Stephen Mangan, Heather Graham and Jo Hartley to star in ‘Bliss’, a new comedy series from Emmy Award-winner David Cross on Sky Atlantic.
Sky Atlantic announces Bliss, a new comedy written and directed by acclaimed US writer/director/performer David Cross (Arrested Development, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret). The six part series adds to Sky Atlantic’s new line-up of original comedy for 2017, which includes Sick Note and The Trip to Spain.
The series will star Stephen Mangan (Episodes), Heather Graham (The Hangover I & III, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) and Jo Hartley (This Is England). Bliss is a co-production between Merman (Catastrophe, Divorce, Todd Margaret) and Big Talk Productions (Cold Feet, Mum) in association with David Cross’s Liberal Jew-Run Media Productions for Sky Atlantic.
The series follows the complicated double life of Andrew (Mangan), a successful travel writer who, through extenuating circumstances, finds himself living between two sets of wives and children whose existences are unknown to each other. Andrew, in a constant state of moral crisis, must find a way to balance his time and energies between his wife Kim (Graham) and teenage daughter Christina, while travelling back and forth across Bristol to his other family, wife Denise, (Hartley) and their teenage son Kris. As Andrew’s two worlds become ever harder to contain, so does his sanity. And he finds himself going to increasingly drastic measures to protect the two families he loves.
David Cross said: “This project is unlike anything I’ve ever done before, in so far as I’ve never been to Bristol. Is it nice? Heard good things. Oh also there’s a scene that takes place in Weston-Super-Mare so there’s that.”
Stephen Mangan said: “I’ve always wanted two wives so this project is very close to my heart. And I get to work with the super-talent that is David Cross. I can’t wait.”
Heather Graham added: “David has written an incredibly funny and wonderful script. I’m excited to be working with him and Stephen on this project.”
Sky’s head of comedy Jon Mountague said: “Bliss is going to be unmissable. It is the latest evidence of Sky Atlantic’s amazing output, which in terms of talent, scale and storytelling, further establish the channel as a world leader not just in drama, but in comedy too.”
Bliss was commissioned for Sky by Jon Mountague, Sky’s head of comedy and Zai Bennett, director of Sky Atlantic. It is written, directed and executive produced by David Cross, produced by Clelia Mountford for Merman and executive produced by Kenton Allen and Matthew Justice for Big Talk Productions and Sharon Horgan for Merman. Filming is scheduled to start in late November 2016 in London and Bristol. International distribution is ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
About Big Talk Productions
Big Talk Productions is one of the UK’s leading television production companies. Over the last twenty years it has enjoyed an exceptional output of outstanding original scripted television comedy and drama and a track record of nurturing talent; the company began with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Edgar Wright and Nira Park’s cult television series ‘Spaced’. Big Talk was named ‘Production Company of the Year’ at the 2014 Edinburgh TV Festival Awards, just one of it’s many successes.
Led by Chief Executive Kenton Allen, Managing Director Matthew Justice and Founder Nira Park, the company has expanded significantly over the last eight years. Highlights of this award-winning output include ‘Rev.’ (BBC2) and ‘Him & Her’ (BBC3) both winning the BAFTA for situation comedy in 2011 and 2014, and multi-award nominee ‘Friday Night Dinner’ which has just completed production on its fourth series.
In 2015, Big Talk produced ‘Cockroaches’ (ITV2), a comedy series set in a post-apocalyptic world, written by Freddy Syborn (co-writer of Bad Education) and starring Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Esther Smith and Jack Whitehall. ‘The Job Lot’, starring Sarah Hadland and Russell Tovey returned to ITV2 for a third series, and ‘Brotherhood’, from new writers Patrick Carr and Paul McKenna was broadcast on Comedy Central.
Another big hit from 2015 was ‘Raised By Wolves’, written by Caitlin and Caroline Moran, which was re-commissioned for a second series after it premiered to rapturous reviews and ratings. The family from ‘Wolvo’ returned to screens in March 2016 on Channel 4, winning the prestigious Rose D’Or for Sitcom in Autumn 2016. A US version is being created by Oscar winning writer Diablo Cody for ABC.
