Nish Kumar and Josh Widdicombe Hold The Front Page for Sky

ExclusiveMonday 9th May 2022, 9:12am by Jay Richardson

Image shows from L to R: Josh Widdicombe, Nish Kumar

Nish Kumar and Josh Widdicombe are making a Sky comedy series about local news, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Shooting this summer, Hold The Front Page will see the pair championing the role that local newspapers play in the communities they serve.

The commission of an unspecified number of hour-long episodes on Sky Max follows a successful pilot last year, in which the comedians wrote a series of articles for the West Sussex Gazette, which was founded in 1853 and lays claim to being England's oldest newspaper. They also filed a match report from the Carabao Cup tie between Crawley Town and Gillingham, which finished 9-10 after penalties.

Recording the pilot was "so much fun" Widdicombe told BCG in an interview published today. "And now we're filming the full series this summer. I'm really excited about doing it because I'm so pleased with how the pilot came out, people really responded to it."

Kumar hosted news satire The Mash Report on BBC Two and the revived version of the show, Late Night Mash, on the Dave channel. A former host of both The News Quiz and Newsjack on Radio 4, he also presented topical transatlantic comedy Hello America on short-lived streaming service Quibi.

The Last Leg star Widdicombe is a former sub-editor for The Guardian's sport section who also wrote stories for Dora The Explorer magazine.

As a perceived face of the BBC, Kumar has been attacked by elements of the right-wing press, who have also criticised the corporation for the impact its news website has had upon local newspaper sales, which have declined significantly in the internet era. However, as print newspapers have declined and closed, traffic to local websites across the UK has surged.

Local daily newspaper sales in the UK fell by an average of 10% year-on-year in the second half of 2021, according to figures published by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) in February.

Hold The Front Page is made by CPL Productions (A League Of Their Own, There's Something About Movies).

Radio 4 piloted Hold The Front Page, a panel show about local newspapers in 2017, hosted by Sue Perkins and featuring Lucy Porter, Guz Khan and Phil Ellis. ITV also made a children's sitcom with the same name in 1974 starring Denise Coffey.

Kumar is currently touring his stand-up show Your Power, Your Control, while Widdicombe is on the road with his Bit Much... show.

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