BBC Four unveils comedy line-up

With Pryor, Amstell and more

Richard Pryor, Simon Amstell and PG Wodehouse will all feature in a raft of new comedy shows announced by BBC Four today.

Channel controller Richard Klein said the station would be having a year-long focus on comedy, inspired by its acquisition of hit US comedy Parks & Recreation.

Among the new commissions are a documentary in which Michael Grade traces the world’s oldest joke.

Historians, academics, comedy experts and comedians including Ken Dodd, Tim Vine and Barry Cryer will look at humour through the ages and consuder whether we are still laughing at the same things our ancestors did.

Meanwhile, documentary strand Storyville will present what it calls the ‘definitive biography’ of Richard Pryor, authorised by his family and directed by Marina Zenovich.

The series editor Nick Fraser has previously said: ‘We’ve wanted to do a film on him for a long time,’ adding that it will feature ‘a lot of great archive’ footage as it covers Pryor’s drug use, multiple marriages multiple sclerosis and groundbreaking stand-up.

Also next year, Brian Cox will also be bringing his Radio 4 character, Bob Servant to TV, as Chortle has previously reported. The series will revolve around the pompous Dundonian businessman trying to win a by-election.

And Simon Amstell will be performing a special version of his stand-up show Numb for the station, with a stripped-down, intimate performance, with no set and minimal lighting.

More Old Jews Telling Jokes returns; while BBC Four also extends the idea with Some Vicars, Some Scousers And Some Boffins With Jokes.

Finally, Tim Pigott-Smith and Zoe Wannamaker will star in the drama An Innocent Abroad, about PG Wodehouse’s tole in the propaganda battles of the Second Word War. The script has been written by Nigel Williams, who previously penned the film Elizabeth.

Published: 21 Nov 2012

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