Sky1 to pilot Old Harry's Game

Thursday 30th September 2010, 11:30am by Ian Wolf


Old Harry's Game. Copyright: BBC

Sky1 is behind a move by several independent production companies to adapt BBC Radio 4's long-running sitcom Old Harry's Game for television as an animated series.

Hat Trick Productions and animation house Flickerpix are developing the pilot which will be presented to Stuart Murphy (Director of Sky1) and Lucy Lumsden (Sky's Head of Comedy) next week. Sky1 is co-funding the project with Northern Ireland media. David Cumming, head of Waddell Media, said he was inspired to create the pilot after reading a review in the Daily Telegraph that said: "What a shame it's so surreal that it will never make it to TV."

Old Harry's Game, which is a sitcom set in Hell, is one of Radio 4's longest running sitcoms, having broadcast seven series since 1995. Written by Andy Hamilton, the co-author of Drop the Dead Donkey and more recently Outnumbered, Hamilton also plays the main role, the underworld-weary Satan. The show also stars Drop the Dead Donkey star Robert Duncan as Satan's stupid, sycophantic and grotesque assistant Scumspawn and Hat Trick owner Jimmy Mulville as Thomas Quentin Crimp, probably the evilest human ever to have lived.

The pilot will feature a mixture of 2D animation and claymation, with possible plans to make a stereoscopic 3D version. The companies are currently working with old scripts but Hamilton has said that he is preparing to write new episode if a series is picked up.

This is not the first time a BBC radio comedy has been adapted for television by a rival broadcaster. Following one series on Radio 4, the improvisational comedy Whose Line is it Anyway? was adapted for TV by Hat Trick for Channel 4, which became one of the channel's biggest successes and one of the BBC's biggest commissioning blunders. Meanwhile, more recently, Radio 4's Ladies Of Letters has been turned into a TV series by ITV4 - with another batch of episodes due to be broadcast later this year.

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