Huge Davies lands Channel 4 sitcom The Artists

ExclusiveThursday 16th December 2021, 9:00am by Jay Richardson

The Artists. Image shows from L to R: Huge Davies, Sinead Parker, Neil O’Rourke, Helen Bauer, Sunil Patel

Musical comedian Huge Davies has landed a semi-improvised, guerilla Channel 4 sitcom about buskers, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Written by and starring the 2019 Edinburgh Comedy Award best newcomer nominee, The Artists features Davies and fellow comics Helen Bauer, Sunil Patel, Sinead Parker and Neil O'Rourke as street entertainers performing their acts for real, unsuspecting members of the public.

Set in the "mythical busker's paradise" of the fictional town of Wybridge, the three-part, short-form comedy follows the lives of these creative eccentrics as they jostle for attention, delivering a mix of musical comedy, scripted scenes and improvisation, much to onlookers' bemusement.

Produced by Spirit Studios, who made Channel 4's Trigger Happy TV revival in 2017, which also featured discreet filming and interactions with the public, The Artists will debut on the channel's YouTube from 30th December, then across its social media platforms and on All 4.

The Artists. Huge Davies

With his trademark, neck-slung keyboard, Davies, who was born Hugh but adopted an old nickname when he started stand-up, plays a one-man band.

Bauer is a human statue, Patel is a magician, O'Rourke an escapologist and Parker, of the macabre double-act Norris & Parker, whose live shows Davies has cameoed in, is an interpretative dancer. Stand-up Travis Jay also has a role as a council worker.

The characters treat Wybridge as an underground artistic haven, the perfect place for them to perform their "culturally significant" and "ground-breaking" street performances in what they perceive as a legendary ongoing artistic festival. In reality, the residents seem completely indifferent to the self-declared talent in their midst.

"I've loved every minute of making this show with some of my best friends in front and behind the camera" Davies said. "Thanks to Spirit Studios who had my back from the start and thanks to Channel 4 for taking the plunge. I was across 99% of all of this so if it's no good, there almost no-one else to blame."

Directed and executive produced by Morgan Jones (The Stand Up Sketch Show, Comedy Against Living Miserably), The Artists was commissioned by Channel 4 digital commissioning executive Thomas Pullen.
"We're really excited about this new series with its blend of scripted comedy and discreet filming, shot almost like a nature doc where our buskers are like rare endangered species" said Pullen.

"We are always looking for new ways to play with the form of established genres in our digital content and Spirit Studios and Huge have really delivered, taking us into the world of these quirky, comical characters."

Matt Campion, creative director of Spirit Studios added: "We're thrilled to be working with the brilliant Huge Davies on The Artists.

"The blend of discreet filming and scripted comedy, all taking place in front of an unsuspecting town feels genuinely innovative and exciting. I can't wait to see how the audience receives it."

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