The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff

8:30pm Monday 19 December on BBC TWO

The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff Christmas Special is the first of a new four part comedy adventure set in the Dickensian world of Jedrington Secret-Past played by Robert Webb.

Jedrington is a fine, upstanding family man and the owner of The Old Shop of Stuff, Victorian London’s most successful purveyor of miscellaneous odd things.

The Christmas Special sees Jedrington and his wife Conceptiva (The IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson) on Christmas Eve. The busy yuletide joy of Jedrington and his family is shattered when Malifax Skulkingworm (Stephen Fry), a lawyer with a flinty heart and an evil hat incarcerates Jedrington’s shop, wife and children in London’s most notorious debtors’ prison, The Skint. What is behind Skulkingworm’s sinister plan? Will Jedrington rescue his family in time for Christmas? And is there more to the name of Secret-Past than meets the eye? All will be revealed in a tale of hidden wills, brave urchins, giant clocks, misery, joy and treacle.

David Mitchell (That Mitchell & Webb Look), Celia Imrie (Nanny McPhee), Pauline McLynn (Father Ted), Una Stubbs (Til Death Us Do Part) and Johnny Vegas (Ideal) also appear in this Victorian comedy adventure written by Mark Evans who penned the cult Radio 4 Dickensian comedy Bleak Expectations.

On the Red Button, viewers can enjoy even more comedy content from The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff which reveals how the programme is part of a unique experiment. It is the first television programme in over 117 years to be made using traditional Victorian television making techniques. Red Button viewers will see how the relatively fearless cast and crew coped with steam cameras, on-set urchins and the occasional cholera outbreak behind the scenes.

Ep 1/4

BBC Two announces that production is underway on The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff, a new four-part comedy adventure set in the Dickensian world of Jedrington Secret-Past, the up-standing family man and owner of The Old Shop of Stuff, Victorian London’s most successful purveyor of miscellaneous odd things.

The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff is a BBC In-House production comprising a one-hour Christmas Special followed by three 30-minute episodes to air early next year. It is produced by Gareth Edwards (That Mitchell And Webb Look) and written by Mark Evans, who penned Radio 4 comedy Bleak Expectations, a Victorian adventure about a different set of Dickensian characters.

The series has an impressive ensemble cast led by Robert Webb (That Mitchell And Webb Look) in the role of Jedrington and Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd) who plays his wife Conceptiva.

The Christmas special will feature Stephen Fry as the evil lawyer Malifax Skulkingworm alongside David Mitchell (That Mitchell And Webb Look), Celia Imrie (Nanny McPhee), Pauline McLynn (Father Ted) and Johnny Vegas (Ideal). The episode sees Jedrington’s family incarcerated by Skulkingworm in London’s infamous prison The Skint, until they can repay a mysterious and vast debt. Will Jedrington rescue his family in time for Christmas or lose them forever? And is there more to the name Secret-Past than meets the eye?

The rest of the series will feature Tim McInnerny (Blackadder), Kevin Eldon (Nighty Night), Sarah Hadland (Miranda) and Derek Griffiths (West End’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and sees Jedrington team up with a seemingly charming new business partner Harmswell Grimstone (McInnerny). As the Secret-Past family’s fortunes rise, it looks like they are built on crumbling foundations indeed, especially when it is revealed that Conceptiva too has a secret that turns out to be even darker than Jedrington’s own.

Mark Freeland, Head of In-House Comedy, says: “Mark Evans’s already well-loved Victorian comic world is a wonderful way to celebrate the bicentenary of Dickens’ birth. He probably wouldn’t have agreed, but I am very excited.”

Robert Webb adds: “I’m really looking forward to working with my all-time hero David Mitchell. Apparently Stephen Fry is in it too, which is nice.”

The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff has been commissioned by Cheryl Taylor, Controller of Comedy Commissioning and directed by Ben Gosling Fuller (Ideal).

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