BABY COW OPTIONS SCREEN RIGHTS TO GILL HORNBY’S NEW NOVEL MISS AUSTEN

MISS AUSTEN, the critically acclaimed new novel from Gill Hornby (The Hive) has been optioned for TV by Baby Cow Productions.

Already named as one of the best novels of 2020 by The Times, Financial Times and BBC Online, MISS AUSTEN will be published by Penguin on January 23rd, and by Flatiron in the United States in April 2020.

MISS AUSTEN is a wonderfully original and emotionally complex novel about the lives and loves of sisters Cassandra and Jane Austen, inspired by Cassandra's infamous burning of Jane’s letters, a mystery that has long puzzled biographers and academics.

Baby Cow Chief Executive, Christine Langan said: ‘Gill has brought such wit, ingenuity and heartbreaking tenderness to this literary mystery, turning it into a terrifically compelling and relevant novel. Not only does she effortlessly capture Austen’s unique and irresistible tone but, in Cassandra, she may have delivered us the ultimate Austen heroine. Baby Cow is thrilled to be entrusted with bringing this gem to our screens and to a whole new audience’.

Gill Hornby said: ‘I am delighted that Miss Austen is going to the brilliant team at Baby Cow, and excited to work with them as Cassandra moves from the page to the screen’.

‘Miss Austen is a novel of great kindness, often unexpectedly moving, with much to say about the status of “invisible” older women’. – The Observer

Gill Hornby is represented by Caroline Wood at Felicity Bryan Associates.

ABOUT GILL HORNBY

Gill Hornby is the author of the novels The Hive and All Together Now, as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives in Kintbury, Berkshire, with her husband and their four children.

ABOUT BABY COW PRODUCTIONS

Baby Cow develops and produces bold, high-quality scripted entertainment across all genres including comedy and drama and across all mediums including television, film and radio.

Established in 1999, the company has delivered its signature brand of comedy to audiences worldwide for over twenty years with iconic characters and beloved series including Alan Partridge, The Mighty Boosh, Red Dwarf, Nighty Night, Gavin & Stacey, Camping and The Trip. Baby Cow is currently in production with The Witchfinder starring Tim Key and This Country co-creator Daisy May Cooper. Baby Cow’s feature film output includes Alpha Papa, Philomena and Stan & Ollie.


SARAH SOLEMANI AND STEVE COOGAN BRING CHIVALRY TO CHANNEL 4

Channel 4 has commissioned Chivalry, a timely 6x30’ comedy drama from Baby Cow Productions. Written by and starring Sarah Solemani (Him and Her, Barry) and Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge, Philomena) Chivalry skewers and satirises the complex state of contemporary sexual politics, while asking if romance can survive in the post #MeToo era.

An unlikely couple are put together by a cynical studio exec to salvage a failing movie. Bobby (played by Sarah Solemani), is a woke writer/director and mother of one, with a precarious relationship and a dodgy visa. She has industry heat after her successful, low-budget indie debut and is promised studio funding for her feminist Biblical biopic if she can rescue this sexually controversial thriller first.

Cameron (Steve Coogan), is a successful film producer and ‘ladies man’, who has just been dumped by yet another twenty-something girlfriend (via WhatsApp). He knows he must detoxify his sexist movie or face ruin, and thus, an unlikely partnership is forged.

As Bobby and Cameron work through their gender tensions, a creeping attraction and the nagging feeling that they are just pawns in the studio's agenda for a Saudi buyout, reshooting a toxic sex scene becomes the tip of the iceberg.

How fluid are our politics and how political are our fluids? And can romance blossom - not in spite of #MeToo, but because of it?

Sarah Solemani said: “Chivalry was born through a series of fiery debates with my comedy hero and renowned feminist, Steve Coogan. I am thrilled to be working with him, Christine Langan and Channel 4 commissioner, Caroline Hollick, on bringing this timely story to the screen.”

