Ben Wheatley To Direct Big-Screen Version Of BBC Sitcom 'Ideal'

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by Joe Cunningham
July 2, 2012 10:45 AM
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The BBC’s television channel aimed squarely at 16-34 year olds, BBC Three, is sadly probably better known in the U.K. for its shoddy sitcoms than it is for quality broadcasts. Crude, unsophisticated, and just plain not funny, the channel’s early programming was typified by the awful and long-lived “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.” That’s not to say the channel’s entire comedy output since its 2003 launch has been awful – “Little Britain,” “Being Human” and “Gavin & Stacey” in particular have experienced a great deal of success . One of BBC Three’s strangest and most interesting shows though was a dark comedy called “Ideal” which ran for seven seasons between 2005 and 2011.

The show was about a small-time cannabis dealer from Salford called Moz (played by comedian Johnny Vegas). The show took place almost entirely in Moz’s bedsit and saw a variety of bizarre characters visiting him to either buy drugs or socialize over its 53-episode run. The show had a scuzzy aesthetic and often bordered on the surreal (one regular character named Cartoon Head is always seen wearing a mask resembling a cartoon mouse), but it was certainly like nothing else on television and slowly earned itself a committed fanbase along the way. However, after being cancelled by the channel last year it looked like “Ideal” had run its course.

But while the BBC may have had enough of the show, its production company Baby Cow certainly hadn’t and they have an ace up their sleeve in the form of Ben Wheatley. The “Down Terrace,” “Kill List” and “Sightseers” director was behind the camera for 14 episodes of the series between 2009 and 2010, and he’s now signed up to direct the series’ big-screen spin-off. The production company have confirmed that “it’s going to be set in the same place, with many of the same characters. We even brought the physical set from the BBC. We are aiming for it to be quite a dark psychological comedy-thriller.”

A dark psychological comedy-thriller about a drug-dealer…set entirely in a scummy bedsit…directed by Ben Wheatley? You can sign us up for that! Hopefully Wheatley (and writer Graham Duff) will craft this so it will work as a standalone feature that doesn’t rely on audiences having seen the series beforehand, because if they do, we can only imagine they’ll be onto a winner. We’re not sure how well the film will travel, but it will probably make it to the big screen on a shoestring budget ensuring that any kind of decent performance in the U.K. would deem it a success. This is Baby Cow’s second major foray into film, following hot on the heels of their highly anticipated (well, in the U.K. at least) Alan Partridge film (now set for an August 16, 2013 release), and we’re looking forward to both. [Chortle]

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