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Summary

All 12 episodes of the anarchic radio sitcom about a man desperate to succeed in a world he doesn't understand.

Phil's trying to keep his business afloat and pay the rent. He's trying to get over his ex-wife, who divorced him three years ago. He's trying to be a better person. He's trying - boy, is he trying. He just needs a bit of a break (and a lot of luck), and things will surely start looking up.... 

Series one sees him going on a date with Ellie Evans, the florist next door; hosting an awards ceremony; organising a short-notice wedding (and falling in love with the bride) and getting a job as a takeaway delivery driver. Meanwhile, his assistant, Lolly, attends a funeral to take advantage of the free buffet, and comes to Johnny's aid when he gets trapped in a Dalek....

In series two, Phil tries to win a big cash prize in a pinball championship; accidentally joins a gym-based cult; discovers his dad is not dead but living in his loft and goes undercover to investigate the mayor's philandering husband. It's a case Phil's desperate to crack - but will he like what he finds?

Finally, series three finds Phil and Johnny embarking on a magical tour of the Cup A Soup factory, hosted by reclusive owner Billy Bonker. If only the other people on the tour weren't so set on getting themselves killed.... Plus, Phil reconnects with his Dad (again), only to be disappointed (again); puts on a ghost walk - but has competition in the shape of Mick the Chinese herbalist and faces the loss of his liberty and his reputation when he's accused of murdering a hipster....  

Created and written by Phil Ellis (Edinburgh Award Panel Prize winner 2014) and Fraser Steele (I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, 8 Out of 10 Cats), this madcap sitcom stars Phil Ellis as himself, Lolly Adefope as Lolly, Johnny Vegas as Johnny, Katia Kvinge as Ellie and Amy Gledhill as Polly. Among the special guest stars are Mick Ferry, Sean Lock, Alexei Sayle, Lee Mack, Desiree Burch, Mark Lamarr, Sindhu Vee and Jack Dee.

Production credits

Written by Phil Ellis and Fraser Steele

Produced by Sam Michell

A BBC Studios production

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 5-26 June 2018 (Series 1), 13 August-3 September 2019 (Series 2), 9-30 September 2020 (Series 3)

Cast

Phil - Phil Ellis

Lolly - Lolly Adefope

Johnny - Johnny Vegas

Ellie/Leanne/Mrs Tailor/Tanning salon owner/Gemma/Martha/Barber/Goth - Katia Kvinge

Old man/Waiter/Geoff/Morgan Freeman/Doreen/Ikea assistant/Father Josh/Sid/A-J/Jamie the builder/Tom Baker/Barry Bean/J-Dawg/Al Pacino/Bingo caller Terry Levoux/Keith/Geoff/Klaus Von Flump/Mr Kipling/Prison warder McKay/Paul McCartney/Hannibal/German tourist/Gravedigger/Orlando/Jarvis Cocker- Terry Mynott

Mick the Chinese herbalist - Mick Ferry

Polly/Miss Ecuador - Amy Gledhill

Announcer/Bear owner/HQ/Follower/Steve - Sunil Patel

The Dragon - Sean Lock

Goodison - Alexei Sayle

Bobby Dazzler - Lee Mack

Dave - Andrew Ellis

Mayor of Parbold/American tourist - Desiree Burch

Captain Birdseye/Basher/Graham McCartney/DJ/Keith the barman - Jason Barnett

Billy Bonker - Mark Lamarr

Prosecutor - Sindhu Vee

Judge Shawshank - Jack Dee

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about Phil Ellis Is Trying: The Complete Series 1-3

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