Five original scripted series for thematic UK network Gold will make up part of multichannel operator UKTV’s £125 million (US$196 million) programming budget in 2015.
Director of commissioning Richard Watsham has challenged UK indies to work up original ideas for Gold’s schedule that will sit alongside classic sitcoms such as Only Fools & Horses, The Vicar of Dibley and Outnumbered.
“This level of investment in original scripted comedy marks a real step change for UKTV and is the next stage in our strategy of focussing spend on the entertainment channels,” said Watsham.
“We are committed to attracting the very best writers, producers and on screen talent in order to produce the type of high quality, scripted output that Gold requires.”
Gold has one returning original scheduled for next year, You, Me & Them.
Meanwhile, recent successes for alternative comedy series The Comic Strip Presents: Five Go to Rehab and Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down Five to Go (pictured) means Gold is also hunting a one-off comedy event programme. The latter was Gold’s highest-ever rated show.
“The success of The Comic Strip Presents: Five Go to Rehab and Gold’s live transmission of the final ever Monty Python stage show, prove that there is a real appetite from the Gold audience for longer form stories with a true sense of scale,” said UKTV commissioning editor Simon Lupton.