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Channel 4 doubles comedy spend with new slate

UK broadcaster Channel 4 is investing close to US$8 million for comedy programming in 2011, doubling the amount it spent in 2009.

This comes as the ad-funded, public service broadcaster announced its latest slate of programmes including a new series featuring the stars of The Inbetweeners and a sketch show hosted by Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding.

The channel has commissioned Big Talk Productions to produce Chickens (WT), a sitcom created by The Inbetweeners’ Simon Bird and Joe Thomas along with comedy writer Jonny Sweet about conscientious objectors during World War One.

The Thick of It star Chris Addison, meanwhile, is hosting a weekly panel show Show & Tell produced by Avalon Television, while sister channel E4 is launching Noel Fielding’s Boopus in association with Nathan Barley and Four Lions producer Derrin Schlesinger.

“Channel 4’s investment in comedy has sharply in the last two years – 2011 spend will be almost double 2009 levels – and the space Big Brother leaves put us in the happy position of having even more hours to fill. Just as well because, God knows, we could all do with a laugh at the moment,” said Channel 4 head of comedy Shane Allen.