Avoidance: plot, stars and everything we know about Romesh Ranganathan’s new comedy

Romesh Ranganathan created and stars in new BBC comedy Avoidance.
Romesh Ranganathan created and stars in new BBC comedy Avoidance. (Image credit: BBC1 )

Avoidance is a new comedy for BBC One created and co-written by comedian, actor and presenter Romesh Ranganathan. 

The six-part series, starring Weakest Link host Romesh, sees him play a dad called Jonathan who’ll do anything to avoid confrontation. Jonathan has been driving his long-term partner Claire (Jessica Knappett) crazy for years and as the series begins she’s decided she’s had enough and their relationship is over for good! 

Here we tell you everything you need to know, including what Romesh has to say about it the show...

Avoidance release date

The six-part series will begin on BBC One on Friday 10 June 2022 at 9.30pm and will be released as a box set on BBC iPlayer. 

Avoidance — Who is starring in it?

The comedy has a fantastic cast. Comedian Jessica Knappett who worked with Romesh on his Dave comedy Judge Romesh, plays Jonathan’s long-suffering partner, Claire. 

Newcomer Kieran Logendra plays Claire and Jonathan’s nine-year-old son, Spencer. Mandeep Dhillon (star of Netflix’s After Life)  plays Jonathan’s supportive sister Danielle and Lisa McGrillis, best known as Kelly in hit series Mum, plays Danielle’s no-nonsense and outspoken wife, Courtney who can’t stand Jonathan. 

Romesh Ranganathan and Kieran Logendra star in new BBC1 comedy Avoidance

Jonathan with his son Spencer in Avoidance. (Image credit: BBC)

Avoidance plot 

The first episode sees Claire tell Jonathan that their relationship is over for good and that she wants him to move out of the family home. Claire insists they need to tell Spencer what’s going on as soon as possible, however Jonathan is in complete denial and convinces himself it’s no more than a minor blip. He decides to run away with Spencer but gets no further than his sister Danielle’s house where he continues bury his head in the sand.

Did Romesh write the comedy? 

Yes, Romesh created and co-wrote the comedy along  with writer Ben Green who directed it.  Romesh says, "Ben and I first conceived this idea in 2017 and have been thinking about it on and off ever since, so if it disappeared after one series it would be really annoying. If I say the BBC have committed to three series in this quote, do they have to honour that?"

Romesh Ranganathan stars in new BBC1 comedy Avoidance.

Jonathan pictured with his family in Avoidance.  (Image credit: BBC)

Avoidance — What does Romesh say about his character Jonathan? 

"Jonathan is a conflict-avoidant beta male", explains Romesh. "He’s been with Claire for a long time but she finds him incredibly frustrating as he never shows any signs of having any real backbone or stepping up to situations. He won’t accept that their relationship is over. As far as he’s concerned he’s not done anything wrong. He’s not cheated on Claire or flirted with someone else. He can’t really see what the problem is!"

Kieran Logendra stars as Spencer in Avoidance with Romesh Ranganathan

Kieran Logendra stars as nine-year-old Spencer. (Image credit: BBC)

Avoidance — Have we seen Kieran Logendra, who plays Jonathan’s son in anything else?

No, this is Kieran’s first big TV role. 

Romesh says, “Kieran is amazing. When we were casting for the role we wanted someone who was really natural. At the auditions he was laughing at the lines like he was hearing them in a real conversation and we thought, ‘This is great!’ He’s a megastar in the making. One of my favourite scenes was the first one Kieran and I had together. It was a really nice moment, swiftly followed by waves of anxiety about my own performance." 

Avoidance — Jessica Knappett who plays Claire on her favourite moments 

Avoidance stars Romesh Ranganathan and Jessica Knappett

Comedian Jessica Knappett plays Jonathan's wife Claire.  (Image credit: BBC)

Jessica says she really loved the fact that the cast could improvise.

“I really enjoyed any scene where Claire was putting Jonathan in his place, especially because Romesh in real life is all about the withering put-downs” says Jessica. "It was fun sparring with him and it’s such a buzz when you’re given the freedom to ad lib a bit, especially when the person you’re playing opposite happens to be one of the funniest comedians in the UK. That said, I’m pretty sure most of it was unusable because we were just laughing instead of acting but the main thing is we enjoyed ourselves."

Mandeep Dhillon who plays Jonathan’s sister Danielle, ‘Dan’ tells us about her character

Avoidance stars Romesh Ranganathan and Mandeep Dhillon

After Life star Mandeep Dhillon plays Jonathan's sister Danielle aka Dan.  (Image credit: BBC)

Dan works as a therapist and lives with her wife Courtney. Mandeep says, "She tries to stay positive and in control but finds herself reverting to childish arguments when she’s around her brother Jonathan."

Mandeep continues, "Having Spencer and Jonathan stay with them and seeing Courtney warming to having a child in the house reawakens Dan's desire to have her own. The problem is that discussion was put to bed years ago and Courtney isn’t the best at being open to change!" 

Lisa McGrillis who plays Danielle’s wife Courtney reveals whether she has any similar traits to her character... 

Avoidance stars Romesh Ranganathan and Lisa McGrillis.

Lisa McGrillis is Danielle's wife, Courtney, who has no time for Jonathan at all.  (Image credit: BBC)

"The difference between myself and Courtney is that I have a filter and Courtney doesn’t", says Lisa. "She unashamedly says exactly what she feels and doesn’t dampen the blow. She thinks Jonathan is pathetic and needs to grow a backbone. I’d probably be much more empathetic!"

Is there a trailer for Avoidance?

Yes, the trailer shows Jonathan doing what he does best, and that's avoiding the fact his life is falling apart in front of his very eyes! You can watch bellow...

Avoidance is available to watch from Friday 10 June 2022 at 9.30pm and will be released as a box set on BBC iPlayer

Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week, Whattowatch.com

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.