New LGBTQ+ comedy coming to BBC Three: ‘The tonic we need right now’

An LGBTQ-focused “chosen family” comedy is coming to BBC Three and promises to be the “tonic we need right now”. 

Smoggie Queens, written by Phil Dunning, who also stars in the sitcom, has been ordered by BBC Three and is described as an “out and out comedy”. 

According to the British Comedy Guide, the 30-minute episodes will follow “a gang of friends who are fiercely proud of their town of Middlesbrough and [its] small pocket of the LGBTQ+ community”. 

But all is not as it seems, with “a few passionate scraps that may send your wig flying” promised. 

Smoggie Queens is set in Middlesbrough. (Getty/Phil Silverman)

Having a ‘chosen family’ (non-biological kinship bonds) is common within the LGBTQ+ community and provides a supportive network that can help people find “that sense of belonging and safety”.

Dunning, who is known for Am I Being Unreasonable?, Boat Story and Springleaf, is from Middlesbrough, whose natives are often referred to as “smoggies”. He will play volatile Dickie, while drag queen Mam will be played by Shakespeare & Hathaway‘s Mark Benton.

Alexandra Mardell, probably best known as Emma Brooker in Coronation Street, also features, as self-styled “hun” Lucinda, with Patsy Lowe as the awkward Sal, and Elijah Young as Stewart.

So this is happening.


— mark benton (@markbenton100) May 23, 2024

Dunning is “absolutely buzzing” about the commission and is grateful to the BBC for allowing him to “write such stupid and weird characters”.

He said: “It’s been a beautiful dream working with [production company] Hat Trick. I can’t wait to introduce the sights, sounds and smells of Middlesbrough to the world.”

Hat Trick co-founder Jimmy Mulville said: “Phil has created and stars in a show which is introducing us to our new best friends. They’re the kind of people who look adversity in the eye and laugh. It’s just the tonic we need right now.”

BBC director of comedy Jon Petrie added: “Smoggie Queens is a show bursting with jokes and heart. Phil Dunning has concocted a brilliant ensemble piece that we know will refuse to go unnoticed.”

A broadcast date is yet to be announced. 

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