Channel 4 partners with NFTS to launch comedy diploma

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Father Ted writer Graham Linehan and Peep Show creator Sam Bain will be among the guest tutors on a new comedy course launched by the National Film and Television School in Buckinghamshire.

The 18 month part-time NFTS diploma in writing and producing comedy will be run in partnership with Channel 4 and its advisory board includes Bain and Linehan as well as Caroline Norris (Horrible Histories, The Armstrong & Miller Show, Dead Ringers) and John O’Farrell (Spitting Image, Have I Got News For You, Novelist).

Students will develop all forms of scripted comedy including, sketch shows, sitcoms and comedy dramas taught by NFTS tutors supported by sessions from industry guests.

Channel 4 will provide facilities for teaching sessions at their London headquarters and C4 commissioners will review material produced by the students as well as delivering workshops and masterclasses.

Channel 4 head of comedy Phil Clarke said: “Producing comedy is a serious business. Inherent comic talent is important, however, acquiring the craft of making comedy is the only way to sustain a career. Channel 4 has a long tradition of engaging with, and encouraging, new talent but the more experience you can gain when starting out, the better. If you are considering a career in comedy, then the NFTS is a fast track for acquiring those career sustaining skills.”

Bain, who has been a course adviser since the idea was first proposed by the NFTS, said: “Jesse and I met on a creative writing course - they're a great way to learn your trade. A course provides deadlines and feedback - the bread and water of a writer's life. And there's always the chance you'll meet the writing partner of your dreams. Keep a dozen roses in your in your carrier bag on the off-chance."