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About the show

No business like show business

As Ian begins his new job as the BBC’s head of values, he encounters a problem. Despite the job having been sold to him as a chance to influence and shape one of the Great British institutions, he soon realises that not only does he not have time to think big thoughts, he never has any time to think any thoughts at all.

Ian struggles from day one, when his first challenge on arriving at New Broadcasting House is to find somewhere to sit in a building aggressively designed around the principle of not having a desk. To make matters worse, Ian soon discovers that the board has also decided to hire PR company Perfect Curve’s Siobhan Sharpe as the ‘Ginger Rogers to his Fred Astaire’.

Between working with inept intern Will, relentlessly enthusiastic head of strategic governance Simon, several stressed producers at the end of their tethers, and ensuring boss Tony Hall is ‘feeling perky’ about current issues, Ian has his work cut out. Massaging presenters egos, deftly handling a BBC anti-Cornish bias scandal and breaking through mindless creative meetings is all in a day's work for Ian and the team in this sharply-observed comedy, filmed at the BBC’s real offices in Central London.

Characters

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Ian Fletcher

Played by Hugh Bonneville

Role: Head of values
Most likely to say: "So that's all good."

Ian is a man who has got where he has because of his unique capacity to stay calm under pressure and remain relentlessly positive, even when all available evidence points in the opposite direction.

His role at the BBC is to think big thoughts and to clarify the purpose of the corporation in a digital age.

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Siobhan Sharpe

Played by Jessica Hynes

Role: Brand BBC consultant
Most likely to say: “I totally am listening… what it is is, you guys aren’t saying the right stuff.”

London 2012 was the most successful brand in recent times and, as a result, the BBC wants to get the person in who did that.

If head of values, Ian Fletcher, is to be the BBC’s Fred Astaire, what are you going to do? You’re going to get in Ginger Rogers.

Enter marketing guru Siobhan Sharpe from PR company, Perfect Curve.

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Anna Rampton

Played by Sarah Parish

Role: Head of output
Most likely to say: “No.”

Anna was recruited last year from ITV, where she was head of daytime factuality. She's responsible for everything the BBC broadcasts in all formats.

She has a reputation for being uncompromising, for not doing doubt, and for making decisions quickly and then sticking to them, albeit nearly always the wrong ones.

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Simon Harwood

Played by Jason Watkins

Role: Director of strategic governance
Most likely to say: “Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.”

Simon is self-appointed gatekeeper to the director general.

He's an important figure at the corporation and underneath his apparent informality and almost relentless bonhomie, he is probably one of the BBC’s most strategic directors.

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Tracey Pritchard

Played by Monica Dolan

Role: Senior communications officer
Most likely to say: “I’m sorry, I’m not being negative or anything, but...”

Straight-talking Tracey has seen it all, nothing surprises her, and she prides herself on knowing how to deal with whatever it is before it happens.

Proudly Welsh, Tracey has been with the corporation for nearly 20 years.

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Lucy Freeman

Played by Nina Sosanya

Role: Producer
Most likely to say: “I think we’re almost there.”

Producer Lucy has been with the BBC for eight years and as such, is both an experienced producer and still there.

Following an unforeseen rationalisation of her department, Lucy has been invited to work on a variety of programmes that she never dreamed she would be invited to work on when she originally joined.

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David Wilkes

Played by Rufus Jones

Role: Entertainment format producer
Most likely to say: “I know we haven’t started yet, but can I just say I never want this lunch to end.”

Enthusiastic entertainment format producer David has theoretically devised the corporation’s next big Sunday night format, Britain’s Tastiest Village, with the express hope of changing the face of Sunday night television, for either better or worse.

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Will Humphries

Played by Hugh Skinner

Role: Intern
Most likely to say: “Yes… say again?”

Will is the young, not especially bright but tremendously well-intentioned young intern, who might well be working at the BBC because he's someone’s nephew.

Will spends most of his time wandering round plugged into his MP3 player trying to find out what it is he’s supposed to be doing. He's occasionally given menial tasks by various people when they remember that he’s actually there.

Get it on...

South African audiences have access to five BBC TV channels: BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Earth, CBeebies and BBC World News.