Looking for a new comedy to watch? Sky might have the answer for you: its upcoming series Funny Woman stars Gemma Arterton in the role of Barbara Parker, a factory worker and beauty queen in Blackpool who decides to pursue a career in comedy. However, living in ‘60s Britain, this isn’t a particularly easy feat, and Barbara has to try and make a name for herself in a male dominated world.

The plot is reminiscent of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the Emmy awarded darling that’s run for four seasons so far on Amazon Prime Video. While you might think Funny Woman is just a British rip off version, it’s actually based on a book by Nick Hornby in 2016, before the first season of Maisel was released.

The new Sky show is focused on the world of 60s sitcoms rather than stand up. Barbara at first is unsure of whether she can beat out the competition to land her first comedy role, but her northern sense of humour and performance skills get her hired.

In the show’s trailer, accompanied by some swinging 60s music, you get an idea of Arterton’s Blackpool accent, along with the character of Barbara: determined despite the low expectations people seem to have for her. The sexist attitudes of the time are shown too, with a producer telling her that she has to enjoy what she has while it lasts, before a younger actress takes her place. She’s also told that she’ll get to audition a role with “some words”. When she insists on no bikinis, her producer compromises: “Yet.” “Ever.” she replies.

Joining Arterton in the cast are Rupert Everett, who plays Barbara’s agent Brian Debenham, David Threlfall as her father George and Tom Bateman as fellow actor Clive. Meanwhile, writer of the show Morwenna Banks also has a role, and Oliver Parker directs. Arterton expressed her excitement of the series’ potential: “It’s a heartwarming story of an ambitious woman with a dream of making people laugh… …it’s going to be something special.”

You’ll be able to see how Barbara gets on in the 60s comedy world yourself when the show premiers in October on Sky Max.


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