The 3×3’ minute series follows two best friends, Vanessa and Demi, who rise above their boring, sometimes painful lives by creating superstar rap personas – Starz and Gap C. These Southampton girls know you’ve gotta “fake it ‘til you make it” and then fake it some more. But will their success ever catch up with their ambition?
Studio71 UK, a Red Arrow Studios company, has been commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three, to produce ‘Fully Blown’, a new scripted short-form series.
The series stars Verona Rose and Donna Preston, comedy performers and writers who first came to Studio71 UK’s attention when a comedy skit they made went viral. Sarah Morgan (‘Not Going Out’, ‘Intelligence’) wrote ‘Fully Blown’ together with Rose and Preston, and it is directed by Ella Jones (‘Foot in Mouth’, ‘Sarah Chong is Going to Kill Herself’).
‘Fully Blown’ is inspired by Donna and Southampton-born Verona’s real-life experiences, and follows the story of two friends, Vanessa (played by Verona) who is torn between sticking with her comfortable, safe but hum-drum career or joining best pal Demi on chasing the dream they’ve had since childhood – to become music stars.
In the three-part series, we follow the duo on one of Demi’s side hustles as she tried to scrape together enough money to fund a music video shoot. They manage to blag a cameo in a music video of one of the UK’s leading grime stars – but their tactic to make a lasting impression doesn’t go to plan. What’s more, Vanessa has an underlying secret that could put an end to their music aspirations and even their friendship.
‘Fully Blown’ is a deep dive into friendship and aims to speak to viewers navigating young adulthood and the complexities of following your dreams in a world that’s increasingly tough for young people. The series plays with the theme of authenticity in an age of social media, where image is everything.
The series is drawn from Verona’s personal experience of growing up in Southampton where she felt, in her own words, ‘Too black for Southampton, but not black enough for London.’
Jody Smith, Studio71 UK’s Creative Director, says “Verona and Donna have created two characters that are so big and have so much heart that it was a challenge to cram them into a short-form series. It’s been fantastic working with them and the hugely talented writer Sarah Morgan and director Ella Jones – all the more special being Studio71 UK’s debut scripted commission.”
Sarah Asante, Commissioning Editor for the BBC, said “I couldn’t be more excited about the transmission of this project because showcasing new and emerging on and off-screen talent is what makes this job so rewarding. The stars of Fully Blown are a triple threat and I can’t wait to see how audiences respond to this project and all the projects we’re backing with the Threesomes strand on BBC Three…”
‘Fully Blown’ will be released by BBC Three. It sees Studio71 UK continuing to develop and produce original series, specifically for the underserved 16-34 bracket. ‘Fully Blown’ follows previous productions from Studio71 UK including factual series, ‘Forged With Steele’ on A+E Network’s HISTORY starring 20-year-old blacksmith and YouTube personality Alec Steele, and three factual short series for BBC, including ‘Sex in Seconds’ hosted by Come Curious, comedy series ‘Period Dramas’ and the upcoming ‘Fashion Conscious’ hosted by Grace Mandeville.
The series is Executive Produced by Jody Smith, Studio71 UK Creative Director and Tom Payne, Head of Content, and the Commissioning Editor is Sarah Asante for the BBC. It will be available on BBC Three.
Created by and starring: Verona Rose and Donna Preston
Also starring: Kemah Bob, Jo Martin, Daniel Barker, Ghetts
Written by: Donna Preston, Verona Rose, Sarah Morgan
Exec Producers: Jody Smith, Tom Payne
Director: Ella Jones
Producer: Alex Wilson
Associate Producers: Donna Preston, Verona Rose
BBC Commissioning Editor: Sarah Asante