Spinal Tap's Christopher Guest to make 'mockumentary' series starring Chris O'Dowd

Guest will write, direct and appear in his BBC One debut 'Family Tree'

As Nigel Tufnel, the raddled English rocker who wants his amp to go “one louder”, Christopher Guest secured his place in Hollywood comedy lore. Now the writer of This Is Spinal Tap has been lured to BBC2 for a new “mockumentary” television series, starring the in-demand actor, Chris O’Dowd.

The BBC announced that Guest, who spent much of his childhood in London, will make his debut for the corporation with Family Tree, an eight-part comedy series, co-written and co-created by the California-based star.

Shot in the same, fake-documentary, single camera style as This Is Spinal Tap, Family Tree partners Guest with O’Dowd, the IT Crowd actor from Ireland, who has been elevated to the movie world’s A-list following his breakthrough role in the hit film Bridesmaids.

Family Tree follows the journey of 30-year-old Tom Chadwick (O’Dowd), who suffers a crisis of identity after losing his job and girlfriend.

When Chadwick inherits a mysterious box of belongings from a great aunt that he never met, he starts investigating his family lineage and uncovers a whole world of unusual stories and characters, allied to a growing sense of who he is and who his real family are.

The series, which will require the actors to improvise material, is a partnership with HBO, the US cable channel behind Game Of Thrones and The Wire.

Co-written by Jim Piddock, Guest’s collaborator on Best In Show, his 2000 comic film about dog competitions, Family Tree will also feature Nina Conti, the comedian daughter of Tom, as Chadwick’s sister Bea and Tom Bennett (The Hunt For Tony Blair, Phoneshop) playing his best friend Pete.

The trans-Atlantic production will also feature Guest’s regular big-screen comic collaborators including Fred Willard, Ed Begley Jr. and Michael McKean, who played guitarist Michael St. Hubbins in This Is Spinal Tap.

Janice Hadlow, Controller BBC2, said: “I am delighted to welcome Christopher Guest to BBC Television. It will be his first television series for British audiences and one I am proud to have here on the BBC. It has a stellar cast led by the fantastic Chris O’Dowd and is an exciting collaboration with NBCU International and HBO. Family Tree will form a key part of the channel’s comedy next year.”

Guest, who will write, direct and appear in the series, said: “I am also delighted to welcome myself to BBC Television. I am very lucky to be working with an incredibly talented cast.  Chris O’Dowd has been on my radar ever since he was a child actor in Wales.”

The 64 year-old enjoys strong ties with Britain. The son of the 4th Baron Haden-Guest, a British diplomat attached to the United Nations, Christopher spent long periods of his childhood in the United Kingdom.

Inheriting his father’s title, Guest regularly attended the House of Lords, with his wife, the actress Jamie Lee Curtis, until the majority of hereditary peers lost their right to sit in 1999.

After the success of the 1984 heavy metal spoof, Guest turned his satirical eye to the folk boom of the early 60s with A Mighty Wind (2003) and Hollywood’s pretensions in For Your Consideration (2006).

Chris O’Dowd said: “I’m terribly excited and monumentally under-qualified to work on an improvised show with Chris Guest. I call him Chris ‘coz we are friends. He calls me George. I don’t know why.” Filming on Family Tree will continue until early next year, on location in the UK and Los Angeles, with the show due to air on BBC2 and HBO next Spring.

Family Tree is BBC2’s second comedy collaboration with a US studio. Episodes, the television industry satire, starring Matt LeBlanc and Stephen Mangan, produced with the Showtime cable network, has been commissioned for a third series.

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing