W1A (TV series)
|Written by||John Morton|
|Directed by||John Morton|
|Narrated by||David Tennant|
|Theme music composer||Laurie Johnson|
|Opening theme||Las Vegas (from Animal Magic)|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||15 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jon Plowman|
|Running time||30 minutes |
60 minutes (specials)
|Original release||19 March 2014 –|
23 October 2017
|Preceded by||Twenty Twelve|
W1A is a British comedy television series that was first broadcast on BBC Two on 19 March 2014, created by John Morton. The series is the follow-up to Twenty Twelve, a BAFTA-winning comedy series by the BBC about the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. It sees the reintroduction of Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes as their Twenty Twelve characters, alongside a new cast, with David Tennant's role as narrator also continuing from the earlier series.
The first series began on 19 March 2014, concluding on 9 April. A second series was announced later in 2014 which launched on 23 April 2015 with a one-hour special. In August 2016, Radio Times announced that W1A had been recommissioned for a third and final series, which began airing on 18 September 2017.
The series revolves around Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville), formerly the Head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, who has been chosen to be the Head of Values at the BBC. His task is to clarify, define, or re-define the core purpose of the BBC across all its functions and to position it confidently for the future. The series deals with the everyday events at the corporation, and how the team deal with these. Such events include the arrival of Prince Charles, problems surrounding a new programme entitled Britain's Tastiest Village, as well as media scrutiny of Ian Fletcher's salary, the decision to cut the BBC Big Swing Band (which turns out to be beloved by all) and a cross-dressing ex-Premier League football player who wants to be a television pundit but is terrible at it.
|Ian Fletcher||Hugh Bonneville||Head of Values||Main|
|Tracey Pritchard||Monica Dolan||Senior Communications Officer||Main|
|Siobhan Sharpe||Jessica Hynes||BBC Brand Consultant, Head of Perfect Curve||Main|
|David Wilkes||Rufus Jones||Entertainment Format Producer (S1–2); Senior Executive – Primetime Factuality (S2); Commissioning Editor – Primetime Factuality (S3);||Supporting||Main|
|Anna Rampton||Sarah Parish||Head of Output (S1–2); Director of Better (S2–3)||Main|
|Lucy Freeman||Nina Sosanya||Producer (S1–2); Head of Inclusivity (S2–3)||Main|
|Simon Harwood||Jason Watkins||Director of Strategic Governance||Main|
|Will Humphries||Hugh Skinner||Intern (S1–2); PA to Ian Fletcher (S2–3)||Main|
|Neil Reid||David Westhead||Controller of News and Current Affairs||Supporting||Main|
|Jack Patterson||Jonathan Bailey||PA to Anna Rampton & Exec in Betterness Development||Supporting||Main|
|Izzy Gould||Ophelia Lovibond||PA to Simon Harwood (S1–2); Development Producer (S2–3)||Supporting||Main|
|Jerry Guildencrantz||Ivan Gonzalez||Digital Strategist||Supporting|
|Ben Rosenstern||Max Olesker||Digital Strategist||Supporting|
|Matt Taverner||Daniel Ings||Head of Generic Comedy and Drama (S1–2); Head of Output (S2–3)||Supporting|
|Dan Sheppard||Tom Basden||Writer of Home Truths, a prospective BBC drama||Supporting|
|Barney Lumsden||Alex Beckett||"Ideation Architect" at Perfect Curve||Supporting|
|Coco Lomax||Sara Pascoe||"Trending Analyst" at Perfect Curve||Supporting|
|Karl Marx||Joel Fry||"Viral Concept Designer" at Perfect Curve||Supporting|
Bonneville reprises his role of Ian Fletcher from W1A's predecessor, Twenty Twelve, as does Hynes, who plays Siobhan Sharpe, the Head of Perfect Curve, a brand consultant agency. Also returning are Sharpe's team, consisting of Barney Lumsden, Coco Lomax and Karl Marx (Beckett, Pascoe and Fry, respectively), whilst the remainder of the cast were created by Morton as new characters.
