UK theatrical distributor Winchester Films has engaged local comedian and author David Baddiel to source and develop a strand of British comedy projects.

Baddiel, an established stand-up comedian and novelist is best known as co-creator of the 1990s cult show Fantasy Football with Frank Skinner.

"David's role is to be like a 'comedy Czar', sourcing movie ideas from a wide variety of comedians and writers," said Winchester's Gary Smith in a statement.

Winchester, along with Baddiel's agent, production company Avalon Pictures, will each invest $210,000 (£150,000) in the script development initiative.

According to Smith, a maximum of five ideas will be chosen to develop into scripts, with the first project scheduled to start production towards the end of 2002. Up to two pictures will then be produced annually for the next five to six years, he said.

Baddiel and Smith will be joint executive producers, and each film is expected to have a budget of $4.2m - $7.0m (£3m - £5m).

Film rights will be shared equally between Winchester and Avalon, with Winchester acting as UK distributor and worldwide sales agent.