Big Talk stormed into 2016 with ‘Crashing’, written by and starring multi-award-winning actress and playwright Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which aired on Channel 4 to rave reviews. In May, ‘Mum’ (BBC2) – the continuing collaboration between Big Talk and ‘Him & Her’ creator Stefan Golaszewski – made its critically-lauded debut. As part of the BBC’s pilot season in September, Big Talk produced comedy ‘We The Jury’ written by comedian James Acaster, to rave reviews.
Big Talk also continues to make its mark in drama programming. ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook’ (Sky Arts), starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe won a Broadcast Award for Best Multi-Channel Programme. ‘Youngers’ (E4) proved to be a big hit and also returned for a second series. ‘Mr Sloane’ starring Nick Frost and Olivia Colman launched on Sky Atlantic from Emmy-award winning writer and director Robert Weide, and from the Oscar nominated Matt Charman came the drama series ‘Our Zoo’, which broadcast on BBC1.
2016 saw the launch of 10 x 60 supernatural detective series ‘Houdini and Doyle’ from House creator David Shore, his long-time collaborator David Hoselton and leading Canadian screenwriter David Titcher, directed by Stephen Hopkins (Californication, 24). Big Talk also relaunched the much loved, BAFTA award winning, ‘Cold Feet’ for ITV with creator Mike Bullen and the original cast returning. To date the show is ITV’s biggest drama launch of 2016 with an audience of 8.4 million and a 33% total audience share and has just been re-commissioned for another series.
Big Talk’s first feature film was cult-comedy ‘Shaun of the Dead’, for which Nira Park received a Carl Foreman Award nomination at BAFTA. The film was the first instalment of Wright’s iconic ‘Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy’, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. ‘Shaun’ was followed by 2007 hit ‘Hot Fuzz’ and 2013’s ‘The World’s End’.
Big Talk produced Edgar Wright’s ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ in 2010; Joe Cornish’s SXSW audience-award winning debut feature ‘Attack the Block’ in 2011, and that same year Greg Mottola’s ‘Paul’, written by Pegg and Frost. In 2012, Big Talk produced Ben Wheatley’s Cannes-premiered black- comedy ‘Sightseers’; in 2013 Jeremy Lovering’s critically-acclaimed psychological horror ‘In Fear’, which premiered at Sundance; and in 2014 ‘Cuban Fury’, starring Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd and Rashida Jones.
Most recently Big Talk produced rom-com ‘Man Up’, starring Simon Pegg, Lake Bell and directed by Ben Palmer. The movie premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and won ‘Best Comedy’ at the 2016 National Film Awards. Big Talk also produced Sacha Baron Cohen’s action-comedy ‘Grimsby’, which was released February 2016. Big Talk is currently producing Edgar Wright’s latest movie ‘Baby Driver’, which stars Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey. The film was shot in Atlanta, GA and is scheduled for a spring 2017 release.
Big Talk continues to work with some of the most exciting voices in both the UK and the US to bring fresh, dynamic, authored stories to screen.
Founded in 2014 by award-winning duo Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford, Merman is already making waves across television, film and branded content, with an extensive number of projects in development and production on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Merman family is dedicated to creating quality scripted content and is privileged to collaborate with some of the industry’s leading names. Merman’s current projects include the third series of the award-winning Catastrophe for Channel 4/Amazon created by and starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, Divorce by Sharon Horgan for HBO starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church, Motherland for BBC 2 starring Anna Maxwell Martin, Lucy Punch and Diane Morgan, Dennis Kelly and Horgan’s The Circuit for Channel 4 starring Adeel Akhtar, Todd Margaret for IFC starring David Cross, Will Arnett, Sharon Horgan, Jack McBrayer and Blake Harrison and Pulling for NBC, with many more in development and production.
Merman also recently partnered with Pulse Films to create Merman x Pulse, a new content company working directly with global brands such as Comcast, (RED) and Silver Car to create branded content and commercials, offering unique access to their roster of world-renowned talent and creative teams through script-development, workshops, appearances and promotion.
Merman Founders Clelia Mountford and Sharon Horgan first met on Season 1 of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret as actor and producer respectively. Both enjoyed full and diverse careers before joining forces to create Merman in 2014. In addition to working with established writers, actors and directors around the world, they remain committed to discovering and nurturing new talent as the Merman family grows.