UKTV has greenlit four new series as part of its drive to boost the amount of original content on its channels.
Firecracker Films is producing Dr Christian Will See You Now for UKTV channel W, an eight-part series (8×60′) which will see the Embarrassing Bodies doctor diagnose, counsel and treat patients who need his help. In a clinic fitted with a fixed camera rig, the series will capture Dr Christian’s emotional consultations, as well as any intimate moments between couples during their visit.
Renegade Pictures is making new (10×30’) factual entertainment series Used Car Wars (10×30’) for Dave, set in the competitive world of second hand car sales, voiced by Sheridan Smith. Fimed at two ‘salt-of-the earth’ rival dealerships in Derby, Used Car Wars sees the eccentric wide boys from Car a Lot take on the straight-laced, well-oiled corporate machine that is Geoff Cox Used Cars. Viewers follow the intense rivalry of the two operations through their front office cat-and-mouse negotiations, wind-ups and mutual grievances as they go head-to-head trying to convince punters to part with their cash, with whoever makes the most profit each week winning bragging rights.
Meanwhile, Crook Productions is making We Have Been Watching (6×60’) for Gold. The series brings together some of the country’s best known comedy pairings to watch and critique British comedy favourites while sharing stories of their own experiences. Featuring comedy talent such as David Baddiel, Maxine Peake, Nigel Planer and Jo Joyner it also reunites comedy pairings John Challis and Sue Holderness (Only Fools and Horses), Sally Phillips and Sarah Hadland (Miranda), Ricky Tomlinson and Ralf Little (The Royle Family), and Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani (Him and Her). We Have Been Watching takes stars off screen and settles them onto the sofa to enjoy classic comedies including Steptoe and Son, Morecambe and Wise, Father Ted and Fawlty Towers.
Finally, Lizard Lick Touring (10 x 30’) is produced by Znak & Jones and Rapture Productions. The Dave show features Lizard Lick Towing’s eponymous hero Ron Shirley. The rural North Carolina owner of motor business Lizard Lick Towing will head east and try his luck in the UK.
Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham said UKTV had increased its programming spend by 20% in 2015 – and that original commissions accounted for four of its top six shows of 2015.
“We’ve built strong relationships with talented people both in front of and behind the camera giving them opportunities to make the programmes they want, the way they want. Most recently with John Bishop In Conversation With… attracting more than half a million people to its premiere episode on pay channel W. Now we’re extending further into scripted, fixed-rig docs and entertainment formats. Signing Dr Christian Jessen to explore the medical side of sex and relationships for female-skewing W allows us to reflect what’s relevant and important to our audience.
“We’ve strengthened Dave’s shoulder peak offering with three new shows, Joy of Techs, Lizard Lick Touring and Used Car Wars. While the satirical talk show, Unspun with Matt Forde gives Dave a voice in the chaotic world of politics, an area of increasing importance to our viewers but one that is underserved in the TV schedules."
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