Skinner makes a sky-high demand so BBC walks out
Thursday 02 September 1999
Mr Skinner's management company, Avalon, was asking for nearly pounds 20m for the comedian to sign up exclusively to the BBC for five years, BBC sources said.
Meanwhile, Sky added Mr Skinner's comedy partner, David Baddiel, to its collection of BBC deserters, paying pounds 5.5m for a new sitcom written by, and starring, the comedian.
Sky recently spent pounds 1m to lure Harry Enfield from the corporation and has now committed itself to 22 episodes of Mr Baddiel's show, provisionally entitled Baddiel's Syndrome.
Alan Yentob, the BBC's director of television, said that the comedy situation was getting out of hand: "The BBC offered what we think is a generous price for a new and wide ranging deal with Frank. But we were not prepared to agree to Avalon's unreasonable tactics and financial terms. Even in the most competitive market place there come demands which are so ridiculous that you have to walk away."
Sky said it aims to make a comedy on the American model, with a view to selling it in overseas markets. "For a long time, British broadcasters have been told by Americans that they don't commission the right amount of episodes for US television," said a spokesman.
"Friends, Seinfeld and Frasier all began with a minimum of 22 programmes - while the British comedy yardstick has been six half-hours."
British runs are shorter because comics here tend to write alone, while Americans write in teams. Mr Baddiel is known to have been keen on the longer commitment in order to ensure greater character development, and to allow the show to find its audience. If he completes 22 episodes alone, it will be something of a record.
"The central character is in therapy," Mr Baddiel said. "Each week he starts to tell his therapist, who's fairly disturbed himself, how things have panned out this week. Then we cut to the action. At the end of the show, we come back to the the rapist."
The programme will also feature an American comedian who "is a household name on both sides of the Atlantic," said a spokesman for Avalon, which will produce the show. However, a contract is still three to four weeks' away.
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
- 1 Chinese authorities arrest 11 people over exhuming woman’s body to sell as corpse bride
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Tower of London poppies: Tens of thousands of people flock to see installation in its final days
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...