ITV announce new sitcom pilot with Russell Tovey
STORY UPDATE: The Job Lot has been commissioned for a full series. Story Guide
ITV1 has announced its first sitcom pilot commission since 2008, a comedy starring Russell Tovey as a Jobcentre worker.
Trade publication Broadcast reports that a non-broadcast pilot of The Job Lot will be produced by Big Talk Productions, the company behind BBC Three's Him & Her, in which Tovey also stars (as Steve, pictured).
Emma Rigby, best known for a role in Hollyoaks will also appear in the pilot, alongside Miranda and Horrible Histories star Sarah Hadland.
The Job Lot has been created and written by Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis and Stuart Lane, collectively known as Arkatim. It is the Birmingham trio's first commission, and is being produced by Hannah Pescod (Rev) and directed by Richard Laxton, who also heads Him & Her.
Its employment-search setting was previously explored by ITV in the highly successful Charlie Drake sitcom The Worker, which began in 1965 and lasted 13 years.
ITV was in past decades a comedy powerhouse to rival the dominance of the BBC, but has in recent years struggled to find the mildest success story. Its only current narrative comedy is Benidorm, which will return to screens on Friday for a fifth series, and its most recent other sitcoms, Teenage Kicks and Moving Wallpaper, both of which began a year after Benidorm in 2008, were cancelled by channel bosses after just one and two series, respectively.
However, ITV's Director of Television is former BBC One and TalkBack Thames boss Peter Fincham, who has executive produced series such as Green Wing, I'm Alan Partridge, The Day Today and Big Train, as well as commissioning many more. At the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August 2011 he admitted that ITV had "lost its nerve" for comedy, and hinted that the network - ITV1 in particular - would look to rectify this in coming months.
Rob Brydon is set to host a BBC Children in Need concert that will star Sir Tom Jones, and feature 'live and pre-recorded comedy pieces' about the singer.
Dave has confirmed the commissioning of Crackanory Series 3, with readers set to include Back To The Future star Christopher Lloyd, Sarah Millican and Greg Davies.
Robert Lindsay and Maureen Lipman will head up the cast of Bull, a TV sitcom set in an antiques shop.
Happy Days star Henry Winkler is to return to CBBC for a third series of his comedy drama, Hank Zipzer.
Phillip Schofield will return to ITV with four new episodes of comedy game show You're Back In The Room, in which contestants compete for cash whilst under hypnosis.
Spitting Image producer John Lloyd says he wants to bring back the satirical puppet format, possibly as an online show.
The comedians involved in new channel Dave show Taskmaster talk about taking part in the bizarre challenges. Read
Kunt And The Gang - the musical comedy act delivers 'songs of questionable taste' - talks about his career. Read
Glory Pearl explains why she will be performing her Edinburgh Fringe shows totally naked. Read
Milton Jones, Katherine Ryan and Seann Walsh, amongst the many comedians at Reading and Leeds festivals. Read