Channel 4 today announces cast, with a first-look image, for This Way Up (previously announced as Happy AF); A pin-sharp and poignant new six-part comedy in association with Hulu in the U.S., written by and starring, actor and comedian Aisling Bea (The Fall, The Comedy Lineup).
Bea plays Aine, a whip smart English-as-a-foreign language (TEFL) teacher trying to pull her life back together after a “teeny little nervous breakdown”, as her sister Shona, played by Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Pulling), worries, not only about her younger sibling, but also about her own life choices. The TEFL school where Aine teaches brings together a room full of characters also trying to find their own hope, direction and happiness in this messy world.
Joining Bea and Horgan are Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show, Halal in the Family) in the role of Shona’s boyfriend Vish, Tobias Menzies (The Crown, Outlander, Game Of Thrones) as Richard, father to one of Aine’s students and Indira Varma (Patrick Melrose, Luther, Game of Thrones) playing Shona’s colleague and confidante Charlotte.
Other members of the cast include Sorcha Cusack as Aine and Shona’s mother, Chris Geere as Aine’s ex-boyfriend, Freddie, Kadiff Kirwan as Aine’s roommate Bradley, Ricky Grover as Aine’s friend Tom, Ekow Quartey as Aine’s boss James and Pik-Sen Lim, Todor Jordanov, Jassem Mougari, Daniela Spataru as Aine’s TEFL students.
Aisling Bea, writer and star, said: “After years of scripts and projects that never made it to air, this show is a bit of a dream come true, so I really bloody hope you like it. Sharon and I first played sisters in a TV show that got cancelled about eight years ago and we have gone on many drunken nights out across the world together since to stay in character for this project.
Channel 4 have supported and backed me in many ways for years now, so I am over the moon to have my little baby live with them and to have it go visit its step-mother Hulu in America too.”
Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, said: “Already an established stand up and actor, Aisling has delivered the most fantastically funny yet tender, poignant and surprising show in This Way Up and, with Sharon Horgan playing her sister, we get two of the funniest people on the planet putting their own glorious spin on the sibling thing. We love it.”
Clelia Mountford and Sharon Horgan, Executive Producers at Merman, said: “‘We are so happy to be working with Channel 4 again and to have made Aisling Bea’s first self-penned series for them. We’re very proud of what Aish has achieved with This Way Up and of the dedicated work from the whole team who worked alongside her. It’s a show that we always knew she had in her but what a thrill to see it come to life.”
This Way Up has been commissioned for Channel 4 by Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott and Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 Comedy, Jack Bayles,. The series will be produced by Merman. Executive Producers are Clelia Mountford (Motherland, Bliss), Sharon Horgan and Aisling Bea. This Way Up is written by Aisling Bea. The director is Alex Winckler (My Mad Fat Diary, The Good Karma Hospital), and the series producer is Gavin O’Grady. The series will air in the U.S. on Hulu.