BBC3 relegates comedy

...but The Boosh finally arrive

The new BBC3 spring schedules have been unveiled ­ with comedy relegated to a back seat.

With Little Britain, Nighty Night and Vic and Bob's Catterick, he digital channel has generated some of the BBC's most acclaimed comedy of the past year.

But now it is moving its focus to drama.

A spokesman for the channel said: "BBC3 continually aims to raise the creative bar across all genres and to encourage new ideas and new talent.

"This strategy has been most successful in comedy and factual so far; drama is now set to follow."

However, two new comedy series were announced in the new line-up.

The first is the long-awaited first series of The Mighty Boosh, with Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt.

The show comes six years after winning the Perrier best newcomer award, and a year after a successful pilot.

It revolves around the surreal exploits of Vince Noir (Fielding) and Howard Moon (Barratt), zookeepers at the dilapidated Bob Fossil's Zoo-Niverse.

A BBC3 spokesman said the show, made by Steve Coogan's Baby Cow production house said: "It's a unique departure from the usual comedy formats, so is exactly what BBC3 should be doing."

Fielding added: "We've tried not to make it like anything else. That was our main goal.

"We hope it's quite accessible; we tried really hard to make it our thing, our world. I hope that comes across."

The second comedy is The Smoking Room, a comedy set it the nicotine-stained enclave of a large corporations.

Created by first-time writer Brian Dooley, it has been described as a cross between the Royle Family and The Office.

Characters include Robin, whose passion for the post boy is the company's worst-kept secret; Len, the grouchy maintenance man; and Heidi, whose pictures of her monstrously ugly baby, causes revulsion.

Published: 24 Mar 2004

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The line-up will feature Paul Merton, Richard Vranch, Neil Mullarkey Josie Lawrence, Lee Simpson and Andy Smart.

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