The First Look at 'Douglas Is Cancelled' Features Lots of Familiar Faces

Hugh Bonneville and Karen Gillan in "Douglas Is Cancelled"

Hugh Bonneville and Karen Gillan in "Douglas Is Cancelled"

(Photo: Courtesy of Hartswood/ITVX) 

ITV has released a first look at its upcoming comedy-drama series Douglas Is Cancelled, a star-studded show with an impeccable pedigree and a seriously questionable premise. In the year of our Lord 2024, do we really need a workplace comedy-drama about cancel culture? We're all about to find out together thanks to this four-part series, which will explore the public fallout after a popular TV presenter makes an off-colour joke at a wedding.

The series is the latest project from Steven Moffat (Sherlock) and aims to explore issues of sexism, professional gender politics and social media. Your mileage can and almost certainly will vary on the wisdom of this decision, particularly given our current cultural moment, the overall lack of even the most "cancelled" of public figures facing anything like lasting consequences, and the frequent criticism of Moffat's depiction of female characters in his other properties. But hope springs eternal I suppose, and the series' cast is next-level excellent. 

Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) stars as the eponymous Douglas Bellowes, an established broadcaster whose time on the popular news program Live at Six has made him a national treasure. Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy) is his younger, more technologically savvy co-star Madeline, who has an active social media presence and a sharp mind. But things get complicated between them after Douglas makes a controversial joke at a wedding that's overheard --- and posted on social media --- by another guest. 

Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston in "Douglas Is Cancelled"

Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston in "Douglas Is Cancelled"

(Photo: Courtesy of Hartswood/ITVX) 

As the fallout worsens and the digital takes pile up, Douglas finds his life and career turned upside down and struggles to know what to do next. With her two million social media followers and stellar reputation, Madeline could really help her co-host out if she chose to. up and speak  defend him. But will she--- and perhaps more importantly, should she? Or is it time for Douglas to finally face some accountability?

Moffat, Gillan, and Bonneville have all worked together before. She played Eleventh Doctor companion Amy Pond during Moffat's tenure as Doctor Who showrunner, and Bonneville guest starred on the Season 6 pirate adventure "The Curse of the Black Spot." 

Nick Mohammed in "Douglas Is Cancelled"

Nick Mohammed in "Douglass Is Cancelled"

(Photo: Courtesy of Hartswood/ITVX) 

Alongside Bonneville and Gillan, the series' impressive ensemble includes Ben Miles (The Crown), Alex Kingston (A Discovery of Witches), Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso), and Simon Russell Beale (Operation Mincemeat). 

The four-part series is written by Moffat, who also executive produces alongside Sue Vertue (Inside Man) on behalf of Hartswood Films. Ben Palmer (The Inbetweeners) is directing the series which is produced by Lawrence Till (Silent Witness).

Here's the series' logline. 

National treasure news presenter Douglas Bellowes tells a sexist joke at a wedding - will his career survive? And is anyone, at home or at the office really on his side?  

“I just sat down and wrote this - didn’t even tell anyone what I was doing. And now it’s all happening, thanks to the amazing Sue Vertue (renowned tv producer and in a rare moment of weakness, my wife)," Moffat said in a statement when the series was first announced. "I can’t quite believe we’ve managed to get the mighty Hugh Bonneville involved as Douglas and that we’ve lured my old friend Karen Gillan back from Hollywood, to play Madeline. And like that’s not enough, we’ve got Ben Miles, Alex Kingston, Nick Mohammed and Simon Russell Beale. It’s the kind of cast that makes you terrified about stepping into the room.”

The series is produced by Hartswood Films (The Time Traveler’s Wife), in association with SkyShowtime and BBC Studios Distribution. 

Douglas Is Cancelled doesn't have an American distributor yet, but is slated to air in the U.K. on ITV and ITVX later this month. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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