Channel 4 has announced key changes in its comedy commissioning department.

Head of comedy Phil Clarke is stepping down after four years to return to the production sector where he will set up a new production indie with Peep Show writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong.

Fiona McDermott, a C4 commissioning editor since 2011, has been promoted to head of comedy, and will lead the comedy commissioning team and oversee all scripted comedy.

Nerys Evans, currently Deputy Head of Comedy, is leaving the broadcaster after seven years to return to the production sector.

Clarke will step down from the role in April, but will also continue to work with Channel 4 as an Executive Producer on some forthcoming comedy commissions. 

Two new Commissioning Editors will also be recruited to the comedy team.

Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer said: “Phil and Nerys have been a fantastic partnership. Phil not only has impeccable taste but is one of the nicest men in TV. Nerys is a fantastically creative commissioner and has been key to the department’s success. We’re lucky they’ve grown, in Fiona McDermott, a worthy successor who can build on the comedy department’s fantastic track record. I’m looking forward to working with her.”

Clarke said: “After more than four years in the post, I can confirm that being Head of Comedy at Channel 4 really is one of the best jobs in television. It’s been thrilling. I’m looking forward to returning to production, but consider myself lucky to have worked at the channel at such an exciting time.”

Evans said: “After seven brilliant years in commissioning I feel it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and get back to programme making. It’s been a genuine privilege to commission comedy for Channel 4, and in doing so support so many new writers and performers. I’m beyond proud to have had the opportunity to add to the amazing legacy of Channel 4 Comedy.”

Under Phil Clarke and alongside Nerys Evans, the Channel 4 comedy department has  commissioned a series including; Chewing Gum, Flowers, Derek, Catastrophe, Man Down, The Windsors, Friday Night Dinner and Toast of London.

Previously McDermott was a Producer at Zeppotron, working on 8 out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie To You, You Have Been Watching and Screenwipe and a Series Producer at Objective Productions. Upcoming commissions include; Back, Derry Girls and Stath.

Staff Reporter

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