Puppy Love – a new BBC Four comedy from Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine
A warm and energetic character-based comedy about owners’ problems with their dogs and dogs’ problems with their owners, Puppy Love is set around a dog training class on the Wirral, ‘For All Your Dogging Needs’. The indubitable Nana V (Joanna Scanlan) runs it, and West Kirby altruist Naomi Singh (Vicki Pepperdine) starts attending the puppy classes. The series charts the relationship between two very different women as they navigate their headstrong dogs, impossible teenage kids and preoccupied husbands.
Scanlan and Pepperdine develop the blend of crafted writing and improvisational techniques they used in the award-winning Getting On, in this warm and witty new comedy, where a dog features in every scene.
Rivalries flair in episode one when Naomi Singh enrols unruly Golden Retriever pup, Charlie into Nana V’s classes. There she meets Labradoodle Toffee, who embarrasses his owner Alexander (Tobias Menzies) with the unpalatable habit of coprophagia (muck munching). Things take an even more complicated turn when Naomi’s school-refusing teenage daughter, Jasmine (Selina Borji) meets Nana V’s grandson Eron (Aron Julius), when Naomi plays a professional visit to Nana V’s rural mobile home in her capacity as scourge-of-poverty maven.
Nana’s live-in ex-husband (her ‘wasband’) Tony Fazackerley, played by Simon Fisher-Becker (Getting On, Doctor Who) is joined by Naomi’s husband, Ravi, played by Gordon Warnecke (The Bill, My Beautiful Laundrette).
A host of guest stars step in across the series to play all manner of Wirralites, including Sunetra Sarker (Casualty), currently starring in Strictly Come Dancing, Kayvan Novak (Sirens, Phonejacker, Four Lions), Margi Clarke (Coronation Street), John Henshaw (Born and Bred, Cilla), Phil Cornwell (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa), Mark Lewis-Jones (Stella, 55 Degrees North), Gerard McCarthy (Hollyoaks, The Fall), Justin Edwards (The Thick of It), Polly Kemp (The Thick of It, Four Weddings And A Funeral). Plus Alvin Hall, the popular financial advisor, author and media figure takes on his first acting role.
Shane Allen, Controller, Comedy Commissioning at the BBC, said of the series: “Joanna and Vicki have once again used their immense comedy talents to create what is set to be one of this winter’s comedy gems. The hybrid of professional actors, members of the public and a four-legged supporting cast, is a daunting blend, yet makes Puppy Love all the more of an authentic passion piece.”
Set to air in November 2014, Puppy Love is a co-venture between BBC Comedy North and Woof Productions. It is co-created and written by Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, directed by Susan Tully (Getting On, The Mill), produced by Jo Willett (Birds Of A Feather) and executive produced by Gareth Edwards, Saurabh Kakkar and David Baddiel.