Staged, the critically acclaimed, lockdown comedy series created by Oxford’s Simon Evans and Phin Glynn, starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant, has been snapped up by Netflix.
Not only can Staged fans now rewatch the original six episodes screened by the BBC over lockdown, but can also enjoy an extended version on Netflix containing previously unseen footage.
Major intentional entertainment channels in America, China and Australia have also bid for the rights to screen Staged abroad it was announced today.
Oxford producer Victor Glynn adds: “There are some wonderfully funny previously unseen scenes on the Netflix version. The response already has been terrific. No, not terrific, amazing.”
Producer and co-creator Phin Glynn added, “We are over the moon that Staged is now to be shared with international audiences. With over 20 million viewers and followers in the UK to date we are sure it will find enthusiastic audiences wherever it goes”.
Hulu (SVOD in the US), Shout! Studios (Home Entertainment and TV in North America), Netflix UK, ABC in Australia for TV and Huanxi Media Group in China have all bought the rights to screen the surprise British lockdown comedy.
Rainmaker Content co-founder Graham Begg, responsible for taking Staged to a global market, comments: “Staged was a breath of fresh comedy air when it landed in the UK during lockdown. The obvious warm relationships enjoyed by all the actors involved coupled with the deft writing and direction makes for a light-hearted, humorous series that speaks to our time.We are very pleased to announce these first global sales with more to come.”
Written and directed by Simon Evans (read our interview with Simon here): https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/simon-evans-on-the-success-of-bbc-lockdown-drama-staged-and-wednesdays-oxford-playhouse-fundraiser-with-marcus-brigstocke-stephen-fry-lucy-porter-and-rachel-parris/, Staged was enjoyed by 20 million UK viewers.
Oxfordshire’s Simon Evans and Phin Glynn came up with the original idea, written and directed by Evans and then produced as an Infinity Hill/GCB Films production for BBC One.
Simon who grew up in Oxford, went to The Dragon School and then Abingdon, alongside Toby Young, Tom Hollander and Radiohead, while his parents running a dental practice in Kidlington, now lives in Noke.
His life had rather mimicked the plot of Staged, hence the idea.
Having worked with the likes of Orlando Bloom, Andrew Scott, Lenny Henry, and most latterly Toby Stephens and Claire Skinner in A Day in The Death of Joe Egg, next up was Tom Stoppard’s Real Thing which ground to a halt in lockdown, as did his film directorial debut Hunters In The Dark due to be filmed in Cambodia.
When lockdown began, and everything shut down, Simon, like so many of his colleagues, was out of work for the foreseeable future.
Instead he wrote Staged, which features the cast of a play – the cream of the crop of British acting talent – who are furloughed when their upcoming West End production is suddenly brought to a halt. The series follows the cast as they try their best to keep the rehearsals on track in lockdown.
Absurd and humorous in equal measure, Staged takes on the challenges of creating a drama in lockdown, on stage and off, with a line-up including Georgia Tennant, Lucy Eaton and Anna Lundberg with guest stars including Nina Sosanya, Samuel L Jackson, Adrain Lester and Dame Judi Dench.
Once Michael Sheen and David Tennant were on board it was all systems go. Simon whipped up a script, he and Phin Glynn made a pilot episode, sent it to the BBC and were given the green light in May. They then had a month to film the next five episodes. So successful, the BBC repeated them again and again, now a global audience will be able to enjoy the Staged phenomenon.
Producer Phin Glynn (who lives in Kingston Bagpuize) told us that when they started writing the pilot episode for the series, they had no idea if it would translate onto the screen: “We really didn’t know if it would work so instead of spending time trying to get investors to fund it we thought we would just get on with it and do it.
“From the initial idea we had a pilot episode in about five weeks and then produced the remaining five episodes over four weeks. It has been sheer joy and an absolute dream to work on.”
Simon Evans, who also acts in the series, added: “We were keen to get it out as soon as possible and we hope that it will still make people laugh long after lockdown is over. We hope that people will watch it in a couple of years and still enjoy it.”