The U.S. digital service has partnered with Channel 4, which ordered the series, previously known as Happy AF, last year. The series is written by and stars Bea, who starred in NBC comedy I Feel Bad.
Bea plays Aine, a whip smart English-as-a-foreign language teacher trying to pull her life back together after a “teeny little” nervous breakdown, as her sister Shona, played by Catastrophe creator Horgan, worries, not only about her younger sibling, but also about her own life choices. The school where Aine teaches brings together a room full of characters also trying to find their own hope, direction and happiness in this messy world.
Mandvi plays Shona’s boyfriend Vish, Menzies stars as Richard, father to one of Aine’s students and Varma plays Shona’s colleague and confidante Charlotte.
Other members of the cast include Sorcha Cusack (Father Brown) as Aine and Shona’s mother, Chris Geere (You’re The Worst) as Aine’s ex-boyfriend, Freddie, Kadiff Kirwan as Aine’s roommate Bradley, Ricky Grover as Aine’s friend Tom, Ekow Quartey as Aine’s boss James and Pik-Sen Lim, Todor Jordanov, Jassem Mougari, Daniela Spataru as Aine’s students.
This Way Up was commissioned for Channel 4 by Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott and Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 Comedy, Jack Bayles,. The series will be produced by Merman. Executive Producers are Horgan, Bea and Clelia Mountford. The director is Alex Winckler and the series producer is Gavin O’Grady.
Bea said, “After years of scripts and projects that never made it to air, this show is a bit of a dream come true, so I really bloody hope you like it. Sharon and I first played sisters in a TV show that got cancelled about eight years ago and we have gone on many drunken nights out across the world together since to stay in character for this project. Channel 4 have supported and backed me in many ways for years now, so I am over the moon to have my little baby live with them and to have it go visit its step-mother Hulu in America too.”
Clelia Mountford and Sharon Horgan, Executive Producers at Merman, added, “‘We are so happy to be working with Channel 4 again and to have made Aisling Bea’s first self-penned series for them. We’re very proud of what Aish has achieved with This Way Up and of the dedicated work from the whole team who worked alongside her. It’s a show that we always knew she had in her but what a thrill to see it come to life.”