W1A (TV series)

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W1A
Alt=Series title over a blank TV screen
Genre Comedy
Written by John Morton
Directed by John Morton
Starring See below
Narrated by David Tennant
Theme music composer Laurie Johnson
Opening theme Las Vegas (from Animal Magic)
Composer(s) Andrew Blaney
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 8 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Jon Plowman
Producer(s) Paul Schlesinger
Location(s)
Cinematography John Sorapure
Running time 30 minutes
60 minute special (specials)
Production company(s) BBC
Release
Original channel
Original release 19 March 2014 (2014-03-19) – present
Chronology
Preceded by Twenty Twelve
External links
BBC website

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.[1][2] Its name comes from the postcode prefix of the BBC's headquarters, Broadcasting House (W1A 1AA),[3] and sees the reprisal 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 the 19 March, concluding on the 9 April 2014. A second series was announced later in 2014 which launched on 23 April 2015 with a one-hour special. On 14 May 2015 RadioTimes.com quoted series writer John Morton as having "high hopes of another series" to perhaps air in Spring 2016, despite no formal commission having yet been made. According to Morton, the likely focus of that series would be the renewal of the BBC charter.

Plot[edit]

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.[4] 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.

Cast[edit]

Character Actor Position Series
One Two
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, Senior Executive - Primetime Factuality Supporting Main
Anna Rampton Sarah Parish Head of Output, Director of Better Main
Lucy Freeman Nina Sosanya Producer, Head of Inclusivity Main
Simon Harwood Jason Watkins Director of Strategic Governance Main
Will Humphries Hugh Skinner Intern, PA to Ian Fletcher Main
Neil Reid David Westhead Controller of News and Current Affairs Supporting Main
Jack Patterson Jonathan Bailey PA to Anna Rampton Supporting Main
Izzy Gould Ophelia Lovibond PA to Simon Harwood, Development Producer 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 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

Bonnevile 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.

Main cast of W1A (series two)
Cameo/guest appearances

Production[edit]

W1A was commissioned by Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, and Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning.[4] Filming began in January 2014.[4][6][7][8] W1A was written and directed by John Morton, who previously worked on Twenty Twelve and People Like Us.[4] The Producer is Paul Schlesinger and the Executive Producer is Jon Plowman.[4][9] A second series was commissioned in September 2014, with Bonneville's return also confirmed.[10]

Episodes[edit]

Series One[edit]

# Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
(millions)[11]
1 "Episode 1" John Morton John Morton 19 March 2014 (2014-03-19) 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, Alan Yentob, Salman Rushdie
2 "Episode 2" John Morton John Morton 26 March 2014 (2014-03-26) 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 (2014-04-02) 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 (2014-04-09) 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.

Series Two[edit]

On 15 September 2014, it was announced that W1A would return for a second series in 2015.[12][13][14] This began with a 60-minute special on 23 April, followed by three 30 minute episodes.

# Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
(millions)[11]
5 "Episode 1" John Morton John Morton 23 April 2015 (2015-04-23) TBA
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 (2015-04-30) TBA
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 (2015-05-07) TBA

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 (2015-05-14) TBA

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (5 December 2013). "Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes to reunite for Twenty Twelve sequel W1A". Metro (DMG Media). Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Sherwin, Adam (5 December 2013). "Twenty Twelve team returns to satirise life inside BBC Broadcasting House". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Plunkett, John (5 December 2013). "BBC's Twenty Twelve sequel to focus on the corporation itself". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Archived from the original on 2013-12-06. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "BBC Two commissions W1A - the follow-up to multi-BAFTA-winning Twenty Twelve". BBC (BBC Online). 5 December 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-03-24. 
  5. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/news/a628664/newsnights-evan-davis-to-cameo-on-bbc-comedy-w1a.html#~p4afnCyfhPctUr
  6. ^ Perry, Keith (17 January 2014). "Filming begins on new comedy W1A which satirises BBC bigwigs". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2014-01-24. 
  7. ^ Smith, Patrick (5 December 2013). "Hugh Bonneville's Twenty Twelve character to return as the BBC's 'Head of Values'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2014-01-11. 
  8. ^ Lazarus, Susanna (5 December 2013). "Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes return for Twenty Twelve follow-up set in the BBC". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 2013-12-11. 
  9. ^ Creamer, Jon (4 March 2014). "Cast announced for Twenty Twelve follow up". Televisual. Archived from the original on 2014-03-24. 
  10. ^ "BBC News - Hugh Bonneville returning for W1A comedy". BBC News Online. 2014-09-15. Retrieved 2014-09-15. 
  11. ^ a b "BARB Top 30s". 
  12. ^ http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/bbc-two-comedy-w1a-return-4263787
  13. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-29204284
  14. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/w1a-renewed-for-second-series-on-bbc-9733889.html

External links[edit]