Thorny family comedy-drama Flowers takes root at Channel 4
This spring will see the launch of Channel 4’s innovative new 6x30 dark comedy-drama starring Olivia Colman (Broadchurch, The Lobster, Peep Show, Hot Fuzz) and Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh, Nathan Barley) and written and directed by BAFTA-nominated Will Sharpe (Black Pond).
Flowers is an imaginative, cinematic show about an eccentric and dysfunctional family struggling to hold themselves together. Maurice (Barratt), the author of illustrated children’s books The Grubbs, and music teacher wife Deborah (Colman) are barely together, but yet to divorce. As Maurice fights inner demons and dark secrets, Deborah tries to keep the family together at all costs and becomes increasingly suspicious that Maurice is in a secret homosexual relationship with his Japanese illustrator Shun (played by show creator Will Sharpe).
The Flowers family live in a creaky, messy, crumbling old house with Maurice's ailing mother Hattie (Leila Hoffman) and their maladjusted 25-year-old twins Amy (Sophia Di Martino – Friday Night Dinner, Mount Pleasant) and Donald (BAFTA-winning Daniel Rigby - Eric and Ernie, Cardinal Burns, Undercover). Both are competing for the affection of neighbour Abigail (BAFTA-winning Georgina Campbell – Murdered By My Boyfriend) as they struggle to burst through the confines of their arrested development. Anna Chancellor plays Aunty Viv, Deborah’s vivacious sister.
Swinging from the profane to the profound, the Flowers family and their often self-inflicted crises, are surrounded by odd neighbours who become the agents of further heartache and misfortune. Despite living on top of each other the family will do anything to not communicate, pushing them and their struggles with love and life to extreme and ridiculous places.
Picture by Des Willie
Writer/director Will Sharpe said: "I feel very lucky to be making Flowers with Kudos, Channel 4 and Seeso. They've been really supportive and pushed me to make bold decisions on a show that aims both to celebrate and challenge the traditional family sitcom format. The characters in this show are all trying to break free in some way. In part, it's a comedy about the different ways of feeling trapped or alone and how difficult it can be to admit that's how you're feeling.”
Channel 4’s Deputy Head of Comedy, Nerys Evans said: “Flowers is the kind of deliciously dark world we love at Channel 4. The word ‘dysfunctional’ doesn’t come close to describing quite how brilliantly peculiar the Flowers family are. Will Sharpe’s wonderful writing and direction coupled with an amazing cast has led us to an unbelievably original piece and we are delighted to have it on the channel.”
Naomi de Pear, who developed and produced the series for Kudos said: ‘Flowers is perhaps the saddest comedy I’ve come across but it’s also very silly. Working with the very talented Will, Channel 4, Seeso and the extraordinary cast to bring to life this emotional and unique vision about the awful and funny pain of being in a family has been brilliant fun. Flowers has an other-worldly quality to it, even though it’s about real characters and real emotions.’
Evan Shapiro, Executive Vice President, Digital Enterprises, NBCUniversal said: "If Augusten Burroughs wrote a sit-com, it might be Flowers. Will's dark, bizarre, tragic comedy is singularly delicious, made even more so by Julian and Olivia and the amazing cast. Flowers is the epitome of a 'Seeso show’.”
The series is produced by Kudos (Humans, Utopia, Broadchurch,) and was commissioned by Phil Clarke, Channel 4’s Head of Comedy, in association with NBCUniversal's Digital Enterprises’ new ad-free comedy streaming platform Seeso (Evan Shapiro, Kelsey Balance and Dan Kerstsetter). It was Executive Produced by Kudos joint-CEO Diederick Santer with Naomi de Pear who produced for Kudos.
It will air on Channel 4 in the UK and Seeso in the States this spring