Capaldi will helm They F**k You Up, which is based on Sarah Naish’s memoir But He Looks So Normal: A Bad-Tempered Parenting Guide for Adopters and Foster Parents.
The non-broadcast pilot will shoot early next year and is made by Tod Productions, the STV Studios-backed company founded by Vera producer Elaine Collins, and Sky Studios. The project was originally developed for the BBC.
They F**k You Up is written by Thomas Eccleshare, whose debut drama Witness Number Three aired this year on Channel 5, the UK broadcaster owned by Paramount.
Eccleshare, who collaborated with Tod and Capaldi on their upcoming Apple TV+ series Criminal Record, said the Sky Studios project was a “funny, honest and caustic” look at parenting. Naish adopted five children and But He Looks So Normal is a self-confessed bad-tempered guide to raising kids.
“She’s sort of like the best mother in the world and the worst mother in the world,” Eccleshare said. “She will leave her kids on the side of the motorway to make their own way home but also fully support them through their quite extreme difficulties.”
Although Sky Studios has yet to commit to a full series, Eccleshare said he had been commissioned to write a further two, half-hour episodes. The executive producers are Collins and Anil Gupta, who heads up comedy for Sky Studios. Katie Churchill is the producer.
Capaldi is better known as an actor but has directed in the past, most notably on Getting On, the BAFTA-winning BBC health service comedy. He is married to Collins.
Sky Studios is increasing the number of pilots it is producing as it looks to find hits to follow Chernobyl and Gangs of London.
Eccleshare is developing a second series for Sky, titled Schtum. He said it was a “Rush Hour for the 21st century” centering on the unlikely crime-fighting duo of a Hasidic Jew, who is a member of the Shomrim neighbourhood watch group in north London, and a Black female Metropolitan Police officer.
“They both go rogue against their communities to make this extremely odd couple fighting crime in a heightened Hackney,” Eccleshare said.
He has written the script with friend Tom Joseph. The project is housed at Monumental Television, the Harlots producer run by Alison Owen and Debra Hayward.
Schtum was originally developed for Channel 4. “The Channel 4 version was a little more Prime Suspect and this one is a bit more Fargo,” Eccleshare said.