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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 08:23 GMT
Talking Shop: The Cowards

The Cowards
The Cowards are (l to r) Tom Basden, Lloyd Woolf, Stefan Golaszewski and Tim Key

Comedy sketch group The Cowards have "taken over" the BBC Three website for six weeks.

The four-some - Tim Key, Tom Basden, Lloyd Woolf and Stefan Golaszewski - were a hit at the Edinburgh festival in 2005 and 2006.

Their work has been described as "reinventing sketch comedy".

Tim Key explains why they have brought their unique take on the world to BBC Three's website.

How did the Cowards get together?

We got together in 2003 while I was producing a comedy. We sat in a cafe in Edinburgh drinking tea and decided we wanted to write and perform together. We are quite an even-handed group and work well together.

We almost called ourselves the Nearly Men, but settled for the Cowards.

How would you sum up The Cowards up in four words?

Creative, prolific, tea-drinkers, and disposable. I don't mean we are disposable, but our work is.

What's this BBC Three thing all about?

We were asked to take over the BBC Three website for six weeks and it's been really great.

When you put together a pilot for a TV show, you have to think, "how can our stuff work on TV?" With the website we have had to think of interesting ways to do our stuff, thinking about "white space" sketches, and working with animators and the like. It's been a creative process for us.

But you do feel like a bit of a guinea pig. Like an experiment that may or may not work.

It feels a bit risky too. If you make a half-hour pilot TV show, then it's either good, or it's not, then it's over. With the website, it is there all the time and people who make decisions are able to see it all of the time. In that way it is lower pressure, but high pressure at the same time.

Who are your comedy influences?

We all like the same comedy. We watch the obvious stuff like The Office, Alan Partridge, Curb Your Enthusiasm, but we also really like each other's writing. I'm really into Seinfeld at the moment too. I got the CD box set and got a bit addicted.

Are you a coward?

No, not at all. We are all quite bold, so there is irony there. Some of the people in our sketches are though. They are not very self-aware and don't recognise their flaws.

I hear you have a broken arm at the moment. How did you manage to do that?

It was at the wrap party for The Cowards in Glasgow. What can I say? I was very drunk and I fell. If it had happened a week earlier then it would have been trouble. As it happens, it was a lucky break.

It was horrible, and I'm getting phantom movements in my arm. I think it's moved, but when I look down it is still in the same position. While I feel like I'm getting a lot of sympathy for my situation, I would like a lot more.

Who is your favourite fellow Coward?

Twiggy [Lloyd Woolf]. We sit together on long journeys and he also helps me put my shoes on, which is important at the moment. In fact I may be calling him soon as I feel like putting them on again.

Tim Key talked to BBC News Entertainment reporter Caroline Briggs.

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