Channel 4 invites you to the worst dinner party that’s ever happened in the world anywhere. The Circuit, produced by Merman and written by Dennis Kelly (Utopia, Pulling) and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Pulling) is a brand new comedy pilot commissioned by Channel 4 about the horror and hilarity of social engagement.
Gabe (Adeel Akhtar) and Nat (Eva Birthistle) have left their wonderful old life and moved to an area where people seem to oscillate somewhere between highly-strung and psychopathic. The reason they left isn’t immediately clear but they’re here now and trying to make the best of it. They go to one dinner party hosted by neighbour Helene (Victoria Hamilton) and her husband Sasha (Tobias Menzies) with fellow prisoners Danny (Paul Ready), Marty (Nicola Walker) and her girlfriend Angie (Desiree Akhavan). And so begins a descent into hell and Goulash, from which no one will ever fully recover.
Phil Clarke, Channel 4’s head of comedy said: “The pitch for The Circuit was irresistible. The premise – that everyone hates going to dinner parties but goes anyway – is a great starting place for a comedy. Plus, the prospect of a script from Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly, writing together again for the first time since Pulling, was incredibly exciting. The script didn’t disappoint, and I am delighted that we are now making a pilot.”
Rachel Springett, comedy commissioner for Channel 4 said: “We can’t wait to see this stellar cast breathe life into Dennis and Sharon’s fabulous script. It’s a very exciting project which we are thrilled to be making with them.”
Clelia Mountford, Founder and MD for Merman, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Channel 4 on the longest dinner party ever. We just hope they’ll bring the wine.”
Dennis Kelly and Sharon Horgan said: “It has taken just 10 short years for us to agree to work together again. It was a mistake.”
The Circuit pilot was commissioned by Channel 4 and is produced by t (The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, Divorce ) for Merman. It was written by Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly, who also serve as executive producers.
At this stage, it looks as though Nicola will only be involved in the filming of the pilot. The pilot will be aired, hopefully sometime in 2016, and then it will be up to Channel 4 to order a full season of shows. If that happens, Nicola may or may not be further involved. She has filmed other pilots in the past where she did not end up having any further involvement because of scheduling conflicts by the time the pilot is picked up.
Sharon Horgan has written a lot of comedy hits, but equally, she has written some shows which failed to hit the mark, e.g. Dead Boss. So we’re keeping an open mind about this new project. It would be nice to see Nicola in a comedic role.
Sharon Horgan has shared these production pics on Hellomerman, her Instagram page :
Nicola can be seen on set in the third pic.
The pilot will be aired on Channel 4 in the UK on Thursday, 25 August 2016. Here’s a trailer made available on YouTube.
It is still unclear at this stage whether the show will progress to a full series, and if so, whether Nicola will still be attached as a series regular.
Tobias Menzies was in two episodes of Series 8 of Spooks, though he did not have any scenes with Nicola.