Linehan wins an Emmy for sitcom on the IT set


IRISH COMEDY writer Graham Linehan was yesterday celebrating another major television award. At a ceremony in New York on Monday night, his sitcom, The IT Crowd, won an International Emmy for best comedy, beating nominees from Peru, Germany and Japan.

''Im sitting in a hotel room in New York looking at this great skyline and there's a big Emmy taking up half the room," he said yesterday. ''Life cant get much better than that.''

The 40-year-old Dubliner is writer and director of the Channel 4 sitcom, which centres on the misadventures of three characters in the IT services department of a fictitious London company.

With Irish actor Chris O'Dowd starring alongside Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson, it began its third series last Friday night.

The International Emmies are awarded to non-US television productions, and The IT Crowd's win is the latest bost for the show.

Despite an initially lukewarm response from critics, it has now won a number of gongs, including The Best Sitcom Award at the annual Rose d'Or International TV festival and a Royal Television Society Award for Best Comedy Writing. "Everything takes a while to establish itself and we had a bad start,'' Linehan admitted yesterday.

''We panicked a little and the pitch wasn't right. But I'm really pleased with this series.

''I've relaxed into it a lot more, the actors are more relaxed in terms of working in front of a studio audience and we're in a really nice zone at the moment.''

Although still best known for co-writing Father Tedwith Arthur Mathews, Linehan has worked with many of the leading lights of modern British comedy, including Chris Morris, Steve Coogan and Harry Enfield.

The International Emmy will join other prizes on Linehan's mantelpiece, including Bafta awards won for Father Tedand Black Books, a sitcom he co-wrote with Irish comedian Dylan Moran.

''With The IT CrowdI felt I was really testing myself,'' said Linehan.

''I was curious to see if I could do it on my own and this at least suggests that its been successful.'' Although a fourth series of The IT Crowdhas yet to be commissioned by Channel 4, Linehan is hoping that it will be.

''While we're hitting our stride it would be good to get another one done quickly,'' Linehan remarked.