It's no real secret that Sky have been on the hunt for British comedy over the last few years. The likes of Hunderby, Moone Boy, Alan Partridge: These Are The Places of My Life and countless others have all lit up our screens in recent years, and the company are deeply proud of what they've achieved thus far. Time though waits for no man (or pay TV provider) and Sky have to keep on top of the competition if they're to keep customers from heading for the exit door. Today's news that they've commissioned a new comedy from some of the brightest minds in TV comedy is therefore very welcome indeed.
The new show will find Joe Wilkinson (Him & Her) and David Earl (Derek) step back from the front of the camera and head into the writers room to pen their own sitcom, entitled 'Rovers'. It's about the fans of a local lower league football side, the Redbridge Rovers, and will be produced by Jellylegs, the production company which was co-founded by Craig Cash. Craig will also be taking the directors chair, after his most recent directorial work helming The Cafe in 2011.
Starring Sue Johnston (The Royle Family) alongside Joe Wilkinson and David Earl, Rovers promises to take us inside the clubhouse of a lower league football side, as we meet the lovable family of supporters and their, quite frankly, totally useless club. Those fans are the matriarchal, hard working but loose lipped Doreen (Sue Johnston) who has run the club for the last 25 years with some help from her legendary meat raffles, which have kept customers coming through the doors over the years. You'll also meet Pete Mott, an obsessive Redbridge Rovers fan who enjoys little more than talking obscure stats over pork scratchings with his best mate Tel. The only issue for Pete is that Tel recently came out as gay, and has started bringing his boyfriend Mel to the club. Rounding out the characters are Pete's young lodger Tom, with eyes for barmaid Sam, ossy pensioner Francis and both Bruce and Lee, played by Earl and Wilkinson.
It's another positive deal for Sky, who recently announced their opening fixtures for the start of the 2015/16 Premier League season. The company have been working tirelessly on all fronts to appeal to all markets, so with more sport on the way we've also got recommissioned series like Penny Dreadful for the drama crowd and new commissions like Rovers, which will see comedy fans get the service they deserve.
Craig Cash, Jellylegs Productions, commented: "It's great to be a part of Sky's ongoing commitment to comedy. Lucy and Adam continue to commission new writers, a bold move and one that can only be a good thing for the audience and the genre. In "Rovers" David and Joe have created a world that is both laugh out loud funny and as warm as toast. A series populated by great characters played by a brilliant cast. Six half hours of pure joy."
Sue Johnston, commented: "I've completely fallen in love with the world Joe and David have created in Rovers and I can't wait to start filming. And, of course, it will be a joy to be working with Craig Cash again."
Adam MacDonald, Director of Sky 1 commented: “They had me at ‘meat platter’.”
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