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The Pharmacy: Channel 4 commissions pharmacist-penned comedy short

The Pharmacy will look “behind the counter” at a “group of misfits” team facing some all-too familiar frustrations in a comedy by pharmacist and comedian Ola Labib.

Channel 4 has commissioned a new community pharmacy-based comedy short created by pharmacist and comedian Ola Labib, the broadcaster announced this week (May 16).

The Pharmacy will take a “semi-autobiographical” look “behind the counter” of a Wigan pharmacy “as the oddball staff attempt to cure their community one patient at a time”, it said.

Read more: A.A. Dhand: Pharmacist crime author to publish new novel The Chemist

The show will feature “a diverse group of misfits, tempted by the pills they serve customers whilst dealing with high rent, high stress and low pay”, it said.

The Pharmacy is one of four so-called Blaps commissioned by Channel 4, which are online short-form comedies that have been the “launch pad” for shows like We Are Lady Parts and Stath Lets Flats, it added.

Read more: ITV to shine a light on community pharmacy in new documentary

Channel 4’s head of comedy Charlie Perkins said that the channel “can’t wait to show people what the very best up-and-coming comedy brains can do in this brilliant haul and beyond”.

Perkins added that it was possible a TV series might follow the new short.

However, Channel 4 did not provide a release date for The Pharmacy, stating that it will be released “in due course”.


Pharmacy anecdotes “are endless”


Labib today (May 17) shared a triumphal post on X (formerly Twitter) celebrating her project’s commissioning .

“My fellow pharmacist can back me when I say, the anecdotes in a pharmacy are endless,” she said in her post.

Read more: ‘Virdee’: Pharmacist crime novelist’s bestsellers to be made into BBC series

Labib is a registered pharmacist and a prolific comedian known for her “engaging stories…inspired by both her strict Islamic and traditional African upbringing”, according to her talent agency.

Her first-hand experience as a pharmacist will mean that her show will likely avoid the cardinal error made in the smash-hit Happy Valley, which featured a dodgy pharmacist who wore a white coat.

Read more: Happy Valley: The men in white coats have come for Auntie Beeb

The announcement comes on the back of the news that popular crime author and pharmacist A.A. Dhand’s next novel will feature a plot inspired by his own experiences of “drugs, dealers and incredible stories of maverick drug-deals”.

In August last year, the BBC announced that it had commissioned a six-part series based on Dhand’s Harry Virdee novels.

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