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BBC Orders Second Series of Jerk

BBC Orders Second Series of Jerk


Following the critically-acclaimed and award-winning first series, Tim Renkow is back. Having been previously forced to return to the US, he’s now enrolled himself on a post graduate course in London. Not that he has any intention of actually going. But a student visa means he can stay in the UK – where he intends to wreak more havoc. Milking the discomfort his cerebral palsy creates in others, and pushing the boundaries of what he can get away with for his own amusement.

Ash Atalla, Executive Producer and Roughcut TV MD, says: “We’ve tried really hard to get rid of Tim Renkow. Unfortunately Jerk has been recommissioned and we now have to continue working with the self-proclaimed genius that he is. You can’t win them all.”

Mat Steiner, Executive Producer and MD of Primal, adds: “It’s great that there is a still space on British TV where being a Jerk can be rewarded. We are delighted!”

Kate Daughton, Head of BBC Comedy, says: “We’re delighted to welcome back Tim Renkow’s outrageously funny Jerk for a second series. Tim has a unique voice and an ability to take down his targets like no one else. We can’t wait to see who he sets his sights on next.”

The series piloted as A Brief History Of Tim in BBC Three’s 2016 Comedy Feeds, showcasing emerging new talent, before its first series was commissioned and aired in 2019. Series one won a MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Award for its representation of disability and was described by Ian Hyland as “the sharpest new comedy I have watched in years” in a 5* Daily Mirror review.

Jerk series two will film in 2020 and be a BBC Three boxset on BBC iPlayer. It will also air on BBC One.

  • Jerk (4×22’) is written by Shaun Pye and Tim Renkow, and is a co-production between Roughcut TV and Primal Media for BBC Three. It has been recommissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three. The Executive Producers are Ash Atalla and Alex Smith for Roughcut TV, and Mat Steiner for Primal Media. It is produced by Roughcut’s Rebecca Murrell, and the Commissioning Editor for BBC Comedy is Alex Moody.

HOME FREE REVIEW: Gay Man with Down’s Syndrome is Hailed as an ‘Icon’ as He Declares ‘I like men with beards’

HOME FREE REVIEW: Gay Man with Down’s Syndrome is Hailed as an ‘Icon’ as He Declares ‘I like men with beards’


Viewers praised a gay man with Down’s Syndrome after he opened up about his struggles with his sexuality on Channel 4’s Home Free last night.

Curtis, 27, from London, who has Down’s syndrome, appeared on the documentary, which followed a group of young people with learning disabilities leaving home for the first time and moving into supported living apartments.

But while his mother Dale said he was ‘definitely gay’ and became ‘very excited’ when he was around ‘large bearded men’, she also suggested he struggled to cope with female attention, and could often end up ‘confused’ about his feelings.

Viewers were quick to fall in love with Curtis, with one dubbing him a ‘gay icon’ online.

Viewers fell in love with Curtis, 27, from London after he admitted he was struggling to navigate his sexuality on Channel 4’s Home Free last night

One wrote: ‘Curtis on Home Free is a gay icon. His pics for his tinder profile are class.’

Another commented: ‘Curtis is amazing and so is his mum supporting him, bless them both! Curtis some man would make you happy when least expected! Team Curtis.’

At the start of the programme, it was revealed that Curtis had recently moved away from his mother and into his own apartment in an independent facility.

His mum Dale is used to adjusting life at home, and so she has got two new cats to fill the space Curtis had left.

Viewers fell in love with Curtis on the programme, with one declaring him 'a gay icon' and others saying 'he should be on TV more'

Viewers fell in love with Curtis on the programme, with one declaring him ‘a gay icon’ and others saying ‘he should be on TV more’

She said: ‘The house is quieter, everything is quieter, a big hole where Curtis used to be and I have built up a long list of how it could go wrong and be terrible. But he can manage.’

As part of his move toward independence, Curtis works at a local cafe helped by a support worker, George, one day a week.

George revealed: ‘We help our clients learn to work in a work environment, manage money, do stock, work with customers.’

He added: ‘Curtis is a very bubbly personality, very loud, very affectionate.’

George described Curtis as ‘very loud and very affectionate’ after he exclaimed that the support worker was his boyfriend

Dale revealed that Curtis was ‘definitely gay’ and ‘couldn’t fake the fact that he gets excited by bearded men’

And while George started the washing up at the cafe, Curtis exclaimed his love for the man, saying: ‘You know how I want to marry you.

