The show, set around a travelling circus fraught with problems, stars Amanda Holden, John Thomson, Tony Robinson, Ruth Madoc and Sophie Thompson.
"Big Top is a heart-warming family comedy with real potential to capture the imagination of the BBC One audience. I am delighted it will be part of the new raft of comedies on the channel," said BBC One controller Jay Hunt.
Holden will play the part of Ring Mistress Lizzie, who has to overcome the circus's problems. Thomson and Thompson play a clown husband-and-wife team, while Robinson takes on the role of Erasmus, the cynical soundman.
The show is written by Daniel Peak (I'm With Stupid, Not Going Out) and directed by Marcus Mortimer (Jonathan Creek, My Hero).
Part of the series will be filmed in front of a live studio audience.