About Outnumbered

Two parts scripted, three parts improvised, Outnumbered is the family sitcom with a difference, from the creators of Drop the Dead Donkey.


Outnumbered origins

The title comes from the fact the parents are outnumbered by their three children (geddit?). Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner play Pete and Sue, the put-upon parents of Karen, Ben and Jake, played by Tyger Drew-Honey, Daniel Roche, Ramona Marquez.

Pete teaches history at an inner city school while Sue is a part-time personal assistant. Jake is the eldest of their three children, Ben, the stubborn middle child has developed an exceptional skill for lying while the youngest, Karen, is too inquisitive for her own good.

Improv-erished beginnings

A lot of what you see in the series is improvised. Of course Hugh Dennis is no stranger to the world of improv, having appeared as a regular panellist on C4's Whose Line is it Anyway? and also for being a co-writer and performer on up to the minute topical sketch series The Now Show on Radio 4.

Keeping it real

Talking about the reason behind getting the cast to improvise around the storylines, Guy Jenkins told the BBC, "You rarely get the feeling that children in sitcoms are real. They tend to be the same type of character - the smartarse who says adult things - and they are rooted to the spot, staring at the camera, because they've been told to stand in one place and say the lines. We decided to attempt to do something that hadn't been tried before, bounced some ideas around and we got very keen on this idea of involving improvisation very quickly."

Drop the Dead Donkey

The series was created and written by Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton, famous for that other realistic sitcom, Drop the Dead Donkey set in the chaotic world of a television newsroom.

The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

Since the series started, Claire Skinner has played another mum, this time the plucky Madge Arwell in the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas special The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. No prizes for guessing the inspiration for the title!