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Sketch troupe land web deal

First internet venture for Talkback Thames

Sketch group Navelgazing – which includes The Office’s Jamie Deeks and Ewen MacIntosh – has signed a two-year deal to develop new comedy for the internet.

The agreement marks the first move into web comedy from Talkback Thames, the ‘super-indie’ production house behind The IT Crowd, Green Wing and The Apprentice.

The first Navelgazing project is Toyboize, a sitcom in six, five-minute parts about what happens to a pre-teen pop band when they reunite 20 years after their fame.

These episodes will be published on YouTube and the dedicated website, toyboize.com, along with video diaries and additional sketches.

As well as Deeks and MacIntosh – who played Jamie and Keith in The Office – Navelgazing includes Jack Brough and Dan Johnston. All four will now be based in Talkback’s office where they will develop ideas for the web as well as conventional TV shows.

Brough told TV industry newspaper Broadcast: ‘We're treating [Toyboize] as the pilot of an internet comedy show, but have deliberately produced six small storylines that could become snatches of a series if picked up for TV.

‘We're filming every day throughout the series, and people's responses will feed the narrative.’

Ricky Gervais helped the team write the theme song for Toyboize, I Like U Girl.

Talkback has also boosted its comedy team by hiring Phil Bowker, the producer of BBC Three comedy Pulling, as a comedy editor to develop new scripts.

Here is one of Navelgazing’s earlier web sketches:

Posted: 22 May 2008

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