‘Hello Ladies’ Stephen Merchant Scores BBC Xmas Film; MTV UK Remakes ‘Teen Mom: Young & Pregnant’; Fremantle Hires Unscripted Exec – UK Briefs

Hello Ladies star and The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant is teaming up with People Just Do Nothing’s Asim Chaudhry in a cross-country comedy for BBC One. The pair are to star in Click & Collect, featuring them as two mismatched neighbors driving across the UK to pick up the one toy that will make a little girl’s Christmas dreams come true.

The 60-minute special is written by Witless’ Joe Tucker and Lloyd Woolf and directed by The Inbetweeners’ Ben Palmer. It is produced by BBC Studios and Mondo Deluxe. Merchant said, “Every year, my family watch the big Christmas TV specials and my dad falls asleep half way through. This year, I’m very excited to be starring in a big Christmas TV special that my dad can fall asleep half way through.” Chaudhry added, “I’ve been a huge fan of Stephen’s work for many years so it’s a dream to be working with him! I’m also over the moon about the fact that my ten year old sister can finally watch something I’m in that’s family friendly and wholesome.’”

MTV is remaking its Teen Mom spin-off Young & Pregnant in the UK. The Viacom-owned broadcaster has commissioned a local version of the show, to produced by True North, the British production company behind Teen Mom UK. The show will take an earlier glimpse at parenthood than its counterpart – documenting the added complexities pregnancy can bring to young adult life. The docu-series will capture key moments in the lives of four young women from across the UK, as they approach motherhood. Teen Mom: Young & Pregnant UK was commissioned by Kelly Bradshaw, Vice President & Brand Lead, MTV UK and Antony Rochford, Director of Programming, MTV UK, and will be executive produced by Emma Clarke for MTV UK and Fiona O’Sullivan for True North. “Teen Mom UK lifts the lid on the reality of life as a teenage mother and with Teen Mom: Young & Pregnant UK we’ll meet young mums at the start of their life-changing journeys to parenthood. From their changing bodies to their changing emotions, viewers will get a candid insight into the lives of these young adults as they prepare to become mothers,” said Bradshaw.

Fremantle has appointed former 7 Wonder and Maverick exec Liza Abbott to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer, Unscripted, UK. Abbott joins The Apprentice and Grand Designs producer from 7 Wonder, which was recently sold to Banijay. She joins in November and reports to CEO Liam Humphreys. She will work across the unscripted labels – Thames, Talkback, Boundless and Shotglass. Humphreys, CEO, UK, said, “Liza has a superb track record in establishing the perfect ground conditions for creatives to thrive. I’m delighted that we have been able to attract someone of her commercial and creative calibre to join us as we continue to evolve and grow our UK business.” Abbott added, “Having long admired the creative and commercial clout of Fremantle’s UK labels I’m hugely excited to be joining Liam and the unscripted division. To be part of a team that consistently delivers such a world class slate of programming is a real privilege. I can’t wait to get started.”

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