Simpsons showrunner Josh Weinstein developing UK comedy
American television writer and producer Josh Weinstein is developing an adult, animated comedy series for British television audiences, it has been revealed.
Weinstein has already acted as showrunner, heading the writing team, for new CBBC comedy Strange Hill High, and is now working with the same production team to develop an original series for mature audiences.
Strange Hill High is a childrens' sitcom that uses a unique and groundbreaking mix of traditional puppetry, CGI and stop-motion animation known as Hypervynorama. Its first series debuted on CBBC this week and a second is already in production for broadcast in 2014.
Strange Hill High is produced by Altrincham-based Factory Transmedia, with whom Weinstein is now developing the new adult-orientated format.
Speaking at an event to mark the BBC's move of many services to Manchester, Phil Chalk, producer and managing directo of Factory Transmedia, described a British animated comedy series for adults as his "holy grail", but would not be drawn on the "top secret" new Weinstein project, according to trade publication BroadcastNow.
Animated comedy has somewhat of a mixed history in Britain, with Aardman's family-friendly stop-motion adventures featuring characters such as Wallace & Gromit the only notable successes.
In November, Channel 4 launched adult cartoon series Full English, produced by Los Angeles studio Rough Draft, whose other credits include The Simpsons Movie and Futurama, to almost universally negative reception.
In association with Baby Cow Productions, the channel has also experimented with cartoons based on various Viz comic strips, but none are yet believed to have progressed beyond short, online-only episodes.
It was also Channel 4 who broadcast the previous notable animated series, Bromwell High, an adult sitcom set - like Strange Hill High - in a secondary school somewhere in London. A co-production between Hat Trick Productions and Canada's Teletoon channel, 13 episodes were produced by only seven ever broadcast in Britain.
The BBC has had more mixed fortunes. It broadcast two largely well-received series of Stressed Eric between 1998 and 2000 on BBC Two, but cancelled the airing of BBC Three's Popetown in 2004 before a single episode had been transmitted, due to protests from Roman Catholic pressure groups. That series has since been released on DVD.
No further detail on the new Weinstein project is publicly known, but ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC are all known to be looking for new adult comedy hits.
Here is a trailer for the current series of Strange Hill High:
In the following clip, Blue Peter's Helen Skelton looks at how the Strange Hill High puppets work.
Newspaper reports suggest that Peter Kay is working on bringing his hit sitcom Phoenix Nights back for some live shows for Comic Relief.
Bill Kerr, who played Tony Hancock's dim-witted Australian sidekick in Hancock's Half Hour, has died at the age of 92.
Frankie Boyle has blasted TV commissioners for not taking risks, and criticised Mock The Week for no longer talking about important topics.
The results of the prestigious Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014 have been announced. John Kearns, Alex Edelman and Phil Ellis are the winners.
BBC One has ordered a comedy drama series based on Emma Kennedy's best-selling book, The Tent, The Bucket and Me.
BBC One has ordered Mountain Goats, a sitcom about a mountain rescue team. The comedy was piloted earlier this year under the title Miller's Mountain.
Win a copy of Series 1 of Cuckoo on DVD, the sitcom starring Greg Davies and Andy Samberg. Enter
Thom Tuck talks Munnery, Bambi, expensive dross at the Fringe, piles of rubbish on BBC3, and more. Read
BBC Radio Comedy will be running comedy writing information sessions in London and Manchester. Read
David Walliams, Catherine Tate, Philip Glenister and Frances de la Tour talk about Big School Series 2. Read
Lord Alan B'Stard, First Marquess of Haltemprice, has died at the age of 58, it has been confirmed. Read
Lucy Beaumont talks about how she got started in comedy, and what she misses about leaving Hull. Read
Musical comedian Aidan Strangeman has won the 2014 So You Think You're Funny? new act competition. Read
A photo gallery providing an intimate insight into the pre-gig routines and notes of some of comedians. Read
The shortlists for the prestigious Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014 is here: Read
Stand-up Romesh Ranganathan talk schools, comedy writing advice and more in this interview. Read
An interview with stand-up comedian and podcast host Stuart Goldsmith. What is his own masterplan? Read
Gary Lucy, Andrew Dunn and Louis Emerick are amongst the stars for The Full Monty live UK tour. Read
Tim Vine has won the award for the funniest joke at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe festival. Top 10 gag