Sam Bain

Sam Bain

Born Samuel Christopher Bain in West London, England, Sam Bain came from a family with a rich background in film and television: his father, Bill Bain, was an Emmy-winning director from Australia who helmed numerous episodes of British television, while his mother, actress Rosemary Frankau, was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a veteran of English theater and television. His maternal grandparents were also performers - Ronald Frankau was a celebrated English comedian and recording artist, while his wife, Renee Roberts, was best known for her supporting role on "Fawlty Towers" (BBC2, 1975, 1979) - and his cousin, Pamela Frankau, was a noted English author. Bain's interest lay in writing, and after graduating from St. Paul's School, he attended the University of Manchester. There, he met Jesse Armstrong in a creative writing class, and remained in contact with him after graduation through a series of humorous correspondence letters. The quality of their writing convinced Bain and Armstrong to try their hand at writing for television. After leaving his job at a London video store, the duo contributed sketches to the popular comedy series "Smack the Pony" (Channel 4, 1999-2003) and several children's series, including the long running "My Parents are Aliens" (ITV, 1999-2006). They also wrote a pilot for a proposed series called "Bread Heads," about hapless would-be entrepreneurs, which brought them to the attention of comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb. The duo commissioned Bain and Armstrong to create a series for them, which became "Peep Show." The sitcom, about the misadventures of two male friends from South London and their circle of girlfriends, neighbors and co-workers, was immediately distinguished by its semi-documentary style, which viewed the lives of the protagonists entirely from their point of view, with their thoughts heard in voice-over. Though a critical favorite and recipient of several UK television awards, "Peep Show" was never a ratings success throughout its nine seasons, which concluded in 2015, but it firmly established Bain and Armstrong as fresh new voices in British television comedy. While overseeing "Peep Show," Bain and Armstrong worked on a variety of other projects for television, radio and film. With Mitchell and Webb, they wrote the theatrical feature "Magicians" (2007) and for the BBC Radio 4 series "That Mitchell and Webb Sound," a sketch comedy program that later became a television show, "That Mitchell and Webb Look" (BBC Two, 2006-2010). The pair also created the short-lived comedy series "The Old Guys" (BBC One, 2009-2010), about a pair of elderly housemates, before penning the dark satirical comedy "Four Lions" (2010), about a quartet of would-be jihadists, with fellow UK comic performer Chris Morris. That same year, Armstrong began working on the critically acclaimed, BAFTA-winning political satire "The Thick of It" from writer-producer Armando Ianucci, which spawned the Oscar-nominated feature "In the Loop" (2009) and the HBO comedy series "Veep" (2012-). Bain contributed material to the first episode of "Thick" before moving to script editor duties for the second season of the comedy series "Rev." In 2011, Bain reteamed with Armstrong to create "Fresh Meat," a sitcom about six medical students sharing off-campus housing at a fictitious Manchester University. As with "Peep Show," the new series was a critical success, reaping wins from the British Comedy Awards and Royal Television Society Awards, and a proposed movie spin-off. After taking a solo turn as writer for a special episode of "Childrens Hospital" (Adult Swim, 2010-) that purported to depict the British version of the mock medical drama, Bain joined Armstrong for the soap opera satire "Bad Sugar" (Channel 4, 2012). The pilot was commissioned for series but then cancelled by the network over scheduling issues regarding the main cast, which included their longtime collaborator, actress Olivia Colman. Undaunted, Armstrong and Bain then teamed with director Danny Boyle and Robert Jones to create "Babylon," a comedy-drama about the lives of London police officers and the public relations office that supports them.