New comedy on Channel Four

Last week, Channel Four announced a slate of new comedy for 2011, and there are some very interesting new commissions for Noel Fielding, Frankie Boyle and Chris Addison as well as a surprise couple of extra episodes of The Inbetweeners.

After the third series ended, the E4 sitcom about four sixth-formers was thought to have come to a natural end with the A-Levels approaching. A film is currently in production, with the four boys on holiday together in Crete, which was expected to be the last we’d see of the characters, but it has now been announced that they will be back on the small screen for two special episodes.

Noel Fielding’s surreal new show, titled Boopus [Later renamed Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy], will be a mixture of sketches and animation “in the spirit of Spike Milligan or the Kenny Everett Show but using modern techniques”. Fielding was behind the look of the Mighty Boosh, including the excellent animated sequences used on their BBC Three series, but it remains to be seen how good the writing will be without Julian Barrett. It promises, at the very least, to be intriguing. As Noel says, “Television needs a madman! I want the show to be psychedelic and beautiful but have charm and personality”.

Controversial comic Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights will be a stand-up and sketch show from the former Mock The Week regular, while Chris Addison’s new format Show and Tell has been described by Channel Four’s Head of comedy Shane Allen as an antidote to Mock The Week. Three comedians will bring something in to “show” each week, while also discussing the week’s news events in a more relaxed, less combative style than the BBC Two series.

Other highlights include the darkly comic Naked Apes, a comedy-drama based around the lives of three Leeds paramedics, and more pilots under the Comedy Showcase banner. These include Chickens, a sitcom from sketch group The House of Windsor (Simon Bird and Joe Thomas from the Inbetweeners and Jonny Sweet) about three young men who, for various reasons, manage to avoid joining the forces during the First World War and are shunned by their fellow villagers. Simon Bird also stars alongside Tamsin Greig and Tom Rosenthal in Friday Night Dinner, set around the dinner table of a Jewish family. Written by Robert Popper, it looks like a series to look out for. Other new series include Campus, a former Comedy Showcase pilot set at a university, and The Morgana Show a sketch vehicle for comedian Morgana Robinson who was previously seen on the TNT show.

Series returning to the channel include the seventh series of Peep Show, making it the longest-running sitcom in the channel’s history. Pete Versus Life is back for a second series, along with Fonejacker and PhoneShop, while the British Comedy Awards makes its long-awaited switch from ITV.

New series coming to Channel Four’s digital stations include Beaver Falls on E4, a six-part series about three British guys who bluff their way into working for an elite American summer camp. Also coming to E4 is Meet the Parents, a prank show from the team behind Star Stories, where men think they are about their girlfriend’s parents for the first time but actually are introduced to some actors, who ensure that an embarrassing evening follows. On More4, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, starring Sharon Horgan, David Cross and Will Arnett is about an American who finds himself in charge of his company’s London office.

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