CHANNEL 4 have commissioned The Rubberbandits to make a television pilot which will be shot entirely in Limerick.
The pilot episode - to be made by the â€˜Bandits and Irish production company Sideline - will be filmed in Limerick in May and represents a significant investment by Channel 4, with the production of the pilot to cost somewhere between â‚¬250,000 and â‚¬500,000, the Limerick Leader understands.
The news comes on the back of the success of the series of online comedy â€˜blapsâ€™ the â€˜Bandits made for Channel 4 last year which were directed by Declan Lowney, who worked on Fr Ted and will also film the pilot.
It is the first Irish written and performed comedy to be commissioned by Channel 4 since Fr Ted in the mid-90s. The pilot is expected to be aired in September and a source close to the â€˜Bandits indicated that â€œif it goes well, there is a very good indication that they will commission a full seriesâ€.
A high quality sitcom pilot of this nature could potentially cost up to â‚¬500,000. The comedy blaps cost in the region of â‚¬70,000 to make.
A â€˜Bandits spokesperson said that the commissioning of the pilot would represent a â€œsignificant boost to the Limerick economyâ€.
Fiona McDermott, commissioning editor with Channel 4, said: â€œWe always hoped that the comedy blaps would provide the perfect stepping stone for inspiring new talent to find their feet and hone their craft and thatâ€™s exactly whatâ€™s happened with the Rubberbanditsâ€.
â€œThey are a truly original comedy duo, with an ever growing fan base. The pilot promises to deliver even more of their musical genius and absurd characters. Aside from that weâ€™re just thrilled weâ€™ve given them the chance to showcase even more supermarket carrier bags on their faces,â€ she laughed.
Sidelineâ€™s Billy McGrath said the company was â€œlooking forward once again to working with the Channel 4 comedy team to bring this exciting Irish talent on to a higher levelâ€.
â€œWe all share the strong belief there is something very unique and special going on with The Rubberbandits,â€ he added.
The Rubberbandits are also to be immortalised in a video game by Limerick based developers Open Emotion Studios.
â€˜RubberBandits: The Revenge of Stephen Forwardâ€™ will be an iOS/Android game that will feature scenarios written by the duo themselves. Paddy Murphy of Open Emotion said the game would be available later this year.