Steve Coogan said: “I am delighted to be working with the very funny, clever Sarah Solemani in the landscape of what in less enlightened times was called ‘the battle of the sexes’. Chivalry is more of a painfully honest, funny fencing match. We will attack, riposte, lunge, parry and counter-parry and perhaps, when the bout is over, take off our masks revealing our true selves.”

Ian Katz, Director of Programmes, Channel 4, said: “It would be hard to think of a better double-act to explore the charged territory of gender politics in a post Me Too world than Solemani and Coogan. Their script is timely, human and laugh out loud funny.”

Caroline Hollick, Channel 4 Head of Drama said: “I’m so pleased to be able to bring the combined creative brilliance of Sarah Solemani and Steve Coogan to Channel 4. In this era of #MeToo and complex gender politics, Chivalry feels the perfect way to explore this pertinent issue with a sense of fun, a razor-sharp wit and with romance at its heart.“

Christine Langan CEO and Executive Producer, Baby Cow Productions: “With irresistible chemistry, Sarah and Steve have delivered a truly refreshing take on contemporary sexual politics with a liberating, modern spin on romance. Baby Cow is thrilled to be working with Channel 4 drama, whose bold appetite for good humoured debate made it the natural home for Chivalry.”

Chivalry has been commissioned by Channel 4 Head of Drama Caroline Hollick and is a Baby Cow Production.

ABOUT BABY COW PRODUCTIONS

Baby Cow develops and produces bold, high-quality scripted entertainment across all genres including comedy and drama and across all mediums including television, film and radio.

Established in 1999, the company has delivered its signature brand of comedy to audiences worldwide for over twenty years with iconic characters and beloved series including Alan Partridge, The Mighty Boosh, Red Dwarf, Nighty Night, Gavin & Stacey, Camping and The Trip. Baby Cow is currently in production with The Witchfinder starring Tim Key and This Country co-creator Daisy May Cooper. Baby Cow’s feature film output includes Alpha Papa, Philomena and Stan & Ollie.


THE WITCHFINDER

THE WITCHFINDER COMING TO BBC TWO

The Witchfinder is an original new comedy for BBC Two following a witchfinder and his suspect on a road-free road trip through an England gripped by civil war, famine and plague.
It’s the year of our Lord 1647 and fear of witchcraft is rife. Puritanical Christianity, deep-seated superstition and a willingness to scapegoat outsiders have created a tinderbox of suspicion in which few are safe. In this environment, witchfinding has flourished, as self-appointed witch experts achieve hero status by investigating accusations of witchery and extracting confessions.

A failing witchfinder (Tim Key) transports a suspected witch (Daisy May Cooper) across 1640s East Anglia to a trial that could change his fortunes forever. But his captive is the worst possible travel companion: an inquisitive, uncouth woman whose ability to prick his pomposity and ask uncomfortable questions turns a straightforward journey into a life-changing ordeal.

The Witchfinder is created by Neil and Rob Gibbons, the writers and directors of This Time with Alan Partridge.

Daisy May Cooper says: “I cannot wait to be starring in The Witchfinder with the absolutely brilliant Tim Key. I've always wanted to be a witch, my mother says I've got the nose and chin hair for it. I dabbled a bit in witchcraft when I was in my teens and ended up accidentally inviting an incubus into my house. He was an absolute prick.”

Tim Key says: “I’m delighted to be working with the mercurially talented Gibbons brothers again, particularly on something set in 17th century England - which they seem to have a fairly loose grasp of - and am excited to do a road trip but on horses (I can’t ride a horse). I love the idea of Daisy May Cooper being a pissed-off witch anyway so the fact that I’m playing her antagonist is the icing on the cake. Can’t wait to saddle up.”

Kate Daughton, Head of Comedy Commissioning says: “In The Witchfinder, the Gibbons brothers have managed to create a timelessly compelling odd couple, forced together on a journey through one of the most baffling moments of English history. Tim Key and Daisy May Cooper are two of the UK’s funniest people and I can’t wait to see them tackle gender politics, male privilege and bees … on horseback.”

