(Photo credit: Channel 4)
(Photo credit: Channel 4)
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Sally Phillips to play 19th Century pansexual autocrat in new Channel 4 comedy series

Channel 4 has announced details of its upcoming comedy, Year of the Rabbit.

The new six-part comedy, which is produced by Objective Fiction out of OMG Scotland with international partners IFC and all3media international, sees BAFTA-winning actor Matt Berry play Detective Inspector Rabbit, a hardened booze-hound cop in Victorian London. He’s aided and abetted by his new partner Wilbur Strauss (Freddie Fox) and the country’s first female police officer, Mabel Wisbech (Susan Wokoma), as they bring justice to the streets of the east end.

Alongside the crime-fighting trio, Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard, Misbehaviour) stars as the mysterious Lydia, Sally Phillips (Veep, Bridget Jones) is Princess Juliana of Bulgaria, and Jill Halfpenny (Three Girls, In the Club) features as Rabbit’s ex, the deadly Flora.

Within the turmoil of the Whitechapel police station, Alun Armstrong (The Cane, Frontier) plays Chief Inspector Wisbech – who suffers two ways, as Rabbit’s boss and Mabel’s father – while Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones, Afterlife) plays Rabbit’s nemesis, D.I. Tanner.

Also starring in the series are David Dawson (Last Kingdom, Ripper Street), Ann Mitchell (Call The Midwife, Widows), Alistair Petrie (The Night Manager, Sex Education), Matthew Holness (Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Toast of London) and Craig Parkinson (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Line of Duty).

“It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable, bonkers experience”

Keeley Hawes said: “It’s great to be working with Matt, Susan and Freddie on such a brilliantly original show. Lydia is such an enigmatic character. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable, bonkers experience.”

Sally Phillips commented: “I can report that there is literally nothing more pleasurable than playing a haughty, 19th Century, pansexual, Bulgarian autocrat with access to guns. I may have peaked.”

Jill Halfpenny added: “I’m thrilled to be a part of Year of the Rabbit. It’s an amazing creative team and I’ve had the best time making it.”

(Photo credit: Channel 4)
(Photo credit: Channel 4)

Matt Berry says: “I’m very much looking forward to working with Channel 4 again, and IFC for the first time, as I’m equally looking forward to stepping back in time to fight crime in the same significant year which bought us Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, The Elephant Man and of course Jack The Ripper.”

Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, says: “Imagine The Sweeney in Victorian England and you’re getting close to the heady misguided machismo that runs rife in this series.  It’s an amazing vehicle for Matt’s talents and together with Susan and Freddie and the wealth of talent off-camera, we are thrilled to have it on the channel.”

Year of the Rabbit is directed by BAFTA-nominated Ben Taylor (Catastrophe, Sex Education) and written by Emmy and WGA Award-winners Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil (Veep, Black Books), with additional material from Matt Berry.

The show was commissioned for Channel 4 by Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy, and Jack Bayles, Commissioning Editor.

Ben Farrell and Toby Stevens will executive produce for Objective Fiction and Objective Media Group Scotland, with Hannah Mackay producing.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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