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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 10:38 GMT
Gervais comedy in BBC Two line-up
Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais stars in Extras as a struggling actor
The new comedy series from Office creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant is among the highlights of the spring and summer season on BBC Two.

Extras stars Gervais as a man who gives up his day job to become an actor but has trouble finding major roles.

The show features cameos from stars including Kate Winslet and Ben Stiller.

Other highlights of the season include a second series of The Catherine Tate Show and Sensitive Skin, a dark comedy starring Joanna Lumley.

The show follows the ups and downs of a successful couple, played by Lumley and Denis Lawson, living in London.

New territory

BBC Two controller Roly Keating promised the season would bring "great new comedy from some of Britain's best comic talent".

Among the new factual programmes are The Monastery, in which five laymen face the challenge of living the life of a monk for 40 days.

Dick and  Dom
Dick and Dom will revive the quiz show Ask The Family

In How To Start Your Own Country Danny Wallace, who became famous for his Random Acts Of Kindness collective, goes on a quest to create a new territory.

Other documentaries will include the TV premiere of The Fog Of War, the Oscar-winning film about the life of former US secretary of Defence Robert McNamara.

'Depth and scale'

Music will also feature heavily with Soul Deep, a series following the story of soul music, and Beethoven, a docu-drama that stars Paul Rhys as the composer. Among the dramas making their debut will be To The Ends Of The Earth, based on the William Golding trilogy about a young English aristocrat on a voyage to Australia in the 19th Century.

Keating said that the channel's drama line-up would feature "plenty of the depth and scale that viewers expect from BBC Two landmark series".

The season will also see the return of the classic BBC quiz show Ask The Family, this time fronted by children's TV hosts Dick and Dom. Meanwhile Springwatch, hosted by Bill Oddie, will take a look at wildlife across Britain.

Sport will also play a part in the spring line-up, with BBC Two screening coverage of the Women's European Football Championships, which are being held in England.

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