Comedy Showcase: Chickens


The First World War. Our nation's heroes are fighting the good fight. But in one sleepy English village three young men remain. George is a conscientious objector, Cecil is a reject from the army on health grounds and Bert really is a coward

Written by and starring Simon Bird, Jonny Sweet & Joe Thomas Chickens is about the only men in the village ... and all the women hate them.

In the eyes of their neighbours they're all the same: Chickens. So in a world of (quite sexy) women, children and the infirm these twenty-something chaps have only each other for company - and nothing else in common.

The women of the village are bound to treat them with the contempt they deserve - any man worth their salt should be doing their duty for the war effort abroad. But with pretty much every other man away, can George, Cecil and Bert claw themselves back into the good books of the ladies on the home front?

Chickens is a sitcom about three young guys in a woman's world, trying to prove their manhood. Every day they live in fear of being labelled as cowards - an argument they've already lost in the mere act of still being in England.

It's a quirky triple-handed single-camera period comedy like no other.


George (Joe Thomas) is a Quaker, which is a type of Christian. Which is a type of person. An interesting feature of their faith is that they are pacifists, and as such during the First World War many of them refused to fight on grounds of conscience, including our hero. George is genuinely courageous but almost everybody in the village thinks he's a coward. Which makes what he's doing all the more courageous of course. He's a very sympathetic character for the audience. But not so much for most of the people in the village, or the children in his class. That's right - he's a teacher.

Cecil (Simon Bird) has flat feet and, despite his best efforts, isn't allowed into the army. He comes from a family with a very proud military tradition - his younger brother being particularly gallant and highly decorated. Cecil desperately and sincerely wanted to go to war. He's a patriot and would have made a brave soldier. His greatest fear is that people don't believe there's really anything wrong with him - that they assume he's just making it up. Wherever he goes he's ribbed about made-up illnesses like hair-ache and in-growing teeth. He's very defensive and paranoid about what people are saying about him, and tries to bury his paranoia in war-related work.

Bert (Jonny Sweet) should be in the army, and doesn't have a legitimate reason not to be. He's an outstanding liar and an unscrupulous spiv, with absolutely no guilt about being on the wrong side of the law or public opinion. He follows Cecil and George around looking for opportunities to have sex, and wears Cecil's father's medals, implying they're his. He is an amoral coward totally at ease with his cowardice and his desire for pleasure. Proof, though no proof is needed in the eyes of the world, that all conscientious objectors are worthless, selfish liars.

Additional Cast

The young ladies of Rittle-On-Sea are played by a distinctly gorgeous and talented roster of actresses: Sarah Daykin (hot Edinburgh fringe show Toby), Emerald Fennell (Any Human Heart), Olivia Hallinan (Lark Rise To Candleford), Flora Spencer-Longhurst (forthcoming Young Leonardo) and Jessica Barden (Tamara Drewe, Hanna).

The village is also home to British comedy favourites Felicity Montagu (Alan Partridge) Joanna Scanlan (Getting On) and Rupert Vansittart (Heartbeat).

Director - Steve Bendelack

Producer - John Rushton

Executive Producer - Kenton Allen

Prod Co. - Big Talk

Past TX Information

06 Sep 2011, 23:40
  • R
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  • HD