There is a distinctly saucy atmosphere in the country which spawned the Carry On films and The Full Monty, with two cheeky British comedies starting shooting and a third tipped to become a hit when it opens later this year.

UK distributor Helkon SK and Angad Paul, one of the financiers of Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, are backing School For Seduction, a comedy starring well-known UK TV presenter Kelly Brook that started shooting this month.

Scheduled to begin principle photography at the end of the month is Sex Lives Of The Potato Men, another bawdy comedy about two skirt-chasing Birmingham lads being backed by Entertainment Film Distributors and the Film Council's Premiere Fund.

Both productions will be keenly watching the progress of Buena Vista International's Calendar Girls, a UK comedy about a group of women from the ultra-conservative Women's Institute who decided to pose for a nude calendar.

The project is generating strong buzz from early screenings and is expected to go out in the second half of the year.

School For Seduction is about an Italian femme fatale, played by Brook, who sets up a school in Newcastle, northern England, to teach women how to get what they want.

With backers including Germany's Telepool and a group of private investors, the production is the first to be unveiled by AV Pictures, the international sales company set up by Paul and Victor Film Co's Vic Bateman.

First-timer Sue Heel is directing a cast including Dervla Kirwan, Margi Clarke and Emily Woof from a script by herself and Martin Herron. Producing duties on the Ipso Facto Films and AV Pictures production are split between Paul, Steve Bowden and Christine Alderson.

The project, shooting on location in Newcastle upon Tyne until May 14, is the first to be developed with finance from Her Films, launched in 2000 to develop films with a female edge.

Meanwhile, the Film Council confirmed that UK comic actors Johnny Vegas and Mackenzie Crook are starring in Potato Men for first-time writer-director Andy Humphries. Anita Overland, whose credits include Michael Winterbottom's Berlin winner In This World, is producing.

The project was developed with backing from the council's development fund before the Premiere Fund for commercially-oriented films agreed to provide production cash.