Bring five alive

Quest for the next big sitcom

Channel Five has launched a quest to find new comedy writers to create its first homegrown sitcom.

The station wants to create a half-hour comedy aimed at 25 to 34-year-olds and combining the mainstream appeal of Friends with the originality of Little Britain.

Five’s commissioning editor for comedy, Graham Smith, said: “We are throwing the doors wide open. Every script will be looked at.”

From those submitted, a shortlist of five to ten will be worked on, with the writers receiving advice from established mentors until the one with the most promise is developed into a potential eight or ten-part series.

The series will also be screened on the Paramount Comedy Channel, under a joint development deal announced earlier this year.

Smith, who joined Five from the BBC this summer to lead a drive for nee comedy, said: “We're looking at spending around £140,000 per episode - the kind of money spent on the first series of shows like Spaced and The Office.

“Inevitably this means we won't be making big, studio-based sitcoms, with a live audience and starry casts. Our shows are much more likely to be shot at one or two key locations, or on a standing set, probably on single camera, and featuring largely new on-screen talent.

“We want shows that will appeal to fans of The Office, Little Britain, Smack The Pony and Spaced, but also Friends and Will and Grace.”

Scripts should be sent to New Sitcom, Five TV, 22 Longacre, London WC2E 9LY

Published: 8 Dec 2004

Today's comedy-on demand picks

FRINGE ON FRIDAY

The virtual events that are trying to fill the Edinburgh Fringe void kick up a gear tonight with the first Fringe Friday gala gig, hosted by Suzi Ruffell, Jason Byrne doing a gig from his Irish home town, and the Free Festival co-ordinating a busy on-line line-up

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... including a new YouTube sketch series from comedy ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and Graeme Garden in conversation.

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