UKTV announces first titles in slate of original scripted comedy commissions on Gold: Henry IX, Marley’s Ghosts, Bull

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28 May 2015

Award-winning media company UKTV today announced the first three titles greenlit as part of its commitment to an unprecedented number of original scripted commissions on Gold.

A second raft of titles will follow in early summer.

The shows range from ambitious, large scale, single camera to CGI spooks and studio sitcom: sometimes edgy, sometimes quirky, all are contemporary and highly individual with the potential to continue as returning series.

Richard Watsham, UKTV's Director of Commissioning, said,

The first three of our new commissions for Gold offer a fantastic range of different stories and comic styles. Between them they will start to establish a new tone of voice for our originations. We've deliberately targeted scripts that play to Gold viewers' known love of classic British sitcom but they're also modern, sharply-written pieces which deliver on our promise of high quality, world class comedy."

Steve North, Gold General Manager, added,

It is a testament to UKTV's continued growth in the broadcast market that these new commissions have attracted the very best new and established writers and producers. They showcase an eclectic and original range of comedy that will ideally complement Gold's archive selection of Britain's best-loved sitcoms whilst at the same time bring a freshness to the comedy Gold offers.

Simon Lupton, Commissioning Editor, commented,

These commissions demonstrate our commitment to working with the brightest and the best, ranging from welcoming the legendary Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais back to British TV, to exciting emerging writers, all of whom have produced classic stand-out comedy characters placed firmly in the 21st century. We are offering our audience refreshing and enticing shows they can relate to and fall in love with. It genuinely feels like we have something for everyone, and we can't wait to share them with our viewers.

Henry IX (3 x 30')

A single camera series on a grand scale set in the fictitious, contemporary court of Henry IX, King of the United Kingdom. This is the almost universal story of a middle-aged man trapped in his life... except this one just happens to be the reigning monarch. Penned by the legendary, multi award-winning comedy writing team behind Porridge, The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, the series is co-produced by Retort (part of FremantleMedia UK) and Serious Comedy. Executive Producers are Jon Rolph and Tarquin Gotch.

Marley's Ghosts (3 x 30')

Marley's Ghosts is a high concept single camera sitcom; a distinctive and original ensemble piece about a woman who has a rare gift that comes with mixed blessings. She can talk to the dead, which sadly now includes both her husband and her lover. Awkward. Written by Daniel Peacock, produced by John Stanley Productions (part of the All3Media Group). Executive Producer is Layla Smith.

Bull (3 x 30')

A studio comedy with a unique and quirky sense of humour, featuring the eponymous Bull, a man who attempts to run his antiques shop aided and hampered in equal measure by his team of dysfunctional staff. Written by first-time sitcom writers Gareth Gwynn and John-Luke Roberts, produced by John Stanley Productions (part of the All3Media Group). Executive Producer is Layla Smith.

Each commission goes into production during spring and summer for transmission later in 2015 and early 2016.

In 2014 Monty Python: Live (Mostly) saw Gold's highest ever audience numbers, and featured in UKTVs top five highest ever rating commissions. The show brought in an average overnight audience of 932k and reached over 3.3m individuals across all plays.

Another raft of new content for Gold is already scheduled for this summer: Bob Monkhouse: Million Joke Man celebrates the life and extraordinary career of one of Britain's best-known comedy performers, as told by his close friend Paul O'Grady; and The Interviews is a revealing, touching and hugely entertaining six-part exploration of some of this country's most original performing talents, told through the prism of their chat-show interviews across the decades. Both series are due to air in June and July.


For more information contact:

Kerry Parker, Head of Network Communications

Julie Pickford, Group Publicity Manager

About Gold (Sky 110, Virgin 126, TalkTalk 408, Top-Up TV 20)

Dedicated to celebrating the best of British comedy, Gold is the nation's favourite comedy channel. Much-loved comedy series such as Only Fools and Horses, The Vicar of Dibley and Outnumbered sit alongside successful commissions including Porridge: Inside Out, The Comic Strip Presents: Five Go To Rehab (starring Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders), You, Me and Them, Bring Me Morecambe and Wise, Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down Five to Go and the ultimate Python documentary Monty Python: The Meaning of Live. The perfect tonic to make you laugh whatever the time of day, Gold shows universally funny content that everyone can enjoy. / @goldtvchannel

About UKTV

UKTV is the multi-award winning media company that reaches over 42 million viewers every month. UKTV's eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, Watch, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food - include the most popular non-PSB channel in the UK and account for 9% of the British commercial TV market. The company's most recent financial results showed record-breaking year-end revenue of £278m, and EBITDA of £67.4m. It invested a record £125m in programming and related launches last year, and is becoming an increasingly significant investor in UK creativity. UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC, alongside programmes originally shown on ITV and Channel 4. The network embraces technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories.

Now celebrating its 22nd year at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) - is proud to be the only British television broadcaster to be recognised by Best Companies. / / @uktv_press