As it aims to diversify its feature filmslate, BBC Films is working together with BBC Comedy's team of writers andproducer to develop comedic feature films. The announcement was made by DavidThompson, head of BBC Film and Kenton Allen, creative head of BBC Comedy Talentand Comedy North. BBC's head of comedy Jon Plowman is also on board for thecollaboration.

In February, when the BBCannounced a likely increase in its film production and acquisition budget,Thompson said he wanted BBC Films to not just make stereotypically stuffydramas but to also expand into "a bit more comedy and more lighter fare."

Allen, who was a producer of this year's Oscar-winning short Six Shooter, will lead the developmentinitiative for the comedy department.

The developments will include original film scripts as well as thepotential to spin off TV brands - such as Little Britain or Extras - into filmproperties.

"I am very excited aboutworking with Kenton and the BBC Comedy team," said Thompson. "Comedyis very much a target area for us at the moment, with several interestingprojects in development, the recent successful releases of Debbie Isitt's Confetti and Michael Winterbottom's A Cock & Bull Story."
Kenton Allen added: "Many of the comedy talent we work with ultimately wantto paint on a bigger canvas, and this relationship with BBC Films means that wecan now offer them that opportunity. From initial development in radio and theinternet, through television and on to film, BBC Comedy can offer the best comedytalent the best possible development path for their work. BBC Comedy has a finetradition of developing iconic comic voices from Ronnie Barker to Ricky Gervaisand I'm confident that this opportunity will lead to some truly original filmmaking."