Comedy Central (British TV channel)
Comedy Central is a British pay television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated. This channel is specific to audiences within the United Kingdom and Ireland. The channel is aligned with the original US version of the channel. The channel started as Paramount Channel in 1995, before rebranding as the Paramount Comedy Channel in 1997 and again as Paramount Comedy 1 before finally becoming Comedy Central on 6 April 2009.
|Launched||1 November 1995|
|Network||Comedy Central (UK & Ireland)|
|Owned by||Paramount UK Partnership|
(Paramount British Pictures/Sky)
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
0.05% (+1) (June 2019 , BARB)
|Country||United Kingdom and Ireland|
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom and Ireland|
|Formerly called||The Paramount Channel|
Paramount Comedy Channel
Paramount Comedy 1
|Timeshift service||Comedy Central +1|
|Sky (UK)||Channel 112 (SD/HD)|
Channel 212 (+1)
Channel 812 (SD)
|Sky (Ireland)||Channel 112|
Channel 212 (+1)
Channel 341 (HD)
|Virgin Media (UK)||Channel 132|
Channel 133 (+1)
Channel 181 (HD)
|Virgin Media (Ireland)||Channel 127|
Channel 128 (+1)
Channel 177 (HD)
|TalkTalk TV||Channel 307|
|BT TV||Channel 307|
Channel 370 (HD)
|Plusnet TV||Channel 307|
Channel 370 (HD)
|Eir Vision||Channel 112 |
Channel 127 (+1)
Channel 189 (HD)
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
|Now TV||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
|Virgin TV||Watch live (UK only)|
|TalkTalk TV||Watch live (UK only)|
|TVPlayer||Watch live (UK only)|
The channel was launched as The Paramount Channel on 1 November 1995. The original schedule was a mixture of comedy and drama, including such eclectic offerings as Beauty and the Beast, several Japanese anime productions acquired from Manga Entertainment, and authentic Paramount archive programming such as The Magician, as well as Nickelodeon's Ren & Stimpy, due to its rather adult nature at times. It originally aired every evening after Nickelodeon's closing at 7:00pm until around 4:00am, with a testcard featuring a chicken crossing the road and holding up traffic airing during downtime until Nickelodeon started up at 6:00am.
In February 1997, the Paramount Channel became the Paramount Comedy Channel, a channel dedicated solely to comedy.
With expansion of Sky Digital on 4 February 2001, the channel no longer shared air time with Nickelodeon and started broadcasting with a daytime schedule beginning broadcasts at 9:00am. On 1 July 2002, the channel renamed itself Paramount Comedy. By 2005, with the timeshift channel Paramount Comedy 2 having gone on the air in 2003, the primary channel was renamed as Paramount Comedy 1.
On 17 February 2009, it was confirmed that Paramount Comedy 1 would become Comedy Central from 6 April 2009 in the UK and Ireland. Since season 13, Comedy Central has aired new episodes of South Park two days after they aired in the US (i.e., the episodes air on Comedy Central US on Wednesdays, and air on the UK counterpart on Fridays.) At 9:00pm on 6 April, Paramount Comedy 1 officially rebranded as Comedy Central, with the last programme on PC1 being an episode of Scrubs and the first programme on Comedy Central being a new episode of Two and a Half Men.
After no longer having to timeshare with Nickelodeon, the station increased its broadcasting hours, and was joined by Paramount Comedy 2 (later rebranded as Comedy Central Extra) on 1 September 2003.
A high-definition version, Comedy Central HD, launched on 9 August 2010 on Sky channel 222. On 1 September 2010 the channel also became available on Virgin Media channel 133. Comedy Central HD broadcasts high-definition programming including Two and a Half Men, 30 Rock and South Park, in addition to new UK commissions. Virgin Media will also make some popular Comedy Central HD programmes available on demand.
A second timeshift, Paramount Comedy 2 +1 (now Comedy Central Extra +1) was launched on Sky channel 159, on 5 November 2007. Nicktoons Replay did timeshare with the channel between 6:00am and 7:00pm. However, the channel closed on 2 October 2012 and was replaced with a one-hour timeshift version of Nick Jr. Comedy Central Extra +1 has since been re-instated and is now available on Sky Channel 159 as Comedy Central Extra +1.
