Taking the Flak
|Taking the Flak|
|Created by||Tira Shubart
|Directed by||Jon Rolph
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||7|
|Location(s)||Arusha, Tanzania & Nakuru, Kenya|
|Running time||1 x 60 minutes, 6 x 30 minutes|
|Original network||BBC Two|
|Original release||8 July – 19 August 2009|
Taking the Flak is a comedy drama which aired on BBC Two in summer 2009. It is set in a fictional Central African country that is the middle of a civil war. A team of BBC journalists arrive from London, to the annoyance of the local BBC stringer Harry Chambers (Bruce Mackinnon), and send reports back to BBC News in London. The series has been described as "a bit like Drop the Dead Donkey meets The Constant Gardener".
The series is written by Tira Shubart and Jon Rolph. The script consultant is Sandra Jones. It stars Martin Jarvis, Doon Mackichan, Bruce Mackinnon, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Damian O'Hare, Joanna Brookes, Lydiah Gitachu, Lucy Chalkley and Harry Lloyd.
The theme music is a remix of David Lowe's BBC News Theme.
Taking the Flak is set in the fictional Central African Republic of Karibu, which is in the middle of a war. The local BBC news reporter, or 'stringer', Harry Chambers, sees the war as chance to make a name for himself as he is the only journalist in the country. However, as the war becomes more important, the BBC sends in more journalists to cover it, knocking Harry out of the spotlight. These include David Bradburn (Martin Jarvis), the BBC's Chief Foreign Editor, who knows very little about the area, but he still appears on screen as authoritative.
Also part of the BBC team is Jane Thomason (Doon Mackichan), the news producer has to control the reporting on the ground. She has to deal with the staff back in London, originally led by Nigel Bagwell (Mackenzie Crook) in the first episode, but in the rest of the series is led by the young Alexander Taylor-Pierce (Harry Lloyd). She also has problems with her main cameraman Jack (Lloyd Owen), whom she is having an affair with. After the first episode, Jack leaves Jane to go back home to his wife to help with her IVF treatment. In the third episode, she gets a new cameraman, Rory Wallace (Damian O'Hare), who can film almost anything under any circumstances. Another member of the BBC team is Margaret Hollis, who is seen by the rest of the TV crew as a rival because she works for radio, as a reporter for the BBC World Service. Unlike the others, she has not had any affairs. Part of the problem is due to medical issues, including stomach and bowel problems.
There are also civilians who are also involved with the reporting. These include Joyful Sifuri (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith), the local fixer who worked with Harry before the war and now helps the entire BBC crew with his local knowledge; Grace Matiko (Lydiah Gitachu) the receptionist at the hotel where the crew are staying and Harry's on-off girlfriend; and Samantha Cunningham Fleming (Lucy Chalkley) a posh charity worker who sometimes helps in finding stories but whom everyone else finds annyoing.
Taking The Flak was filmed around Arusha, Tanzania, in the autumn of 2008 although episode one (the pilot) was filmed in January 2007 in Nakuru, Kenya, with a working title of The Calais Rules. Two of the writers, Shubart and Jones, are journalists, and the series was filmed by an award-winning news cameraman. The show also features guest appearances from BBC journalists such as George Alagiah, Sophie Raworth, Fiona Bruce, Bill Turnbull, Sian Williams, Emily Maitlis and Peter Sissons.
Supporting artists were both Kenyan and Tanzanian. Others were people employed from the local communities around the areas of filming.
- "Taking the Flak". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Dowell, Ben (30 December 2007). "Simpson's wars get the comic treatment". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
- "ABC2 Programming Airdate: Taking The Flak". ABC Television Publicity. 23 September 2010.
- Shubart, Tira. "Comedy". Tria Shubart. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
- "News - Details on the new BBC2 sitcoms for 2008". British Comedy Guide. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
- "BBC Two Winter/Spring 2008: Programmes T-W". BBC Press Office. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2007-12-22.