Simon Evans, the creator of the BBC’s hit lockdown comedy Staged, says that the second series should reach TV screens in the UK in the next three to four months. Simon, who wrote and directed the show starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen, was speaking during an interview for Abingdon Arts Forum, a new initiative by Abingdon Arts Partnerships.
Simon said that he and series editor Dan Gage are currently editing the new episodes which were shot during a three-week period over the autumn. He said that initially they had thought that, with the UK coming out of lockdown, there would be no point to a follow up series; however, the BBC had asked for more, so the producers were already exploring a different approach to keep the show relevant. Sadly, it looked like David and Michael did not have the time to take part due to other filming commitments, but then both of their shoots were delayed, giving the team a limited window in which to complete the new series.
Simon said that he thought that working under intense pressure was something that worked in their favour to make Staged the show that it is: “Writing and directing when you’re up against it is stressful but sometimes that means you just shoot from the hip and go with your gut and actually with Staged that seemed to work. There was no time to second guess anything…If I’d had more time to write Staged 1, I don’t think it would be anything like as good, anything like as well received. I think there was just something about the urgency of it…I was finishing a scene, sending it to David and Michael and saying, ‘We’re going to film this in two hours’. There was no time to go, ‘Is this funny? Is this not? I don’t know. Let’s just film it and find out.'”
With post-production now underway, Simon is putting his faith in series editor Dan Gage. “In Series 2 the episodes again need to be 15 minutes and Episode 5 is currently running at 47 minutes,” he explained. “We’ve got to make some really hard choices to cut that thing down. But thankfully I trust [Dan] to the end of the Earth.”
Simon added that he was in Los Angeles when Series 2 was filming, meaning that he was having to get up at 3am so that he could write and film on UK time. Having seen rushes and rough cuts throughout production, he knew he had been shattered when writing scenes, but “Michael and David somehow make it work.”
Finally, Simon promises some fun guest stars in the second
series including “two amazing women” in a long, climatic scene.
Staged returns to BBC One in the UK in 2021. David Tennant and Michael Sheen are back playing exaggerated versions of themselves, alongside other returning cast members Georgia Tennant, Anna Lundberg, Lucy Eaton and Simon Evans himself.
Series 1 is
currently available to stream on Netflix in the UK, Hulu in the USA and iView