Funny Woman — cast, plot, trailer, interviews, first look, and all about this comedy drama set in the 1960s

First Look! Gemma Arterton plays aspiring comedy star Barbara Parker in Funny Woman.
First Look! Gemma Arterton plays aspiring comedy star Barbara Parker in Funny Woman. (Image credit: Sky)

Funny Woman will take you back to the world of comedy in the Swinging Sixties which was of course thoroughly male-dominated. Most British stand-ups were in the mould of Bernard Manning telling their old-fashioned and crude mother-in-law jokes in smoke-filled theatres, pubs, and working men's clubs, and the majority of TV sitcoms had male leads too. Think Steptoe and Son, Till Death Do Us Part and legendary Tony Hancock.

Back then it would have been near impossible for a woman to become the biggest star in comedy, yet that's just the journey talented Barbara Parker, played by Gemma Arterton, takes in Funny Woman. Based on the bestselling novel Funny Girl by Nick Hornby (opens in new tab), the story follows the amusing and emotional adventures of Barbara Parker from Blackpool as she hits the big time and achieves unlikely comedy success in the 1960s by becoming a major TV sitcom star.

So here's all we know so far about Sky's new comedy-drama Funny Woman, plus take a look at the first look picture of Gemma as Barbara (see above)...

Funny Woman release date

Funny Woman is coming to the UK on Sky Max in October 2022 so is a big part of Sky's Autumn TV schedules. We'll of course update with US and international air dates, channels and news on Funny Woman when we hear. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales of the series on behalf of Sky Studios.

Is there a Funny Woman trailer?

Yes a teaser first look trailer for Funny Woman has now been released by Sky and it's wonderful to see all the 1960s comedy glory. The costumes and music are spot on for London in the Swinging Sixties and Gemma Areterton looks like she's having a hoot. Take a look below...

What is the plot of Funny Woman?

In Funny Woman it’s the height of the Swinging Sixties and Barbara Parker has just been crowned Miss Blackpool. She wants more out of life however than just being a beauty queen in a seaside town. Barbara wants to be someone famous! The bright lights of London are calling, and she sets off to find out who that someone is.

The London that Barbara arrives in isn't as quite as swinging as the one she’d heard about or seen on TV. After a series of setbacks, Barbara soon finds herself in unfamiliar territory — going for an audition for a TV comedy show. Barbara’s uncompromising northern wit proves to be just what the show has been missing. She gets the role and becomes part of a ground-breaking new sitcom which has an impact on British comedy for decades to come...

Funny Woman cast — Gemma Arterton on playing Barbara Parker

Gemma Arterton stars in Funny Woman as Barbara Parker — bold, brash, beautiful, and a force of nature who's ready to take London by storm, going from a Blackpool beauty queen to a TV comedy superstar.

Being a woman in the largely male environment of British comedy in the 1960s has many challenges, but as Barbara ‘finds her funny’ she re-defines the prevailing attitude to funny women and in the process, reinvents herself.

Gemma Arterton says: “It’s a heart-warming story of an ambitious woman with a dream of making people laugh – it’s going to be something special. It’s an honour to be working with such an incredible team and be reunited with my first ever director, Oliver Parker.

"Barbara Parker is very relatable to and I can relate to her a lot. She's quite silly. She's got a lot of comedy in her bones, and yet, you know, she's quite glamorous. She's a real clown, but a real working class girl. You know she's not perfect, although she's very ambitious, and sometimes it takes a lot out of her. But the audience is just going to love her. She's so very lovable."

Gemma got her big breakthrough as a Bond girl in the 2007 film Quantam Of Solace alongside Daniel Craig as 007. She then went on to star in major films such as Tamara Drewe and Clash of The Titans in 2010. She's also an acclaimed stage actress and had a big hit with the west End musical production of Made In Dagenham.

Funny Girl star in 2008 Bond movie Quantum of Solace.

Funny Girl star Gemma in 2008 Bond movie Quantum of Solace. (Image credit: Alamy)

Gemma starred in Clash of the Titans in 2010.

From fantasy to Funny Girl... Gemma starred as Io in Clash of the Titans in 2010. (Image credit: Alamy)

Funny Woman — who else is starring

Joining Gemma Arterton in Funny Girl are Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding, Adult Material) as Barbara’s agent Brian Debehnam, David Threlfall (Shameless) as Barbara’s father, George, and Behind Her Eyes star Tom Bateman as dangerously charming actor Clive. 

Clare-Hope Ashitey (Doctor Foster), Arsher Ali (Ackley Bridge, Informer, The Missing) and Alexa Davis (White House Farm, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!). Also look out for Emily Bevans (Temple, Grantchester), Leo Bill (Becoming Elizabeth) and Matthew Beard (Vienna Blood). As well as adapting the series, writer Morwenna Banks will also be starring.

Behind Her Eyes.

Tom Bateman in Netflix thriller 'Behind Her Eyes'. (Image credit: Netflix)

Funny Girl star Arsher Ali plays Samir Qureshi in Ackley Bridge.

Funny Girl star Arsher Ali plays Samir Qureshi in Ackley Bridge. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Clare-Hope Ashitey in Seven Seconds on Netflix.

Clare-Hope Ashitey in Seven Seconds on Netflix. (Image credit: Netflix)

Funny Woman — behind the scenes

Funny Woman was adapted from the Nick Hornby novel Funny Girl (opens in new tab)by comedy actress Morwenna Banks. Director of Comedy for Sky Studios, Jon Mountague, says: “With Morwenna Banks’ brilliant script, this was the perfect opportunity to bring a contemporary take on this inspiring story. Funny, smart and revealing — exactly what a Sky Original comedy should be, and we can’t wait.”

Funny Woman is directed by BAFTA nominee Oliver Parker. Among its executive producers are  Gemma Arterton, Nick Hornby, Morwenna Banks, Andrea Calderwood, Gail Egan, Jessica Parker, and Jessica Malik. The series was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content at Sky, Jon Mountague, Director of Comedy at Sky Studios and Tilusha Ghelani, Commissioning Editor for Comedy at Sky Studios. It's produced by Potboiler and Rebel Park Productions, in association with Sky Studios. 

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Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.