Acorn has two big pieces of news: they are co-producing a new biopic of legendary comedian Benny Hill and expanding Acorn TV to Latin American territories. Olé!
On the content side, Acorn Media Enterprises has partnered with Free@Last TV to develop the first-ever scripted biopic about Benny Hill, who, despite his immense popularity, led a lonely life.
Lonely Boy: The Benny Hill Story is an original drama miniseries that spans the life and times of Benny Hill — from his early days as a part of a double-act, to his heady height of fame as the most-loved British primetime comedian lauded on both sides of the Atlantic, to his tragic death in 1992 — and charts his tragic decline and fall in the late ’80s as a new generation of rising stars usurped his shtick.
The deeply moving and uplifting drama, whose title is taken from one of Benny Hill’s classic 1960s hits, follows the journey of a cripplingly insecure young lad with a single-minded desire to make people laugh, through the last days of an entertainer who is ultimately saved from obscurity by television. It also examine the double-standards of the tabloid press.
Helping Benny Hill to achieve his goal is a surrogate family: a ‘brother’ in comedy writer and lifelong friend Dave Freeman and a ‘father’ in producer/director Ken Carter, and later Dennis Kirkland — Benny’s longtime TV collaborator and author of the Benny Hill biography Benny & Me (aka Benny: The True Story). These men believe in Benny when no one else does, and help and hone him both emotionally and professionally.
Said Barry Ryan, Creative Director of Free@Last TV:
“Benny Hill is a lost national treasure and a much-misunderstood man. Our drama will reignite his legacy and address some of the misconceptions about the man and his material while also chronicling the dying days of variety entertainment and the birth of television.”
Added Lonely Boy writer Caleb Ranson:
“When I was a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s I loved Benny Hill, his skits and wordplay and especially his songs. Then as I got older, like the rest of the country, I fell out of love with him. Why was that? What happened? Around the world he’s still revered but here in the UK, he’s all but forgotten. A punchline to a bad joke. I want to reclaim him from the comedy dustbin of history, to explore the Benny nobody knows, the ahead of his time comedy genius of the 50s and 60s and why in his twilight years he fell so hard and so quickly out of favour.”
Lonely Boy was developed by Free@Last TV’s David Walton (Agatha Raisin) in partnership with Caleb Ranson (Midsomer Murders). The series consultant is Hilary Bonner, who co-authored Benny & Me with Dennis Kirkland.
Stay tuned for updates.
And on the distribution side, Acorn TV is now available in twelve Latin American countries — Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru — through Roku® streaming devices. Consumers in these territories can subscribe to Acorn TV via their Roku streaming player as well as online at acorn.tv for US$4.99 per month (roughly MXN$89).
Programs are shown in English and Spanish subtitles are available. Acorn TV’s launch titles in Latin America include Series 1 of the hit Brit dramedy Doc Martin; Series 1-3 of Irish detective drama Jack Taylor starring the Iain Glen (Game of Thrones); Series 1 and 2 of the gritty hit crime thriller Line of Duty; the complete series of the original Poldark; British historical drama The Great Train Robbery; Aussie cop drama East West 101; the charming Wales-set period drama The Indian Doctor starring Sanjeev Bhaskar (Unforgotten); and the addictive British drama The Syndicate, amongst many other series. Acorn TV will add new programs regularly.
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