Outnumbered's Hugh Dennis to star in new BBC sitcom Over to Bill

Comedy Playhouse pilot has been penned by Red Dwarf writer Doug Naylor

Hugh Dennis is set to star in a new BBC sitcom penned by Red Dwarf's Doug Naylor, it has been confirmed.

Known for his role in hit series Outnumbered, which ended last week, the British comedian will play an ill-fated TV weatherman in comedy pilot Over to Bill.

Bill Onions is sacked from his job after a dodgy joke about the south of England being better than the north sparks a "blackly farcical train of events".

Tracy-Ann Oberman appears as Faith, Onions' "generally supportive" wife, while Neil Morrissey plays his best friend Jez. Helen George is Jez's disagreeable wife, Selina.

Over to Bill is one of three one-off shows planned for the return of Comedy Playhouse, which helped launch Last of the Summer Wine, Steptoe and Son and Are You Being Served?.

Miller's Mountain, with Jimmy Chisholm, Kevin Guthrie and My Mad Fat Diary's Sharon Rooney, will follow the antics of a set of Mountain Rescue volunteers, while Monks stars Seann Walsh as lazy Gary Woodcroft, who tries to escape benefits fraud prosecution by joining his local monastery.

"BBC1 delivers enormous audiences for comedy and this season revival reflects our commitment in mainstream to do new and daring projects," said Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC.

"We want BBC1 to fly the flag of popular British comedy and want this dedicated space to promote tomorrow's classic comedy today."

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