Availability in Ireland
Comedy Central has an alternative Irish feed of the same channel available on Sky Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Vodafone TV and eir. The feed launched in May 2006, advertising on this channel is overseen by Sky Media Ireland. The domain name comedycentral.ie also redirects to comedycentral.co.uk. An additional Irish commercial feed of the time-shift service, Comedy Central +1, was also launched shortly after the parent channel's re-branding on 6 April 2009. On July 31, 2019, Comedy Central Ireland +1 ceased broadcasting.
|Name||Original channel||Original run|
|Live at the Apollo||BBC One|
|Two and a Half Men||CBS||2003–2015|
|Drunk History||Comedy Central UK||2015–present|
|Impractical Jokers||BBC Three|
Comedy Central UK
|Bad Education||BBC Three||2012–2014|
|Russell Howard's Good News||BBC Three|
|Russell Howard's Stand Up Central||Comedy Central UK||2015–present|
|South Park||Comedy Central||1997–present|
|The Cleveland Show||Fox||2009–2013|
Comedy Central UK
|1983–1995, 1997, 2000–2001, 2012, 2019–present|
In October 2011, Threesome, a narrative comedy series and Comedy Central's first original scripted comedy began. The series starred Emun Elliott, Irish actor Amy Huberman and Stephen Wight, was written by Tom MacRae and produced by Big Talk Productions.
In May 2012, it was announced that Comedy Central was to make a major push into original comedy content, with more than 20 new projects at various stages of development, and 10 scripts already ordered. Programming executive Sarah Farrell told trade magazine Broadcast, "This time next year, we will be doing as many of those projects as we possibly can. We are looking for things that are big, broad and accessible, with the laugh-out-loud factor that comes from big jokes and set pieces." She also noted that they are now "fully committed to the plans."
The process was being micro-managed by Paramount bosses in New York, but with the announcement of such projects and Threesome's success, UK executives have been given greater control. Farrell also indicated that if the already commissioned second series of Threesome is popular, then "a third run could be up to 22 episodes in length."
As of May 2012, details about most of the new projects are not publicly available, though the magazine Broadcast reported minor details of a proposed single-camera sitcom about a graduate who moves back in with his parents. A pilot episode of Big Bad World, which is written by Joe Tucker and Lloyd Woolf is reportedly being produced by Objective Productions and by the team behind Peep Show. Tristram Shapeero, who had been working in the US and whose credits include Happy Endings, Green Wing, Community and I'm Alan Partridge, will direct, with Andrew Newman and Ben Farrell executive producing. Five further scripts are already complete, should the pilot be seen in a positive light by Comedy Central bosses.
Comedy Central's move into original productions did not come without problems, as it was announced in April 2012 that Pete Thornton, the channel's comedy commissioner, had resigned to return to the BBC comedy department as its Creative Head of Comedy, and would oversee Comic Relief 2013. Comedy Central is one of several UK digital channels to work on increasing their original comedy output, with BSkyB investing in new British comedy programmes, and UKTV channels Dave and Gold also producing more of their own content.
Alongside the other VIMN (Viacom International Media Networks) networks in the UK, Comedy Central, fuelled by the purchase of Channel 5, there has been an announcement to open a production studio to make programming for Comedy Central and other channels.
It was announced in 2016 that Comedy Central and Channel X had greenlit a new prank comedy reality show presented and starting YouTuber Ben Phillips and his friends. The new series, titled Ben Phillips Blows Up, the channel announced there would be a 22-minute pilot episode due to be released in 2017 on Comedy Central. A full series would happen if the show is well received.
The channel frequently airs weekend marathons which consist of one or two shows being on-air for the majority of the day. They often contain loose themes and are on occasion sponsored, such as the "He Ain't Funny, He's My Brother" marathon which ran on the night of 24 November 2007. This night consisted of episodes from shows with a strong brother relationship theme and was sponsored by the film The Darjeeling Limited to promote its nationwide release.
Comedy Central also broadcasts comedy, animation or action films, including South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Dumb and Dumber, Jerry Maguire, The Mask, White Chicks, Scary Movie 3, Teen Wolf, 13 Going on 30, Bad Boys, Bad Boys 2, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me and Happy Feet.
The channel has begun showing movies on a regular basis, typically from 10:00 pm onwards.
Until late 2011, Comedy Central and Comedy Central Extra continued to air in 4:3 in standard-definition, although many shows had already converted to 16:9 widescreen format, they were cropped to remain in a full-frame screen and later some were letterboxed. The shows on Comedy Central HD air in 16:9, though those in 4:3 are pillarboxed to fit the frame of widescreen. This practice was extended to the standard-definition channels when they began broadcasting in widescreen.
- "Paramount to expand from 4 Feb". The Airwaves. 17 December 2000. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
- Wilkes, Neil (17 February 2009). "Paramount Comedy to become Comedy Central". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
- "MTV confirms Comedy Central HD launch". Digital Spy. 5 August 2010.
- "Comedy Central HD to launch on Virgin Media". Virgin Media. 5 August 2010.
- "Comedy Central UK orders 'Threesome'". Digital Spy. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
- "Comedy Central pushing further original UK projects". British Comedy Guide. 3 May 2012.
- "Home – Channel 5".
- "Thursday Night Movies". Comedy Central UK.