30 Years of Channel 4 comedy celebrated with retrospectives and new series

As Channel4 celebrates three decades on air the broadcaster turns to comedy with over 30 hours of titterlating new and retrospective comedy series across two weeks.

“Channel 4’s Funny Fortnight will be a two week long extravaganza of brand new shows, excellent stand up and some familiar faces returning to the channel with shows you will have never seen before. ” Say the press office.

Channel 4’s 30 Greatest Comedy Shows is a countdown of their top rating shows that made viewers laugh in Channel 4’s self-proclaimed ‘extraordinary contribution’ to British comedy; featuring classic clips and the stories behind them. Contributors include Simon Pegg, Al Murray, Charlie Higson, Vic and Bob, Jessica Hynes, Sally Phillips and many more. Made by Shiver, Ali Lynch is the Producer and Mark Robinson is Exec Producer.

Other specials include Best Episodes ever chosen by the writers including The IT Crowd, Father Ted, Brass Eye Special, Inbetweeners, Peep Show, Spaced, Star Stories, Vic Reeves Big Night Out as well as  Lost Gems which will broadcast ‘long forgotten’ moments from the Channel 4 archive including The Weekenders (Vic and Bob), Norbert Smith: A Life (Harry Enfield ) and Peter Cook’s genius appearance on The Clive Anderson Show.

Comedy Lab is another looking at the archive of Channel 4. This time looking at how many stars made their name on the network and how the channel became a breeding ground for brand new talent. Dynamo, Peter Kay – The Services, Anna and Katy, Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool.

There is also Harry Hill: The Reunion. A one-off show hosted by Harry looking back at the seminal series Harry Hill, which ran for three years on Channel 4. Harry will be seeking out the cast and asking “where are they now? “

It isn’t all looking backwards, the channel is also celebrating its anniversary with some new series, including Toast of London.

It’s a new sitcom written by Arthur Mathews of Father Ted and Big Train fame and Matt Berry. Starring Matt Berry of The IT Crowd. Steven Toast (Berry) is a successful actor. Now in his forties, Toast regularly appears in prestigious television dramas, and on the London stage. However, he has made a recent career faux pass by electing to star in a new controversial west end stage play. The play is considered so outrageous, that Toast is frequently attacked by appalled members of the British public. Recently divorced, Toast is staying with his friend Ed Howzer- Black and Ed’s elderly mistress, the agoraphobic Goodhouse. In the pilot episode Toast is asked to audition for the long-running television series, ‘Inspector Somerset’. However, the producer has been recently imprisoned for racial chanting on the set of his own production, so Toast has to audition for the part of a gay corrupt detective during prisoner’s visiting time.

Lucky Sexy Winners sees comedy geniuses Vic & Bob return to Channel 4 after a few years with BBC Two and once again rip up the rule book for panel and quiz show formats. Their new programme will feature brand new comedy talent, original sketches, new characters and several un-expected anarchic twists along the way.

The Boyle Variety Performance is Frankie Boyle’s unique take on a Royal variety event of a similar name. Complete with red carpet, celebrity guests, comedy, variety, music and a generous helping of Frankie himself, the show will come directly from a glamorous London theatre, and feature content so cutting edge and scurrilously funny that no self-respecting royal would ever dream of attending.

Just Around the Corner. Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton – co-creators of hit shows Outnumbered and Drop the Dead Donkey return to Channel 4 with Just Around the Corner, a comedy set in the future. It’s the story of a suburban family, the Pilches, who live in an uncertain, unsettling and warmer world where all the banks have disappeared, along with much of Britain’s coastline. The Pilch family encounter all the familiar dilemmas that have shaped family life through the ages, only this time those struggles are played out against the backdrop of a dystopian, dog-eat-dog future.

Channel 4 Comedy Presents, Them from That Thing. A new two-part sketch show that combines a core cast of Channel 4 comedy stars (Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners), Kayvan Novak (FaceJacker), Sally Phillips (Smack The Pony) and Morgana Robinson (Very Important People)) with a host of famous faces from the world of drama. Set in the modern world where serious characters say and do very stupid things, Them From That Thing combines the look and feel of great British drama with a silly and slightly unhinged comic sensibility. Written by Ben Caudell, Peter Holmes, Charlie Brooker, Neil Webster, Chris Grady and Robert Florence.

Very Terry sees Kayvan Novak star as car salesman turned international television star Terry Tibbs in this brand new chat show. Terry will subject his celebrity guests to his own unique brand of interview technique.

Bad Sugar written by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong stars three of the biggest female names in British Comedy – Olivia Colman, Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan – all of whom also co-conceived the idea. Bad Sugar centres on a dysfunctional, wealthy mining dynasty, with an ailing patriarch and some greedy siblings. It’s a peculiarly British take on telenovela style melodramas, played for laughs.

I’m Spazticus is a brand new prank show featuring disabled performers pranking able-bodied members of the public. A mix of hidden camera show and mock-doc the show will feature a number of recurring characters as well as one-offs. I’m Spazticus aims to be a fresh, cheeky, irreverent take on the prank show. A pilot, first aired on Channel 4 in 2005, won a Superfest International Disability Award.

The Function Room is a studio sitcom written by Dan Maier of Harry Hill’s TV Burp. Set in a pub function room which sees pub regulars who’ve booked the room for different events joined by new characters each week: In this episode, the function room is being used for a local community ‘Meet The Police’ event, with residents quizzing local police officers about crime in the area. But while the police plan simply to postcode valuables, the locals are only interested in one thing: who is the infamous Shit Egg Killer? And will they actually be able to call him that in the papers? Especially when he’s not even killed anyone.

There will also be TV Premieres of live shows from Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Evans and Micky Flanagan.

Shane Allen, Channel 4 Head of Comedy said “Channel 4 has been at the forefront of British comedy from day one. We’ve launched so many careers by backing new talent and have never been afraid to get in trouble all for the comedy cause. Channel Four’s Funny Fortnight is a chance to celebrate our achievements with a raft of new shows featuring many of the biggest names in British Comedy”.

Channel 4’s Funny Fortnight will broadcast in August.

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