Mandy on BBC2 – start date, plot, cast and everything you need to know

Diane Morgan stars as a woman short on cash but big on dreams in a new BBC2 sitcom...

After a successful pilot which aired on iPlayer last year as part of the Comedy Shorts strand, Mandy is coming to BBC2 for a full series. Here’s what we know about the show.

Mandy start date: when does it begin on BBC2?

The first episode of Mandy will air on Thursday 13th August at 9.30pm on BBC2, with the second episode airing straight afterwards at 9.45pm. All six episodes will be available as a box set on iPlayer after the first episode airs on BBC2.

What is it about?

The series follows the misadventures of Mandy, a woman with very little cash to her name who dreams of one day breeding Doberman Pinschers. Over the course of six episodes, we’ll see her attempting to find (and hold down) a job, entering a line-dancing endurance competition, renting out her spare room on Airbnb, trying to drum up new business for her best friend Lola’s salon, attempting to embrace a more healthy lifestyle, and even participating in one last heist.

Inevitably, Mandy’s plans never quite work out, and things generally take a fairly strange and surreal turn before crumbling around her – but as one of life’s optimists, Mandy never gives up on her dreams…

MORE: Harlots – everything you need to know about BBC2’s racy new drama

Mandy cast: who’s in it?

Diane Morgan as Mandy, with a high blonde hairdo, a pinched expression and a pink quilted jacket

Writer and star Diane Morgan as Mandy (Photo: BBC)

Diane Morgan – who also wrote and directed the series – plays Mandy in the sitcom. “Mandy is based on a real woman,” says Diane, who’s best known for her roles as Liz in Motherland and Philomena Cunk on Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe. “I can’t say who the woman is, because she exists and if she knew she might be offended – or maybe not! Because I think Mandy’s an absolute hero. You root for her, you want her to win. She’s so optimistic, she’s sort of a hero for our times – she just doesn’t have any money, that’s the only problem.”

Other regular cast members include After Life and Code 404 star Michelle Greenidge as Lola, with Alistair Green (Stath Lets Flats), Mark Silcox (Man Like Mobeen) and Michael Spicer (The Mash Report) playing various roles across the series.

Each episode also features a special guest star, including Plebs’ Tom Basden as a JobCentre advisor, Maxine Peake as Mandy’s former best friend turned nemesis Susan Blower, and ex EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy as Donna Ball, an old associate of Mandy’s.

A tense meeting in a pub between Mandy and Donna Ball

Why has Donna Ball (Natalie Cassidy) got back in touch with Mandy? (Photo: BBC)

“The cast is amazing – I can’t believe the cast I got!” says Diane. “I wrote down a sort of dream cast, and everyone said yes! I didn’t think that would happen.”

What else do we know?

  • Each episode is 15 minutes long, which Diane found both challenging and liberating. “They’re quite short, obviously you can’t do a big drama,” she explains. “You have to have one joke with a beginning, a middle, and an end – so they’re quite difficult to write! They’ve come out much weirder than I expected, but it’s very freeing to write something that bonkers. Almost anything can happen, because it isn’t Broadchurch – you can say ‘and then she falls off a cliff’, you can let your imagination run wild!”
  • The first episode sees Mandy getting a job killing spiders in a banana factory, a story that Diane later came to regret writing… “I thought, ‘obviously they’ll get a plastic spider that looks real, surely they can do that’,” says Diane. “But they said, ‘no, we can’t find out that looks real enough, we’re just going to bring in a real tarantula.’ And I’m absolutely terrified of spiders! I didn’t want to ruin the take, because I thought ‘if I scream, we’ll only have to do it again’. I’ve never been so scared in my whole life!”

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