×

‘Peep Show’ Writers Set Up New Production Company With BBC Backing

Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong join with former Channel 4 executives Phil Clarke and Roberto Troni

The writers of hit comedy series “Peep Show” (pictured) and “Fresh Meat” have teamed up with a pair of well-known British commissioning executives to create new independent production company Various Artists Limited.

Writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong and ex-Channel 4 commissioning execs Phil Clarke and Roberto Troni have set up the new company with backing from BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, which has a 20% stake and is expected to sell Various Artists content internationally. The new indie will specialize in comedy and comedy-drama as well as straight drama.

Bain and Armstrong are among the best-known comedy writers in the U.K., working with Clarke on several Channel 4 projects. Clarke’s commissions while at the broadcaster included the pair’s latest series, “Back,” as well as Sharon Horgan’s “Catastrophe.” Clarke also worked with the writers while at Objective, the All3Media producer that makes “Peep Show.” Troni worked on shows such as Paul Abbott’s “No Offence” and acclaimed drama series “This Is England.”

The news had been expected after Clarke’s departure from Channel 4 earlier this year, and was made official Thursday. “We are delighted to have BBC Worldwide as our backer,” Clarke said. “They are incredibly supportive, understand the realities of producing scripted television and the editorial strategies and timescales required, as well as the commercial challenges of running a new production company.”

In a statement, Armstrong and Bain added: “We’re excited to have the backing of BBC Worldwide, [which has] a great track record in backing both comedy and drama. What’s more, as their name suggests, they have access to the whole wide world.”

Several attempts have been made to make a U.S. version of “Peep Show.” Fox was developing a U.S. show at one point, cable net Spike piloted a version, and premium cabler Starz has also tried to work up a U.S. series.

BBC Worldwide has been actively investing in British independent producers. It has stakes in companies including Lookout Point, 72 Films, Two Cities, and Mighty Productions.

“Phil and Roberto’s flawless track records in comedy and drama, coupled with the opportunity of a first look over television projects created by Sam and Jesse, makes this a particularly exciting creative and commercial opportunity for BBC Worldwide,” said Jonathan Blyth, commercial director, comedy, at BBC Worldwide.

More TV

  • Whoopi Goldberg addresses the crowd while

    Inside World Pride's Opening Ceremony: An LGBTQ Celebration With a Tinge of Politics

    World Pride officially kicked off on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. About 8,000 people packed into the arena for a three-hour show that began with Cyndi Lauper singing her hit “True Colors.” The performance ended with a gaggle of dancing drag queens who pranced alongside Lauper as she turned the train of [...]

  • Democratic presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth

    The Messy NBC Democratic Debate Proves the Need for a Tier System (Column)

    The opening night of the first debates of the 2020 Democratic Party primaries brought — even by the standards of such way-far-out confrontations between candidates for whom the election remains a far-off dream — vastly more empty drama than new information. But then, that may have been by design. NBC News’s organization of the debates, [...]

  • Max Wright Dead

    'Alf' Actor Max Wright Dies at 75

    Max Wright, best known for playing patriarch Willie Tanner on the sitcom “Alf,” died Wednesday. He was 75. Wright’s family confirmed his death to TMZ. The actor died in his home in Hermosa Beach, Calif., after years of battling cancer. Wright was diagnosed with Lymphona in 1995. Wright is most famous for his role as [...]

  • Greyson Chance -Gabby Barrett Alejandro Aranda

    Greyson Chance, 'Idol' Alums Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda Sign Major Label Deals

    Two “American Idol” alumni — Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda — as well as viral star Greyson Chance all announced new major label recording contracts this week. Barrett, who finished in third place of the first season of the rebooted ABC version of “Idol,” has joined the roster of Warner Music Nashville. The singer had [...]

  • amazon-studios

    YouTube Head of Scripted Jon Wax in Talks to Join Amazon Studios

    YouTube’s head of scripted programming, Jon Wax, is in talks to join Amazon Studios, according to an individual with knowledge of the matter. Wax is said to be in discussions for head of genre programming at Amazon, a position held by Sharon Tal Yguado until recently. Variety reported on her exit in early May. The [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA Takes Aim at Endeavor IPO, Tells Members It Has 'Sufficient Funds' for Legal Battle

    The Writers Guild of America has gone to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its battle with Hollywood’s largest talent agencies over the issue of packaging fees and affiliated production. The guild sent a letter to William Hinman, director of the SEC’s corporate finance division, the guild accuses WME parent company Endeavor of misrepresenting the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content