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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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BBC One to pilot pre-watershed comedies

BBC One is set to pilot a range of pre-watershed comedies, it was announced today by Lucy Lumsden, BBC Controller, Comedy Commissioning.

The initial development initiative will be for three pilots.

At a BBC Comedy Forum hosted by Jana Bennett, Director, BBC Vision, Lucy also announced a brand new pre-watershed comedy commission for BBC One.

The New Impressions Show (working title) with Jon Culshaw (Dead Ringers) and Debra Stephenson (Coronation Street, Bad Girls) is a series of eight half-hours featuring Jon doing what he does best alongside Debra and a supporting cast of new impressionist actors.

Jon and Debra's targets will range across the worlds of popular culture, sport and politics to deliver a good natured poke at contemporary life.

So it's time to see EastEnders, Simon Cowell, The One Show, The Apprentice, Wayne Rooney, Boris Johnson and Gordon Ramsay, all through the wonky fairground mirror of impressions.

Lucy said: "In a bid to broaden out the scope of pre-watershed comedy on BBC One, Jay Hunt (Controller, BBC One) and I have decided to pilot a range of comedies in this slot and look forward to receiving big ideas with big talent attached from all sections of the comedy community."

Other details to emerge from the BBC Comedy Forum included the desire for more female-focussed comedy for BBC Two.

Lucy is also keen to commission more hour-long comedy dramas along the lines of Sunshine and Jonathan Creek and is looking for more ideas for all channels from the nations and regions.

The other big story of the day was the unveiling of the new BBC Comedy website, Comedy Extra.

This hugely-improved site will not only support up-and-coming comedies, but will also feature web-only commissions, classic archive comedies and much much more.

Will Saunders, Executive Producer, Multiplatform, BBC Comedy said: "Comedy Extra will be a new low-risk playground for BBC Comedy. It's a place to develop the next generation of comedy talent and somewhere you will find established names taking risks and doing something a bit different."

Martin Trickey, Multiplatform Commissioning Executive, BBC Comedy, said: "I want Comedy Extra to 'be' funny rather than 'about' funny."

The Comedy Extra site will soft launch later this month.

KT/CP

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