Channel 4 has just announced that it is producing Aisling Bea’s debut sitcom, This Way Up, so here’s everything that we know about it so far including the cast, story and minor stabs at an air date and theme tune ideas. If you recognise the name or face in the image above, but you’re not too sure where you know it from, Aisling has been in everything from We Are Klang and Dead Boss to Assassin’s Creed III, Gap Year and 8 Out Of 10 Cats.
It’s not her first attempt at writing a television comedy having worked on scripts and projects for a number of years with none of them going on to air. However, perseverance has paid off with the upcoming Channel 4 production, and as a result she describes This Way Up as “a dream come true”.
The official air date hasn’t been confirmed as of yet, but from the look of the picture above, filming is either all done and dusted or well underway for the debut series. It’s obviously a stylised set shot to emphasise the topsy-turvy title, so it’s possible that it’ll air later in 2019, but Channel 4 is notorious for announcing shows only to release them a month later. Aisling Bea’s comedy seems to be veering in that direction, so we’re expecting it to arrive in the next couple of months.
This Way Up cast
In addition to writing the show, Aisling Bea is also leading the cast as Aine, an English teacher dealing with the aftermath of a minor nervous breakdown. She’s joined by Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) as her worrisome sister Shona, Aasif Mandvi as Shona’s boyfriend Vish, and Indira Varma (Elaria Sand from Game Of Thrones) playing Shona’s colleague and confidante Charlotte.
The impressive cast list also includes Tobias Menzies (Game Of Thrones) as Richard, the father of one of Aine’s TEFL students, Sorcha Cusack as her mum, Chris Geere as her ex Freddie, Kadiff Kirwan as roommate Bradley, Ricky Grover as friend Tom, and Ekow Quartey as her boss James. Her class of TEFL students have been cast with Pik-Sen Lim, Todor Jordanov, Jassem Mougari, Daniela Spataru in the roles.
We won’t know the This Way Up theme tune until the show lands on Channel 4, but there’s definitely a feel of Fleabag meets Catastrophe about the story behind the show, so it could go one of two ways. Either it’ll be a unique piece composed specifically for the show or it’ll go ultra-cool chopsticks in the banjax and forget about a theme tune altogether, a la de une un Phoebe Waller-Bridge effort. However, this will air on Channel 4 in the UK and Hulu in the US, so it’s got “in need of a theme song” written all over it.
What’s the story about
The comedy centres on the bottom-of-the-barrel progress of English teacher Aine as she recovers from what she describes as a “teeny little nervous breakdown”. She works at a foreign language school as she tries to pull her life back together, while her sister circles her life a worried mother hen with a mortality obsession.
She’s also managed to become a beacon and guiding light for her students, who have all got their own what next crisis to face in the messed-up modern world. Expect as much pathos as punch-lines and add this one to your must-watch list, because it sounds like it’s going to be the next big comedy hit of 2019.
About the production
In addition, addition, addition to writings, starring and thinking up the story of This Way Up, Aisling Bea is also one of three executive producers alongside Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford at Merman. Alex Winckler (My Mad Fat Diary) is the director for the series, and Gavin O’Grady producer. Merman was also responsible for the breakaway hit Catastrophe and you can keep tabs on them at www.hellomerman.com/work/.