Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the hit writing duo behind Peep Show, The Thick of It and Fresh Meat, are forming their own production company, can reveal.

The pair are going into business with Phil Clarke, the popular head of comedy at Channel 4 who is stepping down from his role later this year. Currently the new company does not have a name, but it is expected to start producing shows this year.

Clark’s replacement at Channel 4 is commissioning editor Fiona McDermott.

Clarke has enjoyed a successful five-year stint as C4’s head of comedy, commissioning hit shows including The Windsors, Chewing Gum and Catastrophe among others.

Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer, said: “Phil not only has impeccable taste but is one of the nicest men in TV. Nerys is a fantastically creative commissioner and has been key to the department's success. We're lucky they've grown, in Fiona McDermott, a worthy successor who can build on the comedy department's fantastic track record. I'm looking forward to working with her.”

Phil Clarke said: “After more than four years in the post, I can confirm that being Head of Comedy at Channel 4 really is one of the best jobs in television. It’s been thrilling. I’m looking forward to returning to production, but consider myself lucky to have worked at the channel at such an exciting time.”

Fiona McDermott said: “Phil's right, this is the best job in comedy and I couldn't be more thrilled and excited to be taking over the role, having worked together to shape some of our best loved and most successful shows. Here's to keeping C4 the most vital place in the country to develop and produce comedy.”

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