The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd to write and star in new Sky1 comedy Moone Boy

Steve Coogan and Johnny Vegas to guest star in series that will begin filming in early 2012

Chris O’Dowd is to co-write and star in a new six-part comedy series, Moone Boy, for Sky1.

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The Irish comedian and actor – best known as Roy in Channel 4 sitcom The IT Crowd and for his recent role in hit US movie comedy Bridesmaids – will adapt the series from his own comedy short, which was part of Sky1’s Little Crackers showcase screened last Christmas.

Moone Boy follows the life of ten-year-old Martin Moone, the youngest member of a chaotic family, whose unique outlook comes alive in animated versions of his childish drawings and through conversations with his imaginary friend, Sean Murphy, played by O’Dowd.

The semi-autobiographical series will be set in a small town in Ireland and will begin filming in O’Dowd’s home town of Boyle, and in Dublin, in the new year.

O’Dowd said: “Moone Boy is a fantastic comedy, which centres on a ten-year-old boy who has an imaginary friend. It is set in the late 80s/early 90s and all of the experiences are ones that I had.

“It’s a really funny show, which has loads of animation and a number of laughs that I hope people will love.”

Lucy Lumsden, Sky’s head of comedy, said: “We were delighted when Chris O’Dowd decided to expand his Little Cracker into a full series. With [co-writer] Nick Murphy, he’s written six brilliantly funny scripts. Sky customers are in for a treat.”

Comics Johnny Vegas and Steve Coogan have both signed up for guest roles in Moone Boy, while auditions are under way across Ireland to find a young actor to take the lead of Martin Moone.

Adding to the show’s comedy credentials is director Declan Lowney, who worked on Father Ted, Little Britain and Happiness.

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Known for buying in big shows such as Glee and Boardwalk Empire, Sky has pledged to increase its investment in original home-grown content by 50 per cent over the next three years. Moone Boy follows commissions including sports quiz A League of Their Own and dramas Mad Dogs and Strike Back.