The BBC are working on a situation comedy aimed at the scaffolding industry in the hope of taking over from where Only Fools and Horses left off. John Sullivan’s much-loved sitcom about Del Boy, Rodders and co is now firmly ensconced in British Television history.

The basis and message of the show is often discussed in universities these days, and it’s felt the world of the working class scaff would make for perfect new material in the hope of constructing another comedy classic. We can reveal it’ll be set in Frinton-on-Sea on the Essex coast, and written by Rhys Thomas, the voice of Brian Bellamy in Radio 4’s Down the Line and creator of comedy rock legend Brian Pern. Rhy’s told the media:

“The plan is a little bit Only Fools and Horses but set now. There aren’t many things that really represent working class life on telly. That’s why I want to do it. It would be quite nice to make something that the whole family could watch that doesn’t have any swearing but isn’t naff.”

Though still in the early stages it’s foundations have already been laid with the help of what Rhys describes as a ‘healthy development budget’ from the corporation. Readers of a certain age of course will remember how well auf wiedersehen pet, following the adventures of a gang of British workmen abroad, was received in the early 1980’s.

The Channel 4 station is currently working on a sit com about a pair of dodgy cockney builders, Lee and Dean, for its on-demand service All 4. It’s being written by Mark O’Sullivan and Miles Chapman. The BBC, of course, are renown for creating classic comedies, and it’s a tough job to fill the boots of John Sullivan. But Rhys Thomas actually welcomes the comparison with all things Peckham, and has a good idea of who he’d like to play some of the leading roles:

“I would love to pair Christopher Eccleston and Michael Kitchen up in it because they are my favourite actors. In Brian Pern, Kitchen played the rocker’s unscrupulous agent John Farrow while Eccleston was taciturn ‘Madchester’ rock producer Luke Dunmore who produced Pern’s awful LP Shelf Life.”

Given Kitchen’s brilliant performance as the constantly swearing agent, he’d be favourite to revel in such a role. The versatile and down to earth Christoper Eccleston certainly wouldn’t be out of place. The scaffolding industry of course represents real every day life in more ways than one. It seems a fitting choice therefore for a sit com packed with great one liners and lots of funny situations.

It’s not the only new show that Thomas is currently developing with the BBC. He’s also working on a comedy drama set in a caravan park full of divorced men. It’s modelled on the experience of Thomas’s own father, who moved into a caravan site on a temporary basis and remittance 18 years. Thomas is developing the idea with Fifth Fathoms, the production company behind recent hits Fortitude, Marvellous and The A Word. In terms of Only Fools and Horses, Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom from 1981 to 1991, with sixteen sporadic Christmas specials until its end in 2003. Watch this space for more news on the scaffs sit com.

This article was first published in the Winter 2017 issue of the ScaffMag magazine. View Issue