FilmFour has signed a first-look deal with Pipedream Pictures, the production company of Lee Thomas and John McKay, the hot film-making team behind its sell-out Cannes title, Crush.

The duo, seen as two of the strongest, commercially-oriented new film-makers in the UK, are also moving forward on the £10-£15m comedy Knickers. McKay, who writes and directs while Thomas produces, told Screendaily that the project should shoot early next year with an international cast. The fact-based story, which would be amongst the largest on FilmFour's books, follows a female Nazi spy trying to listen in on Winston Churchill's secret telephone exchange under a London department store.

"John and Lee want to make distinctive commercial films, quality pictures with an audience: and so do we," said FilmFour chief executive Paul Webster. "It's a perfect fit."

FilmFour is opening Crush in the UK on September 28th. The comedy, which stars Andie MacDowell, Anna Chancellor and Imelda Staunton, sold to Sony Classics in the US.

Graduates of the National Film & Television School, Thomas and McKay first made a mark with their quirky but accessible style on the shorts Doom And Gloom and Wet And Dry. Their first-look deal also allows them to bring in a few third-party titles from other film-makers.