Fast Show star Charlie Higson says Britain urgently needs a top class sketch show.

Speaking to, the actor and writer said comedy fans had been deprived of a mainstream comedy sketch show hit since Little Britain went off air in 2006.

“I am thinking of a large mainstream show where you hear a catchphrase an know exactly what it is – we haven’t had one like that since Little Britain,” said Higson.

So why does he think it's been so long? “They are quite expensive to make and panel shows are also cheaper,” said Higson, adding that comedy often gets harshly dismissed, making it harder for commissioning editors to commit to large-scale projects.

“It gets more critical focus than any other medium. If you are watching a drama how do you know it is good? If it is a comedy if’s whether you laugh or not.

“Why do we laugh? I am sure there are many reasons but it is a form of social bonding and if it doesn’t work people get uncomfortable or say oh, he thinks he’s funny, does he?

"In many ways the man who is the funniest is the leader of the pack – and there are plenty of people who want to undermine that person.

“Also, people pay so much attention to Twitter, things aren’t given a chance.”

Higson, who spends much of his time writing books for the teenage market, was speaking at the unveiling of his latest TV project, Crackanory for the UKTV channel Dave.

An updated version of the classic BBC storytelling series Jackanory, it features celebrities including Higson and Harry Enfield reading dark stories.

Described as “a satirical and twisted grown-up spin on story time”, other readers include Jack Dee, Richard Hammond and comedy actress Sally Phillips. It will be aired in November.

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