At the BCC’s City of Comedy festival in Cardiff, Director of Comedy Jon Petrie revealed his new strategy to safeguard original comedies by bringing in fresh shows with serious budgets. Petrie expressed valid concerns that comedy is being hit hard as the genre has steadily struggled to interest third-party funders.
“As the chief corporate clown in television comedy, I feel a huge sense of responsibility to help try and protect our incredible genre,” he said.
Instead of focusing on spreading a large budget thinly to a vast number of shows, hoping some will catch on with audiences, Petrie wants to focus more money on fewer selections. Additionally, he proposed a “comedy tax relief” which would only apply to shows with a $1.2 million per hour budget as a way for the indie community to continue producing hilarious hits. Small-budget productions aren’t covered under the television tax relief
“The BBC remains the biggest single investor in original comedy content in the UK. We’re so proud of the depth and range of our offerings which champion British creativity and I’m delighted to announce five brand new shows and five much-loved returning series,” said Petrie at the festival.
He announced new series will be a big focus for the future of comedy featured on BBC. The lineup of new comedies includes Ludwig, Spent, Mammoth, Dinosaur, and Things You Should Have Done. Returning for another season is Bad Education, Avoidance, Peacock, Mandy, and Ellie & Natasha.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that British Comedy is hugely important to television and the national cultural landscape. It is a public service and needed now more than ever. Not only do audiences consume comedy in huge numbers – there were over 500 million requests on BBC iPlayer last year – but it has also acted as a vital talent pipeline to some of the UK’s most successful creatives.”