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.
Kenneth Williams, The Two Ronnies, Les Dawson, Spike Milligan, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are amongst the comedians profiled in new Gold series The Interviews.
The cast has been announced for Richard Marsh: Cardboard Heart, a new Radio 4 sitcom about a man who writes poetry for a greetings card company.
Jessica Hynes's suffragette sitcom Up The Women will not return for a third series, the BBC has confirmed today.
Holly Willoughby has signed up to present Play To The Whistle, a new comedy panel show for ITV focused on the world of sport.
The character Keith Lemon is to star in a one-off special on ITV2 celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first Back To The Future film.
Russell Howard's Stand Up Central, which launches in April, will feature guests including Doc Brown, Katherine Ryan and Joe Wilkinson.
Profiles of the six comedians who will take part in the 2015 Musical Comedy Awards 2015 final in London in April. Read
The latest episode of the political panel show podcast. It includes a discussion about what satire is. Listen
The Barbican has invited eight stars from the world of comedy to select their favourite classic comedy films. Read
Ray Peacock explains why he has decided to open up about his suicide attempt in his latest stand-up show. Read