He added: ‘You’re my boyfriend. I like men with beards.’

Dale explained: ‘Curtis, he’s very definitely gay. He can’t fake the fact that he gets very excited about large bearded men and he wears his heart of his sleeve.’

Later, Curtis joined his friends in the block at a disco, with Curtis’ dance skills getting in plenty of attention from the ladies.

Curtis attended a disco with his fellow residents where he met Sarah, whom he declared was his girlfriend – despite being gay

After dancing with one girl, he told the camera: ‘I have a girlfriend! I don’t like guys anymore, I’m just interested in girls. Her name is Sarah.’

But Curtis appeared a little unsure of the decision to ask somebody to be his girlfriend, with his mother explaining he could struggle with his  sexuality.

Dale explained: ‘Curtis is a gay man. But he loves everybody. The confusion isn’t over his sexuality, it’s over how he copes with people making assumptions about him.’

She went on: ‘He gets so anxious about upsetting people because he knows he can’t really be with a girl.’

Later Dale admitted he was finding it hard to navigate his sexuality and ignore female attention as he said he felt ‘lonely’

His support worker Jade took him to one side to discuss the events at the disco.

He told her: ‘I will tell Sarah. I asked her to be my girlfriend. But I don’t like girls.’

Jade called it ‘a bit of an issue’, with Curtis explaining: ‘I decided to like men not girls. I don’t want a girlfriend. I feel lonely.’

Later, he told his mother that he had a girlfriend, which she called ‘unfair’.

She said: ‘Why have you got a girlfriend? I thought you wanted a boyfriend. It’s a bit unfair to agree to be somebody’s boyfriend if you’re gay.’

Later, Dale told Curtis is was ‘unfair’ to have a girlfriend when he knew he was only interested in men

But when Curtis admitted he felt ‘confused’, his mother told him: ‘You’ll know when it feels right.’

She told the camera:  ‘There are just not enough men in his life, not enough gay men. We have had a few talks about whether he’s ready for dating, but maybe that’s the next step.’

He went on to visit his family at home, when his brother Degs offered to help him set up a profile for a dating website.

And when he’s asked what the photos are for, he said: ‘To get me a boyfriend.’

After admitting he felt lonely, his mother Dale wondered if Curtis was ready to date, and helped him set an online dating profile

Degs explained: ‘He’s more ready for a relationship since he’s lived on his own, he’s more happy. it’s all he talks about.’

‘He’s wanted a boyfriend for about ten years.’

Viewers said they’d fallen in love with the man on the programme, with one declaring him ‘a gay icon’.

Later, his family helped him set up an online dating account, and snapped pictures of him to use on his profile

One wrote: ‘Go for it Curtis!’

While another commented: ‘Watching Channel 4 and cannot help but laugh, Curtis is the funniest wee man. Programmes like this just make me smile.’

‘Oh I just love Curtis and his mum,’ another wrote.


See full article here.

HOME FREE REVIEW: Hugely Life-Affirming and Heartbreakingly Honest

HOME FREE REVIEW: Hugely Life-Affirming and Heartbreakingly Honest


Home Free Channel 4, 10pm ★★★★

It’s a milestone depicted in decades of TV shows and novels: the moment a parent drops off their child at University, or helps them move out into their first flat. The offspring leaps down the corridor with glee while their mum or dad scramble around for a tissue and down a large coffee to get over the shock of it.

But what’s it like to say goodbye to your child if you never imagined they’d be able to live independently at all? Two-part documentary Home Free followed a group of young people with learning disabilities who were all about to leave home for the first time to start a new part of their lives in supported accommodation.

One of the best things about the film was the inclusion of the parents, who were heartachingly honest about how they’d assumed their child would never leave home, and were terrified to let them go – but now an opportunity for council-funded flats had come up, they’d be selfish to not encourage the move.

Doctors had said that Jade, a 25-year-old woman with cerebral palsy, would never be able to walk or talk, but here she was years later, jokingly squabbling with her mum over which cheddar to buy in the supermarket for her new fridge. “You’re being a big banana” she teased when hugging her tearful mum goodbye, her very own apartment key on a string around her neck. Later that night, Jade was the one who was suddenly tearful, but had a support worker to soothe her fears.

