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.
Jonathan Ross is to present a food-themed comedy panel show pilot. The format is described as a 'mouth watering, light-hearted celebration of food in all its forms'.
John Bishop will present a new eight-part comedy and entertainment variety show on BBC One on Saturday nights from later this spring.
Channel 5 is to start broadcasting British comedy again. A deal with Comedy Central will see it broadcast series such as Impractical Jokers.
Funz And Gamez, Fishbowl and Barbara Nice are amongst the comedy that will be showcased across BBC events in Salford on the 12th and 13th May.
BBC Two boss Kim Shillinglaw has announced that Jim Howick will star in Stag, a comedy-thriller from The Wrong Mans director Jim Field Smith.
BBC Two has commissioned Mum, a new sitcom from the writer and producers of hit BBC Three sitcom Him & Her.
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