
207"The Holiday"Paul MurphyRobin French & Kieron Quirke28 March 2016 (2016-03-28)TBAN/A

Series 4[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
UK viewers
211"Lawyer of the Year"Paul MurphyRobin French & Kieron Quirke2 August 2018 (2018-08-02)TBAN/A
222"The Licence"Paul MurphyPaul Doolan2 August 2018 (2018-08-02)TBAN/A
233"Ken's New Friend"Paul MurphyRobin French & Kieron Quirke2 August 2018 (2018-08-02)TBAN/A
244"Trapped"Paul MurphyRobin French, Kieron Quirke, Paul McKenna, Jon Foster & James Lamont2 August 2018 (2018-08-02)TBAN/A
255"Walkabout"Paul MurphyJames Lamont & Jon Foster2 August 2018 (2018-08-02)TBAN/A
266"Opening Night"Paul MurphyJoe Parham & Paul Doolan2 August 2018 (2018-08-02)TBAN/A

Netflix premiered series 1 and 2 for streaming audiences on 7 March 2016. Series 3 was subsequently added on 16 February 2017.[6] Series 4 was subsequently added on 14 December 2018.

Series 5[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
UK viewers
271"Ivy Arrives"Ben GregorRobin French & Kieron Quirke4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)TBAN/A
282"Ivy Nanny"Ben GregorRobin French & Kieron Quirke4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)TBAN/A
293"Weed Farm"Ben GregorRobin French & Kieron Quirke4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)TBAN/A
304"Macbeth"Ben GregorRobin French & Kieron Quirke4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)TBAN/A
315"Divorce Party"Ben GregorRobin French, Kieron Quirke, Jon Foster & James Lamont4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)TBAN/A
326"Two Engagements and a Funeral"Ben GregorRobin French & Kieron Quirke4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)TBAN/A
337"Election"Ben GregorRobin French & Kieron Quirke4 January 2019 (2019-01-04)TBAN/A

DVD release[edit]

Region 2
Title Release Date
Series 1 1 September 2014
Series 2 4 January 2016
Series 3 20 June 2016
Complete Series 1 to 3 31 October 2016
Series 4 11 March 2019
Series 5 TBA


Series 1

In the episode "Family Meeting", family and friends are dancing to "Second Hand News" by Fleetwood Mac.

In the episode "Ken on E" in which Cuckoo sits reading a book whilst listening to "Shake Break Bounce" by The Chemical Brothers. In the same episode, various songs by Dexys Midnight Runners are featured. Also "Bonkers" by Dizzee Rascal.

The song playing over the last scene and credits of the episode "The Wedding", is "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers. On Netflix it is "Stay Right Here" by Andy Huckvale.

Series 2

In the episode "Potato Party", "Everyone Nose (All the Girls Standing in the Line for the Bathroom)" by N.E.R.D and "Mishto" by Gogol Bordello are featured during the party.

Rachel is listening to "Silver Lining" by First Aid Kit in the episode "Tribunal".

Series 3

The final episode, "The Holiday", ends with Rusted Root singing "Send Me on My Way". On Netflix this song is replaced due to BBC licensing agreements.

Series 4

In "Lawyer of the Year", Think I'm in Love by Eddie Money play's during the opening dance number.

In "Opening Night", "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds plays in All Steve's Pals while Lorna tells Dale about Rachel's plans to move to Sierra Leone. The final scene has Modern Love by David Bowie playing. Dale mixes cocktails to WOR by Django Django.

In "Trapped", a section from The Number One Song in Heaven by Sparks when Dale reveals to Rachel that he found out about her “pregnancy”.

Lorna and Connie listen to Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill after Lorna tells Connie that Ken cheated on her with an air hostess.

U.S. version[edit]

In May 2015, NBC announced a US pilot of Cuckoo, starring Michael Chiklis, Cheryl Hines and Flula Borg, was to be produced.[3] UK writers Robin French and Kieron Quirke, who created the BBC series, wrote the adaptation with The Simpsons veteran Tim Long. As of the 2017 autumn season, it does not appear that the project has been picked up as a series.


  1. ^ "Cuckoo to return for two new series". Chortle. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  2. ^ Lautner, Taylor (19 March 2018). "That's a wrap! I'll miss you my London fam. Love you all ❤️ #cuckoo". Instagram. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia (20 March 2015). "Michael Chiklis, Cheryl Hines Join NBC Comedy Pilot 'Cuckoo'". Variety. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  4. ^ Harris, Gerard (16 February 2016). "Cuckoo Series 3 air date, cast and series details confirmed". Tuppence. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  5. ^ Munn, Patrick (25 July 2018). "BBC Three Sets Premiere Date For 'Cuckoo' Season 4". TVWise. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  6. ^ Travers, Ben (1 March 2016). "7 New Netflix Shows to Binge Watch in March 2016 (And the Best Episodes of Each)". IndieWire. Retrieved 7 March 2016.

External links[edit]