Backstage with Katherine Ryan axed, as she lands Comedy Central pilot – British Comedy Guide
ExclusiveWednesday 12th October 2022, 2:36pm by Jay Richardson
Backstage With Katherine Ryan will not return for a second series on Amazon Prime, the comedian has revealed. However, British Comedy Guide has learned that she is now piloting a game show for Comedy Central.
Stand-up showcase Backstage, which featured comedians performing and discussing their sets offstage, has not been recommissioned, Ryan told her Telling Everybody Everything podcast today, because the show was too expensive to make and didn’t attract a big enough audience.
Frankie Boyle, Jimmy Carr, Sarah Millican, Jo Brand, Sara Pascoe, Tom Allen, Sue Perkins, Nish Kumar, Joel Dommett, Russell Kane, Rob Beckett and Rosie Jones were among the acts to record sets for the series, which was made by Expectation Entertainment (Alma’s Not Normal, The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan) and recorded at London’s Roundhouse venue last year.
With Geoff Norcott in a sidekick role, penning roasts for Ryan to introduce the other comics with, other acts featured in the six 30-minute episodes, which aired in June, included Seann Walsh, Nick Mohammed, Judi Love, Darren Harriott, Desiree Burch, Ivo Graham, Michelle de Swarte and Joanne McNally.
“It’s not coming back, though a lot of people really liked it, we filmed it during the pandem [sic] and they were double PCR-testing everyone, everyday, the whole audience, everyone, it just costs so much money to do all that,” Ryan said.
“And then I caught Covid – spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen it, fuck you, you’re the reason it’s not coming back,” she joked. “We had to cancel the whole last day. I’m sure insurance covered some of that.
“But it was a really expensive, ambitious show to make and people liked it but ultimately, it didn’t get the viewership that they hoped. So that’s a shame, that’s not coming back. But we move on.
“Something new and exciting will be going on soon. And if you haven’t seen Backstage With Katherine Ryan, I really stand behind it, on Amazon Prime Video, a wonderful show that showcased so many of my friends and comedians that I love.”
The show was the Canadian comic’s first commission for Amazon, after she released her sitcom The Duchess and two stand-up specials on rival streamer Netflix.
Reviews for Backstage were mixed, with the Guardian suggesting, somewhat bizarrely, that it was “just another comedy show with a shadow one running backstage. It’s funny, and it grants us moments of insight – but only enough to make it feel like a missed opportunity”.
However, an episode in which Ryan and Pascoe discussed sexual abusers in television generated widespread coverage in the national press.
Last month it was revealed that Ryan was shooting a pilot episode of game show Make It Hard. But the broadcaster and further details were scarce. Ticketing site Standing Room Only advertised that the show would feature “four of the funniest guests in the country” and a celebrity co-host alongside Ryan, plus “daft questions, obscure facts and laughs aplenty”.
BCG has now determined that the 30-minute, non-broadcast pilot is made by Youngest Media, the production company behind Craig Charles‘s Channel 4 quiz show Moneybags, and its intended destination is Comedy Central.
Ryan is currently performing her stand-up show Missus. Last month it was announced that Louis Theroux has been following her on tour, as she is one of the subjects of his latest BBC interview series. The comic is also currently making a Channel 4 travelogue with Joe Wilkinson, Joe And Katherine’s Bargain Holidays.
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