Home Free was hugely life-affirming, warm and non-patronising. It showed how, with the right help from loved ones and councils and brilliant support workers, more people might be able to enjoy the thrill of having their own space for the first time, of deciding to eat only pizza for two nights in a row, of unfettered silliness with friends. The scene in which 27-year-old Curtis, who has Down’s Syndrome, fried an egg for himself in his kitchen for the first time, showed beautifully that what seems like an ordinary rite of passage to some, is for others a greater cause for celebration that we can imagine.



Read the full article here.

Jerk Wins Representation of Disability Award at MIP

Jerk Wins Representation of Disability Award at MIP


Reed MIDEM has announced the winners of the MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards 2019, held in partnership with A+E Networks and Diversify TV, and Jerk scored a nod for representation of disability (scripted).

Jerk  is written by Shaun Pye and Tim Renkow, and is a co-production between Roughcut TV and Primal Media for BBC Three. The Executive Producers are Ash Atalla and Alex Smith for Roughcut TV, and Mat Steiner for Primal Media. It is produced by Roughcut’s Rebecca Murrell, and the Commissioning Editor for BBC Comedy is Alex Moody.

Primal Media Hires Ben Riley as Head of Development

Primal Media Hires Ben Riley as Head of Development


Primal Media has announced a key appointment to its senior team.

Ben Riley will join the business as Head of Development. Formerly Head of Entertainment Formats at Lime Productions, he was behind recent commissions in the UK and US including True Love or True Lies? for MTV and #Dating No Filter for E!.

Prior to that, Ben was based in Australia where he produced The Voice, Big Brother Australia and Beauty and the Geek and headed up factual entertainment development for Matchbox Pictures. He was previously associated with senior production roles on I’m a Celebrity…, Big Brother UK and 71 Degrees North.

Of his appointment, Ben said: “I am very much looking forward to joining Mat and Adam and helping to build on Primal’s brilliant slate. They make exactly the type of shows I like to watch – like unscripted movies – and whether it’s entertainment, reality or factual I relish the challenge of creating these types of ambitious projects”.

Mat Steiner, Managing Director of Primal Media, said: “The prize for bold content that can break through the noise and keep audiences addicted is higher than it’s ever been. The addition of Ben’s creative DNA to ours is very exciting”

It was recently announced that STV Productions has acquired a majority stake in Primal Media.  This follows the formation, earlier this year, of a strategic programming partnership between both companies to support STV Productions’ growth ambitions.

Last week, Channel 4 confirmed Primal Media has been commissioned to make coming of age, two-part documentary commission Home Free which will follow a group of young people with learning disabilities who are leaving home for the first time and moving into supported living apartments that offer up the chance of independent living.

Channel 4 commissions Home Free from Primal Media

Channel 4 commissions Home Free from Primal Media


Home Free will follow a group of young people with learning disabilities who are leaving home for the first time and moving into a supported living apartments that offer up the chance of independent living.   This coming of age moment, a big step in the lives of most young people, is a huge leap for this unique group.

The families have given extraordinary access to this incredibly significant moment in their young lives.  The 2 x 60 min series will feature laughter, new found friendships, blossoming relationships and at times heartache and tears.  Home Free will be packed full of wonderful characters, great actuality and some truly unforgettable moments.

Channel 4 Commissioning Editor Emily Jones said: “We feel incredibly lucky that we have been able to follow these young people as they  begin their exciting new lives. This series is a moving account of the challenges faced by those for whom independence is no guarantee. But it is also a joyful reminder of how brilliant and fun life can be when you are young, among friends, and starting out on your own.”

Primal Head of Factual Vicky Hamburger said “This has been a huge passion project of mine for a long time and I’m so proud of the films we have produced. Home Free is an extraordinary celebration of life and I hope we can learn so much from the fantastic housemates featured in these films.”

Production company: Primal Media

Camera, Producer and Director: Trevor Docksey

Executive Producer: Vicky Hamburger

Producer: Annabelle Draper

Assistant Producer: Clio Simmington

Editors: Mohsin Bhatti  / Rob Kendall

STV Productions acquires majority stake in award winning unscripted producer Primal Media

STV Productions acquires majority stake in award winning unscripted producer Primal Media


STV Productions has acquired a majority stake in innovative unscripted producer Primal Media.  The deal will enable STV Productions to realise full value from Primal Media’s current and future programming slate.  This includes current comedy series Jerk for BBC3 and two new programmes, both currently in production, for Channel 4.

