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Dickensian series for comedy stars

QI presenter Stephen Fry and comedy sketch duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb are to star in a new Dickensian TV comedy series.

BBC Two said production is under way on The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff, a new four-part comedy adventure.

The series is set in the Dickensian world of Jedrington Secret-Past, the up-standing family man and owner of The Old Shop of Stuff, Victorian London's most successful purveyor of miscellaneous odd things.

The BBC in-house production will start with a one-hour Christmas special followed by three 30-minute episodes to air early next year.

The Christmas special will feature Fry as the evil lawyer Malifax Skulkingworm alongside Webb in the role of Jedrington and Mitchell, co-star of comedy sketch show That Mitchell And Webb Look.

Katherine Parkinson of The IT Crowd plays Jedrington's wife Conceptiva.

The show is produced by Gareth Edwards - producer of That Mitchell And Webb Look - and written by Mark Evans who penned Radio 4 comedy Bleak Expectations, a Victorian adventure about another set of Dickensian characters.

BBC head of in-house comedy Mark Freeland said: "Mark Evans's already well-loved Victorian comic world is a wonderful way to celebrate the bicentenary of Dickens's birth. He probably wouldn't have agreed, but I am very excited."

Webb added: "I'm really looking forward to working with my all-time hero David Mitchell. Apparently Stephen Fry is in it too, which is nice."

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