Channel 4 is to broadcast three documentaries entitled New Hero of Comedy, which will cover the lives of successful British comedians of recent years.
According to Broadcast Magazine, the first episode will cover the career of Ricky Gervais, the second will feature to work of Matt Lucas and David Walliams and the final episode will be about Ali G and Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen. Each one hour episode is to be made by a different production company. Gervais' is to be produced by Tiger Aspect, Lucas and Walliams' by Shine and Baron Cohen's by North One Television.
The commissions have already come under criticism from some quarters though. The Guardian's Gareth McLean comments: "I'm not sure if it speaks more of the desperate barrel-scraping at the idea-free zone that is Channel 4 or the blunting of our critical faculties and the ease with which we're impressed nowadays concomitant with the devaluing of the terms "genius" and "hero", but this is some sort of joke, right? Are we seriously meant to believe that Gervais et al are heroes? Unless, of course, the measure of comedy heroism is the amount of merchandise you can shift."
The first documentary, the one about Ricky Gervais, is due to start at 9pm on the 22nd February. It will feature interviews with his collaborator Stephen Merchant as well as Billy Connolly, Michael Palin, Chris Rock and Matt Groening, who commissioned Gervais to write and star in an episode of The Simpsons.