Lorraine Bracco (Sopranos, Goodfellas) has joined the cast of new BBC Three comedy Jerk.
The series, which was previously called A Brief History of Tim, is created by and stars Tim Renkow, who plays Tim. He has cerebral palsy, which means that people judge him and his “crumpled tissue of a body”. But usually, they judge him wrongly. Because what they don’t realise is that inside that severely body is a bit of an asshole.
Tim knows he makes people uncomfortable – he does it on purpose. He knows his cerebral palsy means he can get away with saying what others can’t. But that’s his problem: time spent taking aim at life’s easier targets means Tim takes his eye off its bigger prizes: the job, the girl and the visa. From faking it as a refugee, making a disabled nemesis and offending his new colleagues at a greeting cards company, Tim becomes the master of his own downfall and it’s left to his friends Ruth, his indifferent care worker (Sharon Rooney – My Mad Fat Diary), and Idris (Rob Madin – BBC Comedy Feeds), to get him out of all the disastrous situations he gets himself into.
The project began as one of BBC Three’s Comedy Feed pilots in 2016.
“There’s something wonderfully more complicated going on beneath the surface,” we wrote in our review, which singled out A Brief History of Tim as the best of the bunch. “On the one hand, it shows how society is so intently politically correct that it’s unwilling to criticise a disabled person for their behaviour, instead writing it off as part of their condition. On the other, it shows that there’s more to our lead than his cerebral palsy – and Tim Renkow makes the most of the opportunity. Clever, sweet and gleefully dark, A Brief History of Tim is all too brief. Someone commission a full series of this immediately.”
BBC Three did just that, ordering a four-part series in October that year. Now, over two years later, Jerk is finally nearing our screens – and with the added bonus of Bracco as Tim’s loud, proud mum. The final comedy is written by Shaun Pye, Tim Renkow and Stu Richards and a co-production between Roughcut TV and Primal Media.
Renkow says: “I loved working with such a talented group of people – they even managed to make this reprobate look presentable. There was such a great atmosphere on set. It was like a family, except everyone really liked each other.”
Bracco adds: “It was such a pleasure getting to work with the uniquely hilarious talent that is Tim Renkow. It was a treasure to experience Tim’s world with him. I felt lucky.”
Shane Allen, Controller, BBC Comedy Commissioning, comments: “Jerk is by turns jaw dropping and hilarious. Tim is the ultimate kamikaze comedy rebel who takes risks and no prisoners. The entire ensemble on the show are knockout. Strap in for one of the most distinctive and outrageous sitcoms on air this year.”
Alex Smith, Roughcut’s Head of Comedy (and Jerk Exec Producer) says: “Roughcut is thrilled to unleash Tim onto the world. Tim Renkow is a fearless standup, who thrives on pushing the line of uncomfortable jokes. The transition from his stand-up talent to sitcom was hugely satisfying for Roughcut to collaborate on.”
Jerk will be available as a boxset on BBC Three and will also air on BBC One.
BBC Three orders full season of A Brief History of Tim
18th October 2016
BBC Three has ordered a full season of A Brief History of Tim.
The show, which was part of its recent Comedy Feed pilots, follows Tim Renkow, who has cerebral palsy, a condition that makes people assume he’s a sweet humble man, a victim. But they’re horribly wrong – and his condition means he can get away with saying whatever he wants.
“There’s something wonderfully more complicated going on beneath the surface,” we wrote in our review of this year’s comedy pilots, which singled out A Brief History of Tim as the best of the bunch. “On the one hand, it shows how society is so intently politically correct that it’s unwilling to criticise a disabled person for their behaviour, instead writing it off as part of their condition. On the other, it shows that there’s more to our lead than his cerebral palsy – and Tim Renkow makes the most of the opportunity.
“Clever, sweet and gleefully dark, A Brief History of Tim is all too brief. Someone commission a full series of this immediately.”
The programme will span four episodes, like Flat TV, which premiered earlier this year after its own Comedy Feeds pilot. It is written by Tim Renkow and Stu Richards, with executive producers Ash Atalla, Mat Steiner and Alex Smith. It is produced by Roughcut TV and Primal Media (set up in July in partnership with Lionsgate).
Ash Atalla says: “Tim is one of the best and most wrong comedians I’ve ever met. For that reason alone, Roughcut can’t wait to work with him on this BBC sitcom.”
“I’m very excited to be working with the BBC. I just hope I can beat my old employment record of two days,” adds Renkow.
The show is part a range of commissions from the Beeb’s recent Sitcom Season, with the BBC also ordering full seasons of its rebooted, updated Porridge and the pilot Motherland.
“With Porridge we have two writing legends putting a modern spin on their masterpiece, proving that their fingers are very much still on the comedy pulse,” comments Shane Allen, Controller, Comedy Commissioning. “In Motherland we have the wish-list writing powerhouse giving us a painfully accurate yet fresh take on the relentless emotional carnage of child-rearing.”
“This acerbic account of parenthood is a stellar piece of television,” we said in our review. “Written by Graham Linehan and Sharon Horgan, it should come as no surprise that the script is laced with spiky barbs and laugh-out-loud humour.”