Tracey Ullman returns to BBC with new show

Emmy-winning comedian to leave the US

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The Independent Culture

Tracey Ullman, the comedian who blazed a trail for a generation of female stars in the 80s, is to return to BBC1.

The performer, who made her breakthrough in the early-80s sketch show Three of a Kind, makes her comeback with The Tracey Ullman Show, a new series in which she portrays a “multitude of diverse and distinct characters living in, or visiting, the busy global hub that is the UK”.

An Emmy-winner, Ullman emigrated to the US where she starred in her own network television comedy series, which spawned The Simpsons, and produced shows for HBO.

Ullman, 55, who famously once appeared in a pop video with then Labour leader Neil Kinnock, said: “The BBC has changed a bit since the last time I worked here, when it was all men in bow ties who had completed National Service. Now there are a lot more women. Great ones.

“The important things haven’t changed, though. The BBC still provides an environment that allows you to the freedom to create the best shows possible.”

BBC One will also host a new annual Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture, akin to the Reith and Dimbleby lectures, in which a key comedy figure will articulate “why comedy matters so much, both on a personal level and how it helps to reflect and define our national character”.

A BBC spokesman said: “There is huge debate around satire because of events across the globe from North Korea and across Europe, and this lecture will be the chance for the comedy community in the UK to lead that debate and discuss what role comedy must play in a free society.”

A renewed commitment to political satire sees Rory Bremner return to BBC2 with a post-Election special, which will ask “who has really won, and why? With a new government installed, who really runs the country? And how?”

Bremner said: “The next lot will have a week to get their act together before we do. God knows what will happen. We certainly don’t. And nor do they. Join us as we make sense of the nonsense.”