UK’s Sky Atlantic HD has greenlighted Mr. Sloane, a six-episode comedy series created by writer/director Robert B. Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) starring popular British comedy actor Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) in the title role. Additionally, Sky 1 has greenlighted new comedy series Yonderland and has renewed Moone Boy for a third season as Sky is ramping up original British programming as part of the company’s commitment to increase its investment in original British content cross its channels by 50% over the next three years.
Described as a bittersweet romantic comedy set in the 1960s, Mr Sloane centers on the title character (Frost), a buttoned-down 1960’s man in crisis. Between his failed attempts at marriage, career success and even suicide, 1969 isn’t shaping up to be Mr Sloane’s year but a potential job opportunity and the phone number of a prospective new love interest following a chance encounter could change his luck. “I had no specific agenda to create a show for Nick, but out of the blue, an idea came to me that was entirely character-driven, and I immediately saw Nick as that character,” Weide said. He will write and direct all six episodes of the series, a co-production between his Whyaduck Prods. and UK production company Big Talk Prods., with Aschlin Ditta (The Catherine Tate Show) and Oliver Lansley (Whites) as co-writers on two episodes. Weide executive produces with Big Talk’s Kenton Allen, Frost and Matthew Justice and Sky’s Lucy Lumsden who commissioned the series. Clelia Mountford will produce. Filming will begin in April for a 2014 premiere.
Yonderland, from the BAFTA award-winning team behind Horrible Histories, follows a 33-year-old mom who unexpectedly finds herself in an extraordinary world. Matthew Baynton, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Simon Farnaby, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond will all write and star in the series, which will also feature puppetry sequences from Baker Coogan, long-time collaborators with the Jim Henson Company. Moone Boy, written by Nick Vincent Murphy and Chris O’Dowd, centers on the imaginative Martin Moone (David Rawle) as he grows up in rural Ireland. O’Down will make his directorial debut with season 3, which will premiere in the fall.
Weide is best known as the principal director and executive producer of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which earned him a directing Emmy in 2003. Last year, he received a DGA Award for directing the Palestinian Chicken episode of Curb and three Emmy nominations, one for Curb and two for his American Masters two-part special, Woody Allen: A Documentary. This marks his first UK series though he has done a British production before, directing the 2008 UK movie How To Lose Friends & Alienate People, which starred Frost frequent collaborator Simon Pegg.