Founded in 2016 by Adam Wood and Mat Steiner, Primal Media is behind a range of successful formats including RTS Award winning Release the Hounds for ITV2, Rose D’Or winning Bigheads for ITV and Carnage for Sky One.  Before Primal Media, Wood and Steiner developed and exec produced hugely successful formats including Cash Cab (over 5000 episodes worldwide), Gamesmaster (seven series for Channel 4) and international hit, Survivor.

The acquisition follows the announcement earlier this year of a strategic partnership between both companies to co-develop formats to target UK and international networks and is the latest step in STV’s ambitious plans to grow STV Productions into a world-class production company with a multi-genre slate of returning series under the leadership of managing director, David Mortimer.

Under the terms of the deal, Lionsgate, the previous majority investor in Primal Media will retain a minority stake in the business, with the founders holding the remaining equity.

STV Productions already has an established track record of success in entertainment as producer of seven series of Catchphrase for ITV, game shows And They’re Off…for Sport Relief for BBC One and Babushka for ITV Daytime, several series of Safeword for ITV and MTV/VH1 in the US, as well as The Dressing Room for UKTV’s  entertainment  channel  W, and Sex Tape, a four-part relationship series recently aired on Channel 4.

David Mortimer, Managing Director of STV Productions, said: “I am delighted to forge a closer relationship with Primal Media, which complements the strong track record in entertainment we have thanks to the work of Gary Chippington and his team.  I’ve known Adam and Mat for many years and have always thought of them as two of the UK’s most talented entertainment producers. 

I’m looking forward to working on bringing some really ambitious unscripted projects to screen with them and their fantastic team.”

Adam Wood, Joint Managing Director of Primal Media, said: “When we started talking to David about a regional partnership earlier this year, it quickly became apparent that our goals and strategies for growing Primal were very closely aligned. We are delighted that this relationship has rapidly developed and now look forward to creating new hit shows.”

The Mirror Review: The Humour Is So Close To The Bone You Can Almost Taste The Marrow

The Mirror Review: The Humour Is So Close To The Bone You Can Almost Taste The Marrow

Tim Renkow in Jerk.

American stand-up Tim Renkow’s Jerk is the sharpest new comedy I have watched in years.

Renkow, pictured, uses his cerebral palsy to get away with saying and doing things in public which no one should say or do in public.

The humour is so close to the bone you can almost taste the marrow.

As a result it’s one of those shows where you quickly begin to ask: “Should I really be laughing at this?”

Then you tell yourself, “If I’m howling this regularly and this loudly then it can’t be wrong.”

All four episodes are available now on the iPlayer and, presumably because Renkow is a bit lazy, they are all quite short.

Read the full article here.

JERK BBC REVIEW: Fleabag isn’t the only boundary-pushing BBC comedy you should be watching

JERK BBC REVIEW: Fleabag isn’t the only boundary-pushing BBC comedy you should be watching


Jerk is *quite* something.

Fleabag‘s brilliant season-two premiere rightly got everyone talking, but it was followed by something equally as bold.

As part of BBC Three’s new slot on BBC One, the first episode of Jerk got its broadcast premiere on Monday (March 4), having been available on BBC iPlayer since February 24. The seriously dark comedy now deserves to find a bigger audience.

Created by Tim Renkow and expanded from his one-off pilot in 2016, Jerk sees the comedian (who has cerebral palsy) play a heightened version of himself. The Tim in the show is an art-school dropout who knows he can use his disability to get away with doing just about everything, from being lazy at work to taking advantage of a refugee charity.

Jerk sets its stall out in the very first scene. In a cafe, Tim notices a douchebag go into the disabled toilet, so he intentionally spills a glass of water on his trousers and stands outside the toilet to prank the guy as he comes out.

You’d be forgiven for describing Jerk as Curb Your Enthusiasm with a disabled lead. Tim often isn’t remotely likeable, revelling in making people around him feel uncomfortable and saying things like he won’t lose his job because his hiring means “they don’t need to hire a transexual”.

But that’s the point. With Jerk (and his own stand-up comedy), Renkow wants to show that disabled people, like anyone else, can be utter douchebags too.

