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A couple of years ago, Fleabag went from being an outrageously funny, yet largely obscure comedy lurking on the BBC’s lesser known channels to being one of the biggest TV water-cooler moments in the U.S., making creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge a household name in the process.
Around the same time, thanks to Amazon (much like Fleabag), Channel 4’s sexually honest and swear-filled rom-com Catastrophe did the same for Sharon Horgan.
The fourth and final season of Catastrophe is due to launch this month, while the second season of Fleabag is one of the most anticipated TV releases of the year.
But which new Brit comedies could break out in the U.S. in 2019? Speaking to the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky, The Hollywood Reporter picks out several possibilities.
Something of a comedy regular in the U.K., Matt Berry, who has starred in The IT Crowd and had his own hit Brit show in Toast of London, has yet to fully break out in the U.S. (although he’s had guest roles on Portlandia and Community). 2019 could be his year with, aptly, Year of the Rabbit, in which he stars as Detective Inspector Rabbit, a drunken sleuth investigating crimes inspired by the world of Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian-era London. Also starring Freddie Fox and Susan Wokoma, the six-episode series was written by Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil, and is being produced by Objective Fiction for Channel 4 and IFC.
Landing somewhere between Homeland and The Office, Intelligence pits the thrusting U.S. secret service against its less-thrusting counterpart in the U.K. The six-part series sees David Schwimmer play a power-hungry maverick NSA agent who joins an inept and tactless computer analyst (Nick Mohammed, who also created the show) and a newly formed team in England tackling cybercrime. The workplace comedy — which Schwimmer will also exec produce alongside Mohammed — is a co-pro between Expectation and Dark Harbor Stories. It’s due to air towards the end of 2019 on Sky, with a U.S. broadcaster yet to be confirmed.
This Time With Alan Partridge, BBC
Could this be the year that Alan Partridge — one of the most beloved comedy creations of all time in the U.K. and the character Steve Coogan will forever be associated with on home soil — finally breaks out in the U.S.? Seventeen years after Partridge’s last major TV show (although there’s been a series of books, shorts and a film in recent years), the loveably tactless, tasteless and largely incompetent host returns to the BBC, this time to front the fictitious evening news program This Time having been drafted in to give the broadcaster a much-needed “voice of Brexit” outside of London’s metropolitan elite. While it will undoubtedly become one of this year’s top comedy talking point in the U.K., is Partridge still a little too British for U.S. tastes?
Happy AF, Channel 4
Here’s one that could tick both the ‘laugh’ and ‘cry’ boxes. Upcoming sitcom Happy AF is about moving on, moving forward and trying to find happiness. Creator Aisling Bea stars as Aine, a woman trying to pull her life back together after a “teeny little nervous breakdown.” Catastrophe‘s Horgan (who exec produces through her own Merman banner) will play Aine’s sister, Shona, someone battling her own set of issues, including mortality and whether or not there’s room in her apartment for her boyfriend now that she’s bought a new coffee table.
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