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31 JUL 2017

Simon Callow rebels again for Gold

UKTV is returning to Brighton for a second series of Gold’s original scripted comedy The Rebel (6×30’).

Legend of stage and screen Simon Callow (Four Weddings & A Funeral, Crackanory) stars as irascible hellraising pensioner Henry Palmer, the former mod who sees no reason to stop living his life by his own rules now he’s in his seventies. Sticking two fingers up at authority, society and the vagaries of modern life, and of the firm belief there’s no problem that can’t be solved by a great tune and a quick bit of vandalism, Henry Palmer is “a potty mouthed Victor Meldrew on steroids” (Radio Times).

Simon Callow said, “I’m so pleased to be getting inside Henry Palmer’s skin again: a man of certain age behaving very badly, casting off the chains of convention, uttering the unutterable and defying decency. Age has only sharpened his refusal to conform.  Ladies and gentlemen – sorry – hello everyone, I give you Henry Palmer: reprobate, rascal – Rebel.”

Also returning for the new series, once again set and filmed in Brighton, are Bill Paterson (Fleabag) as former hippie Charles, Anita Dobson (EastEnders) as charity shop worker Margaret, Anna Crilly (Lead Balloon) as Henry’s put-upon daughter Cath, and Amit Shah (Stag) as her husband Jeremy. The Rebel is written by Andrew Birch, adapted from his own cartoon strip for The Oldie, produced by Retort, and the series is once again directed by Vadim Jean (Henry IX, Porters, Leon The Pig Farmer).

Andrew Birch said, “The one thing better than having a sitcom commissioned is being asked to write a second series. I feel especially fortunate to be working once again with such marvellous actors, film crew and director, and such a brilliant team from Retort and UKTV. I hope the continuing adventures of Henry, his friends and long-suffering family in the mean streets of Brighton amuse you all, and provoke acts of rebellion throughout our fair land.”

Pete Thornton, UKTV senior commissioning editor, said, “It was such a joy to watch Simon breathe (or should that be bellow?) life into Henry Palmer over three episodes last year – a joy that Gold viewers clearly shared in their numbers. It’s a real pleasure to be working with him and the rest of the cast, Andrew Birch and the talented production team at Retort to create a full six-part series of senior misbehaviour this year.”

Steve North, Gold general manager, said, “We’re hugely proud that The Rebel struck such a chord with our viewers with its first series. Along with Murder On The Blackpool Express and our upcoming retrospectives on Sir David Jason and Only Fools and Horses, the rest of the year is really exciting for Gold.”

Jon Rolph, executive producer at Retort, said, “We’re delighted that Henry and his friends are returning to UKTV to say “yes” to more glorious rebellion and “no” to the madnesses and stupidities of modern life.”

A Retort (part of FremantleMedia UK) production, The Rebel has been ordered by UKTV director of commissioning Richard Watsham and Gold general manager Steve North, and is executive produced for Gold by Pete Thornton. Executive producer for the series is Jon Rolph and the series producer is Simon Lupton. The new series of The Rebel joins other exciting UKTV Originals in 2017 on Gold such as the star-studded feature length special Murder On The Blackpool Express, We Have Been Watching, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais’ sitcom Henry IX and a pair of exclusive retrospectives, David Jason: My Life on Screen and The Story of Only Fools and Horses. The Rebel returns exclusively to Gold later this year.

Praise for series one of The Rebel:

 “Hearty half-hour of catharsis for those with post-millennial tension” – Radio Times

 “Old Men Behaving Badly … whatever your age, there are some funny potshots at the lunacy of modern life” – Metro

“Callow is clearly having fun in the role” – TV Times

 “Hilarious” – Sunday Mirror

 “Packed full of belly laughs and some brilliant slapstick farce” – BT.com