29 January, 2006

The IT Crowd

Channel 4 has premiered Graham Linehan's new comedy The IT Crowd online before it makes its debut on TV. The series follows a trio working in the IT department of a large firm.

"Premiering the show online a week before its television transmission is a first for Channel 4 and what better show could we start with than this?" said Andy Taylor, MD of C4 New Media. "The IT Crowd is a surreal look at the underclass of a company and we're giving people the chance to see it first." This follows BBC3 who first started online premieres of its comedies with The Mighty Boosh in July 2005.

The series is created by Graham Linehan, co-creator of modern classic sitcom Father Ted. In a Chortle/Channel 4 interview, Graham Linehan said: "It was originally set in a travel agents, and had one joke to do with being a travel agent, which was he's on the phone to someone and he says 'No, no, I wouldn't go to France, France is very rude at this time of year'. That was really as good as it got. I couldn't think of any more jokes to do with travel agents, and I didn't want to do the research, because it bored the hell out of me. So I decided to turn it into something I was interested in, which was technology, and how it affects our lives. Oddly enough, although it's about technology and modernity, it's a very old-fashioned sitcom."

Which may seem obvious but how many of us have started to create series without thinking about how much we know about the subject or want to research the subject or care about the subject? It's going to help in the writing if you are genuinely enthused about the subject and have something you want to say rather than saying, 'proctologists - that hasn't been done before'. Although, obviously, if proctology does float your boat as a subject, get stuck in.

In his Daily Telegraph interview, as well as some fascinating insights in how TV executives think, Linehan says: "Because I've written so many sitcoms, the structure of them is very simple. They start in a situation and then something upsets that situation and then you get them back to the start again. You also need a location they can't really get out of, like the bar in Cheers. It may look like a bar but they're all trapped there. It's a sitcom trap."

The IT Crowd microsite

Quality unofficial site

Filming of the IT Crowd

The Observer asks its own IT Crowd for comments

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