A British Cheers?

ITV plans star-studded pub sitcom

ITV1 is planning a ‘Cheers-style’ sitcom as part of a renewed drive to improve its comedy output.

The network is working on a pilot with American sitcom supremo Fred Barron, who brought a US-style team writing approach to the UK to create BBC One’s My Family.

And the show will have ‘stellar casting,’ according to controller of comedy Sioned Wiliam.

‘We're still in early the stages, but it's set in a pub and along the lines of the comedy of hanging out - a Cheers-style piece,’ she told MediaGuardian.

It’s one of a number of comedy shows the broadcaster has in development, revealed after the rival controller of BBC One, Peter Fincham, also vowed that comedy was a high priority.

Also on ITV’s slate is Crawford Park, a comedy set in a science research station, written by sometime stand-up Shaun Pye.

This show is an  ensemble piece set to star Peep Show's Robert Webb, Coupling’s Sarah Alexander and Frances de la Tour.

And, as previously, revealed, ITV1 is also working with Chris Langham, probably best known for People Like Us, for a comedy said to be similar in style to Curb Your Enthusiam.

Seven Second Delay, will be a ‘very dark’ semi-improvised piece, planned for a 10pm slot.

William said: ‘Chris is a hapless, late night radio phone-in host. He's useless at relationships. He's always getting himself into a mess because he hasn't quite been able to tell somebody that he really doesn't want to go out with them.’

ITV1 has also just commissioned an adaptation of Jonathan Coe's satirical Eighties-set novel What a Carve Up!

The script is being written by Reginald Perrin creator David Nobbs, and the cast of a recent radio adaptayion have been approached about reprising their roles.

They include Robert Bathurst, Fiona Allen, Rebecca Front, Charlie Higson, Alan Davies and Geoffrey Palmer, with Arthur Smith playing Sid James.


Published: 26 Sep 2005

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