Everyone Else Burns

Everyone Else Burns will offer viewers “heart and warmth” to upcoming Channel 4 religious comedy.

Starring The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner actor Simon Bird, the series follows a family in a religious sect who believe the world is going to end. Bird stars as misguided patriarch David, with Kate O’Flynn, Lolly Adefope, Kadiff Kirwan and Morgana Robinson opposite the Inbetweeners alum.

A coming-of-age comedy about a Mancunian family and the puritanical Christian sect they are devoted to.

Everyone Else Burns explores life in a hyper-religious community and asks: how does an idiosyncratic family navigating modern day life protect themselves from eternal hell fire?

Will patriarchal David Lewis ever ascend the church ranks and become an Elder? Will dutiful wife Fiona deviate from her own dogmatic moral compass? Will their naïve 17-year-old daughter Rachel be allowed to go to university, and will 12-year-old son Aaron ever fend off his secular bullies? All could lead to damnation.

Following the success of The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner, Simon Bird is back on Channel 4 with a sitcom that stands far apart from those earlier projects.

Everyone Else Burns is an offbeat comedy following a family of four, all of whom are loyal members of a religious cult convinced that the apocalypse is coming – and they are some of the blessed few who will be absolved when it does.

Bird plays overbearing patriarch David, who dictates what his family should and shouldn’t do in order to retain the favour of the almighty, although cracks are beginning to show in his oppressive regime.

Everyone Else Burns is a subversive, authentic and bitingly funny exploration into what it feels like to balance faith, family and identity in a world that could end tomorrow (but probably won’t).

Everyone Else Burns is scheduled to premiere on Channel 4 at 10pm on Monday 23rd January and stars Simon Bird, Kate O’Flynn, Amy James-Kelly, Lolly Adefope, Alastair Roberts, Soph Galustian, Harry Connor, Ali Khan and more

Everyone Else Burns cast

Simon Bird (Friday Night Dinner) leads the cast of Everyone Else Burns as family patriarch David Lewis, who is a devout member of a religious cult that believes armageddon is just around the corner.

Kate O’Flynn (Death in Paradise) co-stars as David’s long-suffering wife Fiona, while Amy James-Kelly (Gentleman Jack) and newcomer Harry Connor play indoctrinated kids Rachel and Aaron.

Kadiff Kirwan (Slow Horses), Arsher Ali (Avenue 5) and Al Roberts (Stath Lets Flats) also feature as David’s rivals in the church, while Morgana Robinson (The Larkins) and Ali Khan (Red Rose) play outsiders who tempt the Lewis family away from their doctrine.

Fans of British comedy will also recognise Lolly Adefope (Ghosts) as school teacher Miss Simmonds and Liam Williams (Ladhood) as Joel, a troubled man in need of guidance.

Speaking to Deadline, Jax President Brooke Posch and Seymour said creators Dillon Mapletoft and Oliver Taylor never intended to poke fun at the subject matter. Each character goes on their own personal journey and there are nuances to the way in which they relate to their hyper-religious upbringing. The writers, who are currently working on an adaptation of their stage show Fix My Brain with Sex Education indie Eleven, were inspired by fast-paced, warmhearted comedies such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

“It’s easy to punch down in comedy and just write hard jokes that make fun of communities but it takes very skilled writers to bring heart and warmth,” said Posch. “Dillon and Oliver were aiming for that delicate balance. Family dynamics can be hard to talk about and this is essentially a family comedy where the stakes happen to be based on religion.”

Seymour added that “the more you watch the series, the more you will see the warmth come out.”

Kelsey Balance, co-producer NBCUniversal International Studios’ Senior Vice President, Scripted Programing, said the creative team “kept an eye on whether [the show] was being written with love” throughout the development process.

“We were trying to show that you can come of age at any age,” explained Balance. “At its heart is the family who are essentially a community and then the absurdity and subversiveness arises from certain situations.”

And the “subversion of traditional narratives” is a theme that Emily in Paris, Russian Doll and Broad City producer Jax always aims for, according to Posch, who was upped to President a year ago.

“Giving voice to characters who are not typically portrayed on screen is what we try to do,” she added. “Saying ‘this is unlike anything you’ve seen’ can be a tricky sell but at the same time we do it well and prove that we can break into the zeitgeist.”

Sporting a memorable bowl haircut, Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner star Bird was praised by the execs for the way in which he embraced the subversiveness, with Seymour stating “we heard Simon Bird’s voice when we first read the scripts.”

“He was always on the vision board,” added Balance. “Simon brought so much to the role and ending up being a great collaborator by bringing it to life.”

‘A case study in development’

Seymour also paid tribute to the writers, Channel 4 and NBCUniversal International Studios – which provided deficit financing and is shopping globally – for the pace at which the show went from script stage to screen, around three years, the majority of which included the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This felt like a case study in UK development,” she added. “We put this down to a lot of hard work and incredible scripts coming at an amazing pace.”

For Seymour, the launch of Everyone Else Burns marks a huge moment for Imagine Entertainment-owned Jax as its debut UK original to hit the screen and she revealed her hub is working on a BBC sitcom and projects with Channel 4 and Showtime.

“The goal here is to work with UK talent and shoot UK shows but always have themes that can transcend,” she added. “Brooke and I work as a team that can shop shows in both places. If something feels specific and universal at the same time then that is a sweet spot.”

Having sold the likes of Channel 4’s We are Lady Parts and BBC Dolly Alderton drama Everything I Know About Love globally, both of which were picked up by NBC streamer Peacock, NBCUniversal’s Balance said Everyone Else Burns represents the new way of thinking about “local for global shows.”

“As an American working in international I find it funny when people look at these things so traditionally,” she went on to say.

“Any show now comes from where it comes from and the more specific it is, the more universal it is. We are hesitant to say we are designing global shows because people suddenly think of sci-fi thrillers or KGB agents, but really it’s about characters and perspective.”

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