UKTV is teaming up with comedian Matt Forde for a new political comedy series. The company’s Dave channel, which continues to rank as the UK’s number one non-PSB, has handed out a six episode order to Unspun With Matt Forde, TVWise has learned.
Unspun is described as a fearless weekly satirical show that will inject comedy into the heart of politics. Episodes will be recorded one day before transmission and will be fronted by Forde, who used to work for the Labour party, and will feature reactions to the fast-changing news agenda, interviews with leading political figures and additional reporting from international comedians.
The comedy series has been in the works for some time and was originally developed for BBC Two, where it landed a pilot order last December. Dave recently commissioned the series as a timely piece in light of the current political climate post-Brexit vote, which has seen the exit of David Cameron and the arrival of Theresa May as Prime Minister, not to mention the appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary – all in a mere three weeks.
“I’m simultaneously horrified and entertained by the state of British politics so I can’t wait to start making Unspun, said Matt Forde. “It was either do this or become Shadow Environment Secretary and I wanted to do something credible.”
Unspun is set up at Avalon Television and was commissioned for UKTV by Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham and Dave General Manager Steve North. Robyn O’Brien and Dan Atkinson are producing, with Peter Orton on-booard as the directed. The executive producers are Avalon’s Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner, and UKTV’s Deputy Director of Commissioning Hilary Rosen.
“Firstly, I’d like to thank all those people who voted in the referendum for giving us so much material to work with, there’s never been a better time to make a political talk show”, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham said in a statement. “It’s a significant step for the maturity of UKTV originations that we can take on such a topical and frankly, important series.”
Unspun, which is set to air in September, marks the latest evolution of Dave’s original programming strategy and comes after the channel expanded their horizons and moved into live sport earlier this year. Furthermore, this move into political comedy is perhaps a natural one given that there is a sizeable audience for reruns of both Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week on the channel.
This commission also further expands the relationship between UKTV and Avalon, with the two having previously collaborated on the Greg Davies fronted Taskmaster. Unspun joins a growing slate of originals on Dave, which includes the aforementioned Taskmaster, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled , Dave Gorman Modern Life Is Goodish, Storage Hunters UK, Hoff The Record, Red Dwarf and Zapped.
“In a year of major steps for Dave – with a move into sport, the successes of Taskmaster and Dave Gorman Modern Life Is Goodish and the imminent arrival of Red Dwarf XI and Zapped!, we are incredibly excited to make a giant leap into the turbulent world of politics. 2016 isn’t short of political stories and now more than ever it’s important that satire has a voice on TV. Matt Forde will entertain audiences by bridging the gap between comedy and politics in Unspun in the Autumn.“