The BBC has confirmed it has ordered a full series of Juice, a new sitcom starring Mawaan Rizwan.
As British Comedy Guide revealed last year, a 35-minute Comedy Slice pilot was made, based on Two Weeks To Live star Rizwan’s 2018 Edinburgh Fringe show of the same name, which derives from his mother’s advice to him growing up that if “life gives you mangoes, make mango juice”.
Now, the BBC has confirmed it has ordered a six part series for BBC Three, before the pilot has been aired.
They say: “Juice follows Jamma (Mawaan Rizwan) who desperately wants to be the centre of attention, but his family are constantly stealing his thunder.
“Mum, Farida, always makes everything about her; Dad, Saif, ignores him; and brother, Isaac, steals the limelight at work – the one place Jamma feels like he’s doing well. And when he finally does get the validation from boyfriend Guy, he can’t handle it. Jamma’s hyperactive imagination goes into overdrive and the world transforms around him in this surreal comedy, written and created by Mawaan Rizwan.”
The star’s real-life relatives Shahnaz Rizwan and Nabhaan Rizwan will play his mum and brother, with Jeff Mirza as his dad, and Russell Tovey as his boyfriend.
Mawaan Rizwan says: “I feel very blessed to be given the opportunity to make my dream project. It’s about a guy who loves attention and makes everything about himself. It is NOT autobiographical.”
Jonathan Blyth, Director of Comedy for BBC Studios, comments: “We’re thrilled to be working with the wonderfully talented Mawaan and partnering with Various Artists and BBC Three on this hugely ambitious show, which will be a real treat for audiences around the world.”
As recounted in his 2018 storytelling show, Pakistani-born Rizwan’s mother became a Bollywood star after he featured her in one of his music videos. The wannabe showbusiness megastar’s father is a playwright, while his brother, Nabhaan, who is also an established actor, has shot HBO Max’s sci-fi mini-series Station Eleven, about a pandemic that wipes out most of the world’s population.
Directed by Gideon Beresford and Behnam Taheri under their pseudonym Rosco 5, who made the 2020 short Mondeo starring Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Sunil Patel, Juice is produced by Hannah Moulder for Various Artists Limited (Dead Pixels, Sally4Ever). Mawaan Rizwan executive produces alongside Phil Clarke for VAL TV and Tanya Qureshi for the BBC.
“Working with the hugely talented Mawaan has been a pleasure and a privilege” Clarke, managing director and executive producer for VAL, has previously said. “He has a unique comedy vision of the world, and the result is a show that’s truly original – heart-warming, life affirming, surreal, surprising and very funny.”
BBC Comedy commissioner Qureshi added: “We’re incredibly excited to bring Mawaan’s creation to the screen. He has such a talent for storytelling and performance – which clearly runs in the genes! With a fantastic cast and creative team behind the scenes, Juice is truly something special.”
Appointed as the BBC’s first Young People’s Comedy Laureate last July, with a remit to champion comedy as an artform, and to engage and inspire new talent to begin writing and performing, Rizwan was head judge for the corporation’s New Comedy Awards last year, as well as shaping and informing the BBC’s outreach programme in schools.
The series news was announced by Jon Petrie, the BBC’s Director of Comedy, in a speech at the BBC Comedy Festival, in which he revealed the corporation is set to invest extra £10 million into comedy over the next two years. A number of other commissions were announced today, including a new series of Bad Education and a Detectorists special. Full story