‘Funny Girl’ preview: Gemma Arterton stars in Nick Hornby’s ’60s comedy

The first look at Sky’s new Funny Girl adaptation has been released.

Based on About a Boy author Nick Hornby’s 2016 novel of the same name, the comedy-drama series began filming last September in Liverpool, England.

Funny Girl stars Gemma Arterton (Their Finest) as “a young woman from Blackpool finding her comic voice in the male dominated world of the 1960s sitcom.”

The 35-year-old former James Bond girl is playing the “bold, stylish, and courageous” Barbara Parker, a “force of nature who takes London by storm” as we follow her journey from Blackpool beauty queen to comedy superstar and nation’s sweetheart.

Arterton’s most recent period drama role was in the BBC’s Black Narcissus mini-series in 2020.

Gemma Arterton will be joined in Funny Girl by Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding), as Barbara’s agent Brian Debehnam, David Threlfall (Shameless) as Barbara’s father, George, and Tom Bateman (Murder on the Orient Express) as dangerously charming actor Clive.

The cast also includes Emily Bevans (Grantchester), Leo Bill (Becoming Elizabeth), Clare-Hope Ashitey (Riviera), Arsher Ali (Informer), Alexa Davies (White House Farm), and Matthew Beard (Dracula).

Beard recently returned to our screens in a second season of Vienna Blood.

The official synopsis reads: “It’s the height of the swinging 60s and Barbara Parker has just been crowned Miss Blackpool – but there’s got to be more to life than being a beauty queen in a seaside town, right?

“She wants to be… someone. The bright lights of London are calling, and our determined hero sets off to find out who that someone is.

“The London she encounters is not as quite as swinging as the one she’d read about and seen on TV. However, after a series of setbacks Barbara finds herself in unfamiliar territory – an audition for a TV comedy show.

“Barbara’s uncompromising northern wit proves to be the X factor that the show has been missing. She gets the part and becomes part of a ground-breaking new sitcom which will have an impact on British comedy for decades to come.

“Being a woman in a largely male environment has its own challenges, but as Barbara ‘finds her funny’ she re-defines the prevailing attitude to funny women and in the process, reinvents herself.”

Here’s the first official promotional image for the series:

Funny Girl has been directed by Oliver Parker, best known for Swimming with MenThe Importance of Being EarnestDad’s ArmyDorian Gray, and the St. Trinian’s movies.

Gemma Arterton previously commented: “It’s a heart-warming story of an ambitious woman with a dream of making people laugh – it’s going to be something special.”

She added: “It’s an honour to be working with such an incredible team and be reunited with my first ever director, Oliver Parker.”

Funny Girl will premiere in the UK exclusively on Sky and streaming service Now TV in 2022.

We’ll let you know as soon as we hear who’ll be showing it in the US.

Nick Hornby’s novel Funny Girl is available on Amazon.