- Cameo/guest appearances
- Alan Yentob (2014, 2015; 2 episodes)
- Carol Vorderman (2014; 2 episodes)
- Salman Rushdie (2014; 1 episode)
- Olivia Colman (2014; 1 episode)
- Matt Addis (2014; 1 episode)
- Jenni Murray (2014; 1 episode)
- Clare Balding (2014; 1 episode)
- Evan Davis (2015; 2 episodes)
- Samuel West (2015; 1 episode)
- Alex Jones (2015; 1 episode)
- Matt Baker (2015; 1 episode)
- Sarah Hadland (2015; 1 episode)
- Sophie Raworth (2015; 1 episode)
- Mary Beard (2015; 1 episode)
- Jeremy Paxman (2017; 1 episode)
- Gary Lineker (2017; 1 episode)
- Alan Shearer (2017; 1 episode)
- Lenny Henry (2017; 1 episode)
- Hugh Grant (2017; 1 episode)
- Rose Matafeo (2017; 1 episode)
- Claudia Winkleman (2017; 1 episode)
- Tony Hall (2017; 1 episode)
W1A was commissioned by Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC Two, and Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning. Filming began in January 2014. W1A was written and directed by John Morton, who previously worked on Twenty Twelve and People Like Us. The producer is Paul Schlesinger and the executive producer is Jon Plowman. A second series was commissioned in September 2014, with Bonneville's return also confirmed.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||4||19 March 2014||9 April 2014|
|2||4||23 April 2015||14 May 2015|
|3||6||18 September 2017||23 October 2017|
|Webisode||1||21 May 2020|
|#||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|1||"Episode 1"||John Morton||John Morton||19 March 2014||2.47|
Fletcher takes up his new job as Head of Values at the BBC just as accusations of anti-Cornish bias are levelled at the Corporation, compounded when a Spotlight Southwest presenter, Sally Wingate, goes public in support of the accusations. Producer Lucy Freeman chairs a meeting about forthcoming flagship show Britain's Tastiest Village and the loss of presenter Clare Balding and her replacement by Carol Vorderman.Featuring as themselves: Carol Vorderman, Clare Balding, Alan Yentob, Salman Rushdie
|2||"Episode 2"||John Morton||John Morton||26 March 2014||1.94|
Fletcher reluctantly takes the train North to BBC Media City, Salford, for his first big interview in the job by Jenni Murray on Radio 4's Woman's Hour where he hopes to defuse the media storm that has become known as Wingategate. Complications arise for the Britain's Tastiest Village production team, after having wooed and won Carol Vorderman as Clare Balding's replacement to co-present with Alan Titchmarsh. However, at the last minute Clare Balding is available and turns up at New Broadcasting House as Carol Vorderman is leaving and they have to be kept apart. In Salford Fletcher ignores advisors Sharpe and Pritchard with his own solution to both problems resulting in Alan Titchmarsh pulling out.Featuring as themselves: Carol Vorderman, Jenni Murray, Clare Balding
|3||"Episode 3"||John Morton||John Morton||2 April 2014||1.61|
|Anna Rampton advocates moving Songs of Praise to radio, thus freeing up a prime slot for her own series, Britain's Tastiest Village. The debate about the future of the BBC is not helped when Ian Fletcher's salary comes under intense scrutiny in the press. Neil Reid, current Controller of Current Affairs, is having to deal with the fallout from a blunder in BBC News coverage of the Syrian crisis when a photo of Trudie Styler was used instead of Asma al-Assad. Producer Lucy Freeman goes in to pitch Home Truth, a script she's been developing over several years with writer Dan Shepherd. Siobhan Sharpe and her team at Perfect Curve are asked to refresh the BBC logo and come to the conclusion that the problem with the current logo is that it has too many letters.|
|4||"Episode 4"||John Morton||John Morton||9 April 2014||1.64|
|A national paper has not only published details of Ian Fletcher's salary but followed up with a story of how he took Sally Owen, his PA at the Olympic Deliverance Commission, on holiday to Italy. So the BBC can either stand by their man or get him to pre-empt potential criticism by persuading him to cut his own salary. Meanwhile, a female Newsnight presenter has been accused of wearing clothes that are inappropriately watchable. When the name of the programme becomes known as Kneesnight and her legs get their own Twitter account there is a feeling something should be done about it. Flagship series Britain's Tastiest Village has lost all three of the big-name presenters who were attached to do the show – so the search continues. And brand consultant Siobhan Sharpe and her team unveil their barnstorming idea for a new BBC logo.|
|#||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|5||"Episode 1"||John Morton||John Morton||23 April 2015||1.95|
|The team prepare for a visit from Prince Charles while dealing with issues surrounding Jeremy Clarkson. Meanwhile, Siobhan comes up with ideas for a "brand mashup" between the BBC and Wimbledon, and Will's security pass has expired. David tries to come up with ideas to impress Lucy, while Lucy and a TV writer present a new show to the head of BBC Comedy.|
