Channel 4 has commissioned Dublin based Sideline Productions to produce three comedy shorts with The Rubberbandits for the UK broadcaster’s new online talent series ‘Comedy Blaps’. Only five companies were commissioned in the initial phase.
The series of short films will be directed by BAFTA award winning Irish director Declan Lowney (Cold Feet, Father Ted, Little Britain, U2 at Glastonbury), produced by Dee Ellis (Head Chef, The Panel, Ask Rhod Gilbert) and exec produced by Sideline’s Billy McGrath.
”Length wise it maybe one of the smallest commissions we have ever won but in the future it may turn out to be highly significant for both the Bandits and ourselves. We were delighted when Declan Lowney came on board and we all recognise his value to the production,” Billy told IFTN. Billy and Declan worked together previously on RTE’s ‘TV Gaga’ and Channel 4’s international music series ‘Wired’ plus developed a new sitcom ‘Never Mind The Nursing Home’ for RTE Entertainment in 2007.
Channel 4’s ‘Comedy Blaps’ were introduced to showcase UK and Ireland’s best emerging comedy talent and established as a nursery slope for further development. The Blaps will be made available on Channel4.com across their You Tube channel plus will be promoted via ComedyOn4 and Twitter.
Channel 4’s Comedy Blaps was launched in March 2011 and 500 pitches were submitted, with Sideline’s proposal (developed with The Rubberbandits and their management) the only successful Irish commission. Amongst the UK companies are commissioned are Baby Cow (Alan Partridge) and Objective Productions (Darren Brown).
The Rubberbandits first hit the public consciousness with their song ‘Horse Outside’ in December 2010 and the subsequent video produced for RTE Two’s The Republic of Telly has reached over 7 million You Tube hits. That video won the ‘Best TV Moment of the Year’ at the IFTAs. Since then, they have taken their show on the road with over 100 live dates from London to Mullingar to New York. In June MTV filmed a special ‘The Rubberbandits Guide to New York’ with the Limerick duo which are now available to view on the MTV internal Iggy website.
The Rubberbandits will continue to straddle the music and comedy worlds in the forthcoming Blaps which will be filmed in Ireland in September and available live online on Channel 4 from October onwards to coincide with The Rubberbandits new album and first UK tour.