Christine Langan, CEO of Baby Cow Productions says: “Baby Cow is thrilled to be bringing the Gibbons brothers hysterical-heretical-historical epic The Witchfinder to BBC Two. Rob and Neil have put a truly modern twist on this macabre moment in time, as Daisy May Cooper’s ‘modern-day’ everywoman gets dragged to trial by Tim Key’s inept, chauvinist, careerist witchfinder. In Daisy and Tim we have one of the best double-acts in British comedy and we can’t wait for you to see them fight their way across East Anglia.”

Written and directed by Neil and Rob Gibbons (This Time with Alan Partridge, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Mid Morning Matters, Veep). The producer is Dave Lambert and the executive producers are Christine Langan and Steve Coogan. The Witchfinder is a Baby Cow production for BBC Two.

The 6x30’ series was ordered for BBC Two by channel controller Patrick Holland and Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning. Kate Daughton, Head of Comedy Commissioning will be editor on the series.
Full casting and broadcast information will be announced in due course.

Tim Key
Tim Key is an actor, writer, and performance poet. He has won the Edinburgh Comedy Award, and been nominated three times for the Barry and once for the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality. On screen he plays Sidekick Simon in the Alan Partridge franchise and has appeared in The Double, Inside Number 9 and Peep Show. More recently he has been seen in Pls Like, Greed and The End of the F***ing World. Tim’s radio show ‘Tim Key's Late Night Poetry Programme’ has run for years on BBC Radio 4, with a fifth series recording this Autumn. Tim also starred in Art at The Old Vic and continues to write and perform his own five star live shows. Most recently he made the critically acclaimed Megadate which he performed at The Old Vic before adapting it into a BAFTA-nominated BBC One comedy short, with the subtly different title: Wonderdate.

Daisy May Cooper
Daisy May Cooper was born and brought up in Cirencester in the Cotswolds. She went on to attend RADA, studying for a BA in acting. Whilst there her brother Charlie moved to London to stay with her. With very little money and missing home, the pair began to talk about the characters they had grown up with back in the Cotswolds. From this the character of Kerry was born and before long they found themselves writing a script. That early writing became the hit BBC Three sitcom This Country starring the siblings. An under-the-radar gem, This Country gradually built up a dedicated following and has since racked up numerous awards including the BAFTA for Female performance in a Comedy Programme for Daisy May last year.
Daisy May has recently starred in Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield and written and performed in his upcoming HBO series Avenue 5


This Time with Alan Partridge

PARTRIDGE HAS A SECOND SHOT

Filming has begun today on This Time With Alan Partridge, the new Partridge project coming to BBC One later this year, a quarter of a century after his BBC debut.

The show will see Alan (Steve Coogan) handed a career lifeline - the chance to stand in (temporarily) as co-host on This Time, an evening weekday magazine show.

His first return to live television since his 90s chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You was cancelled after a guest was fatally shot on air, This Time is the perfect shop window for a man of Alan’s gravitas and will, or should, see him finally recognised as one of the heavyweight broadcasters of his era.

The show itself is a heady mix of consumer affairs, current affairs, viewer interaction, highbrow interview and lightweight froth; very much the sweet spots for a man whose CV boasts over two decades of weekday local radio. And with an array of diverse subjects on the agenda, it promises the perfect fit for a man whose broadcasting style has been described as ‘equidistant between chitchat and analysis.’

Joining Steve Coogan on the sofa will be Susannah Fielding as his female co-presenter Jennie Gresham, and Tim Key as Simon ‘formerly Sidekick Simon’ Denton. Full casting will be announced in due course.

Written by Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Steve Coogan. Directed by Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons. The producer is Ted Dowd and the executive producers are Christine Langan and Steve Coogan. A Baby Cow production for BBC.

The series was ordered for BBC One by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning. The Commissioner for the BBC is Kate Daughton.

The 6x30' series will be shown on BBC One later this year.