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Wednesday 10 July 2024

BBC Acquires 'Austin': A Fresh Australian Comedy Starring Ben Miller, Sally Phillips, and Michael Theo


Image: BBC Press

By Jon Donnis

The BBC has announced the acquisition of "Austin," a captivating new eight-part comedy series from Australia, starring an ensemble cast featuring Ben Miller, Sally Phillips, and Michael Theo. Slated for BBC iPlayer and TV channels, this series is poised to offer viewers a delightful blend of humor and heart.

"Austin" is produced by Northern Pictures and Lincoln Pictures and brings together a stellar lineup. Alongside Miller (known for "Professor T," "Bridgerton," and "Death in Paradise") and Phillips (famous for "Veep" and "Bridget Jones's Diary"), the series introduces Michael Theo, who makes his acting debut following his breakout role in the acclaimed docuseries "Love on the Spectrum." The cast also includes Gia Carides ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding," "Big Little Lies") and Roy Billing ("Jack Irish," "Underbelly").

The series is co-created by Darren Ashton ("Spreadsheet"), Ben Miller ("The Armstrong and Miller Show"), Lloyd Woolf and Joe Tucker ("Black Ops") with a writing team that includes comedy veterans Adam Zwar ("Squinters"), and Kala Ellis ("Spreadsheet").

"Austin" follows the tumultuous journey of Julian Hartswood (Miller), a beloved children's author who finds himself at the center of a social media controversy that threatens his career and that of his illustrator wife Ingrid (Phillips). In the midst of this crisis, Julian discovers he has a neurodivergent son, Austin (Theo), whom he never knew existed. As Austin enters Julian's life, the series explores whether embracing this unexpected family dynamic can help Julian reclaim his career and win back Ingrid's forgiveness.

Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, expressed her enthusiasm for the series, stating, "Irresistibly charming, humorous, and heart-warming, BBC viewers are sure to find 'Austin' a sheer delight from start to finish."

Catherine Nebauer, Head of Scripted at Northern Pictures, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the show's unique appeal: "BBC is the perfect platform for 'Austin,' and we have no doubts its viewers will appreciate the clever blend of British and Australian humour. With a stellar cast and production team, 'Austin' has already proven to be a hit on ABC with local audiences, and we can't wait to share it with the world."

The series, consisting of eight 30-minute episodes, is directed by Darren Ashton and Madeleine Dyer ("Colin From Accounts"). Executive producers include Catherine Nebauer, Darren Ashton, Ben Miller, Sally Phillips, Jessica Parker, Lloyd Woolf, Joe Tucker, and Peter Anderson, with Joe Weatherstone serving as the producer. The production is supported by Screen Australia, Screen Canberra, and ITV Studios, which also handles its distribution.

"Austin" promises to be a fresh and endearing addition to the BBC's comedy lineup, offering a compelling narrative brought to life by an exceptional cast and creative team. Viewers can look forward to a show that combines sharp wit with touching moments, reflecting the best of contemporary comedic storytelling.

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