Caroline Aherne plans ITV comedy

...and Comedy Rocks will return

Broadcast Comedy Forum: Caroline Aherne is working on a new comedy show for ITV1.

The Royle Family creator is working on a new series with producer Jeff Pope, following their previous one-off for the channel, The Fattest Man in Britain

ITV1 head of entertainment and comedy Elaine Bedell told an industry conference in London yesterday that the plans were ‘quite well advanced’.

At the moment, Benidorm is the only sitcom on ITV1, although Bedell told the Broadcast Comedy Forum: ‘We want a companion piece.

‘Mainstream sitcom is very hard to get right,’ she said. ‘And there is no hiding place on ITV. We have to launch straight into peak time.

‘Not only do we expect high numbers – Benidorm gets six million – but we expect a return on our investment. We expect these to be returnable, long-running series.’

She accepted that the channel’s 60-minute primetime slots also made it difficult to launch a new sitcom, but added there may be a chance to produce 45-minute shows for Saturday nights. ‘It will be a slightly less scary place to be,’ she said – even though the slots would be immediately after big hitters such as X-Factor.

Bedell also said that ITV1 ‘wants a format to allow comedians to showcase their talent’, but added that panel shows they had piloted ‘didn’t feel heartland ITV’.

She also confirmed that Comedy Rocks would return in the new year with Jason Manford ‘and a host of new comedians’.

A pilot episode aired in March with Paul Zerdin, John Bishop, Jo Brand and Joe Pasquale as guests.

Published: 23 Sep 2010

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