Ricky Gervais Lends His Pen to PHONESHOP

     November 13, 2009

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Ricky Gervais is working his ass off lately. The Invention of Lying just ended its theatrical run, and he’s got another film, Cemetery Junction, coming next year. Now he’s entering the mobile phone market with PhoneShop. Gervais is editing the script for the series, which will air in the U.K. on Channel 4. Phil Bowker created, produced, and wrote the series. Bowker, who gave Gervais his first job on TV a decade ago, has produced several TV shows, but this will be his first run at writing and directing.  Little is known about PhoneShop, but it will take place at a cell phone store in a mall. The story (I’m guessing first episode) revolves around Christopher (Tom Bennett) who has to sell a cell phone by closing time to get a job at the store.  More on the series after the jump.

“Everyone’s got a mobile phone and has had some encounter in a phone shop,” Angela Jain, head of E4, told the U.K. daily (via Variety). “It’s also about those difficult dead-end jobs that everyone has at least once in their lives.”

It’s hard not to think of Gervais’ The Office, which was about the daily office hijinks at a mid-level regional paper supplier. It’s good to see him lending a hand to a new series, which should give its premiere numbers a boost. Gervais has a unique way of incorporating strong moral messages into his work, without expensing the comedy. As someone who was in the cell phone industry for three years, I can say that there is plenty of comedy to mine there. It’s a ridiculous industry. I hope this hits U.S. shores on HBO or DVD.

The series will air on Friday as part of Channel 4’s “Comedy Showcase.” The full series will follow on the digital E4 network.