U.K. comedy is set in cell phone retail store

LONDON — Ricky Gervais, who revitalized the sitcom genre with the original British version of “The Office,” is once again mining laughs from the workplace.

The action is set in a phone store at a shopping mall where graduate Christopher (Tom Bennett) needs to prove himself worthy of a job by selling a cell phone before the shop closes for the day.

“PhoneShop,” to air in the U.K. on Channel 4, has been created, written and produced by Phil Bowker and supervised by Gervais. Bowker, head of comedy at U.K. shingle Talkback Thames, gave Gervais his first job on TV a decade ago.

“PhoneShop” bows Friday on Channel 4 as part of the broadcaster’s “Comedy Showcase,” with a full series to follow on digital spinoff station E4.

Angela Jain, head of E4, told U.K. daily the Independent that Gervais’ involvement in “PhoneShop” “sharpens it up.”

She said she had no hesitation in greenlighting a series based on the pilot.

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