BBC snap up sitcom

Mat Hobbins who is in Igun in It's Grim Up North

Mat Hobbins who is in Igun in It's Grim Up North

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A RADIO sitcom has been snapped up by the BBC after being aired online.

It’s Grim Up North started life as a pilot project that was uploaded to creators Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood’s website in the summer.

But when Nigel Dyson, controller of BBC Cumbria, stumbled across it he was so impressed that he has now commissioned the playwrights to write five six-minute episodes.

Starring Sunderland actor Matt Hobbin in the lead role of Igun, It’s Grim Up North follows the exploits of a group of dodgy Roman auxiliary soldiers building Hadrian’s Wall in AD126.

Supported by Sunderland University, the duo called on actor friends, including Matt, to record the pilot episode in July.

Also featuring former Emmerdale actor Dale Meeks, Dean Logan, Gary Kitching, Karen Traynor, Chris Connel and Jackie Fielding, who also directed the show, the sitcom features characters based at the fictional milecastle of Drizzlewort.

The episodes follow the lives of seven soldiers and a servant whose task is to man milecastle 17 with its cold stream bath and hole in the ground for a toilet.

The characters combine Britons from south of the wall, rebellious Picts and Roman auxiliaries from sunnier parts of the vast Roman empire.

Trevor said: “Hadrian’s Wall is a fantastic setting for a show and we hope people in radioland find it as funny as the positive responses we got from the website broadcast.”

Mr Dyson added: “I loved the idea, the setting, the script and the passion of Ed and Trevor when pitching this.

“It captures the imagination and uses our own region’s history to suggest just what it might have been like to be a soldier when Hadrian’s Wall was built.”

The duo now plan on adding more episodes to the series before taking the show on tour along Hadrian’s Wall.

They also hope It’s Grim Up North will follow in the footsteps of their previous hit Son of Samurai, which was performed at the Latitude Festival and other regional venues.

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