|6||"Episode 2"||John Morton||John Morton||30 April 2015||1.69|
|Anna Rampton, Head of Output, goes for the new role of Director of Better. There are rumours that Newsnight anchor Evan Davis is to be a contestant in the forthcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing – news that doesn't go down well with Head of News and Current Affairs Neil Reid. It is made worse when it transpires that BBC brand consultant Siobhan Sharpe is behind this latest move for Evan. Meanwhile, ex-intern Will Humphries makes life more difficult for Izzy when he accidentally syncs her computer with his.|
|7||"Episode 3"||John Morton||John Morton||7 May 2015||1.32|
Anna Rampton has been crowned Director of Better but no-one on the management team is quite clear what the job entails. Tracey Pritchard suggests an event in the BBC Radio Theatre, but Siobhan Sharpe has altogether different ideas – none of which involve the words radio or theatre. She encourages the team to think big and global. Elsewhere, David Wilkes continues his seemingly unstoppable rise through the organisation with some surprising job news, and the BBC software programme Syncopatishare (designed to make life easier) is proving difficult to master, especially for ex-intern Will.Simon Harwood comes up with a brand new management structure for the BBC, which is essentially the old one rotated 90 degrees – one which threatens to put the Director of Better bang in the centre of things and Ian Fletcher right at the margins. However Ian offers up an alternative and altogether more creative vision.
|8||"Episode 4"||John Morton||John Morton||14 May 2015||1.28|
In his new role as Senior Executive, Primetime Factuality, David Wilkes needs to flesh out the programme idea behind One Big Family, so he turns for inspiration to Izzy Gould in her new role as Development Producer. On the verge of leaving the BBC, Lucy has been persuaded to take on a new job as Head of Inclusivity. One of her first jobs is to head up discussion on the Way Ahead Task Force around inclusivity targets, with an imminent meeting of the Cross Parliamentary Inclusion Action Watch Dog Group at Westminster. Siobhan Sharpe's idea is to "viralise" Muslim BBC Weather presenter Sadiq Iqbal, who is less than thrilled with the idea of becoming a national icon.It's down to Head of Values Ian Fletcher to try and steer the BBC ship through increasingly choppy waters, while at the same time decide who he'd like to spend his free evening with, Lucy or Anna.
Series 3 began on 18 September 2017 on BBC Two.
|#||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|9||"Episode 1"||John Morton||John Morton||18 September 2017||1.83|
|10||"Episode 2"||John Morton||John Morton||25 September 2017||1.56|
|11||"Episode 3"||John Morton||John Morton||2 October 2017||1.82|
|12||"Episode 4"||John Morton||John Morton||9 October 2017||1.5|
|13||"Episode 5"||John Morton||John Morton||16 October 2017||1.39|
|14||"Episode 6"||John Morton||John Morton||23 October 2017||1.47|
After the transmission of Episode 1 on BBC Two Episode 2 was made available on BBC iPlayer on 18 September 2017. Likewise after the transmission of Episode 3 on 2 October 2017 Episode 4 was made available online. This was repeated for episodes 5 and 6.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, a number of specially created webisodes featuring the characters from W1A were produced. The first was released on 19 May, when Hugh Bonneville, in character as Ian Fletcher, introduced the BBC Concert Orchestra performing a new arrangement of Las Vegas, the series' theme tune. On 21 May, a second video was released, this time featuring Bonneville, Sarah Parrish, Jason Watkins, Monica Dolan and David Westhead at the first virtual meeting of the BBC's 'COVID-19 Bounce Back Group'.
|#||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|15||"Initial Lockdown Meeting"||John Morton||John Morton||21 May 2020|
|Ian Fletcher chairs the first virtual meeting of the BBC's COVID-19 Bounce Back Group to discuss the plans for what happens when the BBC runs out of repeats to repeat|
Awards and nominations
|2015||BAFTA TV Awards||Jessica Hynes||Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme||Won|||
|Hugh Bonneville||Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme||Nominated|
|RTS Craft & Design Awards||Robin Hill||Best Tape and Film Editing: Entertainment and Situation Comedy||Won|||
|Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards||John Morton||Best TV Situation Comedy||Nominated|||
|2016||BAFTA TV Awards||Hugh Bonneville||Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme||Nominated|||
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- "Ian Fletcher, the BBC's head of values, is back!". Chortle. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "BBC Concert Orchestra remake the W1A theme tune". comedy.co.uk. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "W1A makes a surprise return". Chortle. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
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