Black Books Wiki
Black Books
Black Books
TV programme information
  • Graham Linehan
  • Nick Wood
  • Karen Beever
  • William Burdett-Coutts
  • Nira Park
  • Julian Meers
  • Dylan Moran
  • Graham Linehan
  • Andy Riley
  • Kevin Cecil
  • Arthur Matthews
Original broadcast

29 September 2000 - 15 April 2004

Country of origin

United Kingdom

Running Time

25 minutes (approx.)

Created by
  • Dylan Moran
  • Graham Linehan
Camera setup




Original channel

Channel 4

Black Books was a British BAEFTA award-winning sitcom produced for Channel 4 starring Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig. It follows the lives of three friends, Bernard Black (Moran), the rude and obnoxious owner of the bookshop Black Books, Manny Bianco (Bailey), Bernard's long-suffering assistant, and Fran Katzenjammer (Greig), the owner of the shop nextdoor. The show was created and written by Dylan Moran, as well as Graham Linehan, Andy Riley, Kevin Cecil and Arthur Matthews, who co-wrote some episodes. The show's producers include Karen Beever, William Burdett-Coutts, Nira Park and Julian Meers.

The show is famous for its surreal and slapstick sense of humour and its strange and whacky characters, and has been compared to shows such as Fawlty Towers and Spaced. The show has proved quite popular in other countries outside of Britain, such as Norway, where it is known as 'The Crazy Shop!'. Most episodes work on the template that two characters (Bernard and Manny) have one sub-plot and the other character (Fran) has another, and at the end of the episode, both sub-plots join together to form a conclusion.

The show has featured many guest stars, including Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jessica Stevenson, David Walliams and Rob Brydon.


Bernard Black runs a rotting and eponymous bookshop in London, and just wants to be left alone. He holds the view that his shop would be brilliant if it weren't for the customers, and only just wants to drink, smoke and read in peace for the rest of his life. Fran Katzenjammer, owner of the shop next door, is Bernard's only true friend, and is constantly trying to find reason to have another cigarette or drink. When Manny Bianco, an unemployed ex-accountant who just wants to help people, is accidenly hired by Bernard whilst he was drunk, all three of their lives are sent into a tangle of annoying customers, red wine and drunken arguments


  • The show is considered a sister show to Spaced, a sitcom starring Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson and Nick Frost. Many of the actors in Spaced appear as cameos in Black Books.
  • The show started as a pilot at a 1998 Channel 4 sitcom festival in Riverside Studios. The plot was much darker, revolving around Bernard and later Manny's attempts to commit suicide.
  • There have been three series made, with 6 episodes in each. Dylan Moran has confirmed that there will be no more series.
  • The show aired between 29 September 2000 - 15 April 2004.


Year Ceremony Award Result
2000 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor (Dylan Moran) Nominated
2001 BAEFTA Awards Situation Comedy Award Won
2001 Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival Bronze Rose Won
2002 British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Nominated
2004 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a TV Drama (Dylan Moran) Nominated
2005 BAEFTA Awards Situation Comedy Award Won

DVD release[]

DVD Title Disc Original Broadcast Episodes
Black Books - The Complete First Series 1 2000 6
Black Books - The Complete Second Series 1 2002 6
Black Books - The Complete Third Series 1 2004 6
Black Books Complete Boxset 3 2000-2004 18