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Sky commits to UK comedy

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Sky has today announced a major commitment to backing original British comedy, with a raft of new shows coming to flagship entertainment channel Sky1.

The satellite broadcaster has set aside a multi-million pound investment fund for UK-produced commissions to complement its US imports, such as Modern Family and The Simpsons.

Sky has already commissioned a slate of new British comedies for broadcast in standard and high definition, including Stella from Gavin & Stacey writer Ruth Jones.

Former Coronation Street actress Sally Lindsay will star in Mount Pleasant, which is about the "not-so-perfect life" of Mancunian thirty-something Lisa, while eccentric comedy This Is Jinsy will focus on the "bizarre residents" of the fictional Island of Jinsy.

Airing at Christmas, Little Crackers will feature a season of autobiographical comic shorts from Britain's best-loved stars, including Dawn French, Catherine Tate and Stephen Fry.

The new comedy strategy is being led by Sky's head of comedy Lucy Lumsden, who joined the broadcaster in June 2009 from the BBC, where she helped develop hit shows such as Little Britain, Gavin And Stacey and The Mighty Boosh.

"It's been an exciting time spreading the good news about Sky's investment in comedy and I'm delighted that we've been able to attract a wealth of comedy talent," said Lumsden.

"Sky's investment in original comedy is testament to our long-term commitment to original and innovative programming."

Stuart Murphy, director of programmes for Sky1, Sky2 and Sky3, said that it is "great to be working with Lucy again", after the duo previously commissioned comedy together at the BBC.

He added: "She is the leader in her field and has made sure that customers benefit from her considerable experience and brilliant sense of humour. This really will be content worth paying for."

Sky's comedy announcement follows its commitment to drama in 2008, which resulted in commissions of Martina Cole's The Take, Skellig, Terry Pratchett's Going Postal and Chris Ryan's Strike Back.

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