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Hat Trick co-founder Jimmy Mulville has blamed the BBC’s “unwise” slimming down of panel shows and Channel 4’s commissioning slowdown for the dismantling of his company's comedy entertainment team.

Hat Trick exec producer for non-scripted Stu Mather has left the indie after 12 years, alongside two junior staff members.

Mather, who oversaw the indie’s long-running BBC1 show Have I Got News For You and Mastermind, which it has been co-producing with Hindsight Productions since 2019, has previously clocked up credits on Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 out of 10 Cats and Would I Lie To You?.

Speaking to Broadcast, Mulville said that in axing both Mock the Week and Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, as well as resting Hat Trick’s Room 101 in 2018, the BBC had decided to “basically cancel the genre of studio comedy entertainment”.

Describing this retreat as “an unwise move”, he said these sorts of shows attract younger viewers.

“Let’s be honest, the BBC needs to find ways of attracting younger viewers since it disastrously dismantled BBC3,” he said.

Hat Trick also made panel show Hypothetical for Dave, but this was axed last year after four series.

Meanwhile for C4, the indie had expected to build on last year’s Prince Andrew: the Musical with more commissions before the broadcaster cut back on new shows.

Have I Got News For You has been on air since 1990 and remains a core show in BBC1’s schedule, currently airing on Friday nights.

Hat Trick is contracted to produce the show until at least 2025 and is also working on a US version, and Mather is expected to continue to work with the production team in some capacity.

The indie also has a joint venture with Strong Watch Studios to develop comedy entertainment formats for digital platforms.

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