Amanda Holden, John Thomson, Tony Robinson and Sophie Thompson are among the cast announced for a new BBC One comedy Big Top, based in a travelling circus.

The actors feature as the performers and backstage staff who make up Circus Maestro. Each week a story is unfolded, erected, performed and taken down just like the Big Top itself.

The circus is fraught with problems, which the ring mistress, Lizzie (Amanda), must overcome. Her job isn’t easy – how do you manage a group of people who are so jealous of each other that they’re happy to sabotage their colleagues performances; or so dedicated as performers that they are willing to sabotage their own survival?

BBC one controller Jay Hunt says: “Big Top is a heart-warming family comedy with real potential to capture the imagination of the BBC One audience. I am delighted it will be part of the new raft of comedies on the channel.”

Besides Amanda playing Lizzie, John Thomson and Sophie Thompson are the husband-and-wife clown team, Tony Robinson is Erasmus, the cynical soundman and Ruth Madoc plays Georgie, the Grande Dame of Circus Maestro.

Big Top will be filmed in front of a live studio audience and on location in and around London.

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