Nish Kumar and Josh Widdicombe pilot Sky comedy show on local news, British Comedy Guide exclusive can reveal.
Hold The Front Page will see the duo champion the role that local newspapers play in the communities they serve.
Currently filming in Chichester, the comedians have written a series of articles for the West Sussex Gazette, which was founded in 1853 and claims to be England’s oldest newspaper.
Kumar hosted the news satire The Mash Report on BBC Two and will feature a relaunched version of the show, Late Night Mash, on The Dave next month. A former host of BBC radio shows The News Quiz and Newsjack, he also presented a topical transatlantic comedy. Hello america on the short-lived Quibi streaming service.
The Last Leg star Widdicombe is a former sub-editor of The Guardian’s sports section who also wrote stories for Dora the Explorer magazine.
As a perceived face of the BBC, Kumar has come under attack from elements of the right-wing press, who also criticized the company for the impact its news website has had on sales of local newspapers, which have dramatically diminished in the Internet age.
Between 2005 and 2020, 265 local newspapers closed in the UK according to the specialist website Press Gazette. However, in his latest report, released in August 2020, he also found that the rate of decline was slowing down.
Hold The Front Page is produced by CPL Productions (A League Of Their Own, There’s Something About Movies).
Writing in his own journal, West Sussex Gazette Editor-in-Chief Oli Poole said: “We are extremely excited to be a part of this project, which we hope will be a true celebration of local journalism and the magnificent West Sussex County. “
Director and Editor-in-Chief Gary Shipton added: “Reliable local information has never been more important. We think this will really raise the profile of local newspapers and the power of the ‘local’ in a post-pandemic world and we are grateful to Josh, Nish and CPL for asking us to get involved. “
Radio 4 piloted Hold The Front Page, a 2017 local newspaper panel hosted by Sue Perkins and starring Lucy Porter, Guz Khan and Phil Ellis. ITV also produced a children’s sitcom of the same name in 1974 with Denise Coffey.
For updates, click on the buttons below.