New BBC Comedy website
I suppose for the relaunch of the BBC's Comedy website you would expect me to write something funny. Well comedy is, as we all know, a very serious business, and not much funny comes to mind over the last 18 months of research, development, pitch, more research, more development repitch, greenlight, go, stop, freeze, BBC Trust, start again but on the red button, no honestly you can start this time online we mean it - stop, only joking, it's just the money we've partly stopped you carry on. And we did.
From the outset our Commissioner Martin Trickey and I knew the potential for this was just huge. The BBC is after all the biggest comedy production house in the world, we generate hundreds and hundreds of hours of comedy on TV and radio every year. Then there's the fact Comedy is a cut through genre online, just look at BBC3 comedy punching above its weight on iPlayer, R4's Friday Night Comedy podcast delivering around a million stream requests a month, or BBC YouTube with Robert Webb's Flashdance having done over half a million views. So we've set out to leverage the BBC comedy portfolio online and also create a new playground for the next generation of comedy talent.
Already on the site you can find Stewart Lee and Armando Ianucci alongside new sketch acts like Broken Biscuits, Tommy and the Weeks and bedroom pioneer David Firth. And over the next few weeks there's loads more exciting stuff around the new Reece Shearsmith & Steve Pemberton comedy Psychoville, a web only version of HIGNFY, animated Just a Minute, exclusive work from masters of the web like Robert Popper and Ben Wheatley.
And then when we get a community around it we can start to play UGC games like the great stuff you find on B3TA or that Adam & Joe do so well on 6Music. Then with better functionality and leveraging the best brains from FM&T we can personalise, widgetise and globalise our comedy too. What you can see now is really just the end of the beginning.
Now about that budget...
Will Saunders is executive producer, BBC Comedy.