December 11, 2023

“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Karen Gillan is set to star alongside “Downton Abbey’s” Hugh Bonneville in a new comedy drama from Steven Moffat about cancel culture, Variety can reveal.

“Douglas is Cancelled” will see Hugh Bonneville play a middle aged and widely-respected news anchor called Douglas Bellowes while Gillan stars as his canny sidekick Madeline.

Douglas lives a perfect life. He enjoys his privileged status as national treasure and host of current affairs show “Live at Six” while off-air he shares a harmonious home with wife Sheila, a newspaper editor.

But their world is turned upside down when, at a family wedding, he’s overheard making an “ill-advised joke.” As a guest threatens to expose Douglas on social media the rumor mill goes into overdrive and sparks off a digital storm that quickly upends his life and career. With her 2 million social media followers, tech-savvy co-anchor Madeline could throw Douglas a lifeline by posting in his defense … but will she?

“To torment a man, let alone a man named Douglas, for four episodes — armed with the writing of Steven Moffat — is a great privilege that I’m going to enjoy every minute of,” Gillan said.

Joining Gillan and Bonneville in the dramedy are Ben Miles (“Hijack”), Alex Kingston (“A Discovery of Witches, Dodger”), Nick Mohammed (“Ted Lasso”) and Simon Russell Beale (“Thor: Love and Thunder”).

Ben Palmer (“The Inbetweeners”) is directing the series.

Bonneville said: “Working again with a director like Ben, on Steven’s acidly witty script, with an ensemble of this calibre, is as daunting as it is exciting.”

The four-part series, which has just gone into production in London, was written by Moffatt (“Doctor Who”) and produced by Hartswood Films (“Sherlock”) in association with SkyShowtime and BBC Studios Distribution. It will premiere on U.K. streamer ITVX.

“I just sat down and wrote this,” Moffat said. “Didn’t even tell anyone what I was doing. And now it’s all happening, thanks to the amazing Sue Vertue (renowned TV producer and in a rare moment of weakness, my wife). I can’t quite believe we’ve managed to get the mighty Hugh Bonneville involved as Douglas and that we’ve lured my old friend Karen Gillan back from Hollywood to play Madeline.”

“And like that’s not enough, we’ve got Ben Miles, Alex Kingston, Nick Mohammed and Simon Russell Beale. It’s the kind of cast that makes you terrified about stepping into the room.”

Moffat will executive produce alongside Sue Vertue (“The Devil’s Hour”) on behalf of Hartswood Films. Lawrence Till (“Silent Witness”) produces. The show was commissioned by ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill.

BBC Studios are repping international rights.

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