“Often with disabled people [on TV], that’s what defines them,” he told Joe. “That’s why the character is such a lazy piece of shit – because every other sitcom character is. I feel like disabled people are never allowed to be human. So he is just a human, with a lot of flaws.”

In an interview with The Guardian, Renkow explained that he also made Jerk as he’s “trying to find a group of people that I’m not allowed to make fun of”. And he definitely takes aim at a lot of different people and cultures.

Episode two, for example, sees Tim pretend to be a Syrian refugee called ‘Mohammed Ali’ (who also happens to be an ex-skateboard champion), just to get some free food. The breathtakingly un-PC episode sees Tim end up in a charity campaign video, led by a fame-hungry charity worker, and finishes with a final scene that’ll leave you stunned.

Jerk isn’t just about Renkow taking potshots at other people, though, as he happily turns the spotlight on himself.

Largely this comes from a wonderful performance from The Sopranos star Lorraine Bracco as Tim’s mum, who regularly mocks him for his laziness, but Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley also gets in on the act in episode three as Tim’s nemesis.

jerk, bbc

Alongside Bracco, the small regular cast features My Mad Fat Diary‘s Sharon Rooney as Tim’s dreadful carer Ruth and Rob Madin as the hapless Idris, one of the few nice guys in the show, although even he gets his moment to be selfish in the final episode.

And while the series does come to a fitting conclusion, we really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Tim and his horrible ways.

Jerk is available to watch in full on BBC iPlayer and continues on Monday (March 11) at 11pm on BBC One.

Read the article here

Beyond The Joke: Jerk Review

Beyond The Joke: Jerk Review


BBC Three has come up with a pocket-sized gem in Jerk. Following a one-off pilot in 2016, this is only a four-part series but there’s a surprisingly pleasing arc to it as we go from squirming at the main character Tim’s behaviour to cheering him on at the end. As they say, we laugh and we learn.

Stand-up Tim Renkow plays Tim, who, like Renkow, also has cerebral palsy. But that doesn’t mean the real Tim is quite as inappropriate as the fictional Tim. In the first episode, for example, he lands a job with a trendy card agency called Anarchy Hamster – think Moonpig for hipsters – and although he is clearly a talented artist he can’t resist talking about and drawing shit and discussing other bodily functions. Inevitably this gets him into trouble and eventually the sack, when he says of a breastfeeding colleague that “I didn’t think you could eat lunch at your desk.” This gives him the perfect chance the berate his brief boss for only employing him to tick diversity boxes.

Episode two has something of a Curb Your Enthusiasm feel to it as the perpetually barefoot Tim accidentally ends up pretending to be a middle eastern asylum seeker when he sneaks into a food bank for refugees to grab a free meal. Inevitably he has to keep up this pretence much longer than is actually necessary, eventually inventing an entire backstory when an entitled hooray Henry wants to make a documentary about him.

In episode three we have a bit of a cerebral palsy face-off when Tim meets Lee Ridley (Lost Voice Guy) who plays a rival artist. Their spat in the street in particularly hilarious as they hurl insults at each other, Ridley via his iPad, Renkow while wobbling about in his walking frame. Things look up for Tim, however, when he has a date, but when he takes her to Ridley’s art opening things don’t pan out as expected. Just to make things even more awkward, Tim’s American mum – played by Lorraine Bracco from The Sopranos – has come over to visit him.

In the final episode it turns out that Tim may have to be deported. His visa has run out and, unless he can very quickly get married or find a long-lost Egnlish relation, there isn’t much chance of him being able to stay in the UK. Will he be able to set up home here? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Tim seems like an unlikely hero at first, but one soon warms to him. The ruder he is, the funnier he is and weirdly the more amiable he is. He uses his disability to take advantage of people who dare not answer back. If there is a message here it is that people with cerebral palsy can be arseholes too.

Renkow, who wrote this with Shaun Pye and Stu Richards, is well-supported by Sharon Rooney as his gobby carer Ruth, Rob Madin as the wimpish Idris, whose thankless job is to fix Tim up with a job. Familiar comedy faces Luke McQueen, Lauren Pattison and Karl Theobald also pitch up. It would be good to see more of this – unlike Tim’s boss, let’s hope the BBC hasn’t commissioned this to tick diversity boxes.

Watch the full series of Jerk here and weekly on BBC One on Mondays at 11pm.


By Bruce Dessau on 1/3/2019