“I came here to drink milk and kick ass… and I’ve just finished my milk,” cries Richard Ayoade’s unmistakable Moss in the IT Crowd. Taking a break from kicking ass at Street Countdown, Ayoade has directed the wonderful Submarine and the film’s reinvigorating take on the coming-of-age theme is refreshing to see, not least because it’s British talent given space to prosper.

Ever since Warp Films released its dry presser in the first person perspective of Oliver Tate (played by newcomer Craig Roberts), in which he stated that he’d be surprised if the film lasted under three hours, we’ve been twitching for a glimpse down Submarine’s periscope. A promising trend has hit the zeitgeist where strong comedic talents are expressing themselves on the big screen, and Ayoade could well be the poster boy. His adaptation of Joe Dunthorne’s book draws comparisons with Wes Anderson and Alexander Payne, and you can see why.

Ayoade’s idiosyncratic approach to music videos has helped him stand out from the crowd and form a close friendship with Arctic Monkeys; the public’s love/hate reaction to the promo for the band’s single ‘Cornerstone’ a perfect demonstration of his filmic potential. A one-shot vid, Ayoade showed some nerve to present Alex Turner singing on his tod against a white wall, its cheeky premise rubbing many up the wrong way. Then the Yeah Yeah Yeahs promo for ‘Heads Will Roll’ demonstrated he could be glossy and comically inventive as well as obscure; perfect ingredients for a lengthy career in the movies. So what next for the man Moss? Word is he’s weighing up a suicide cult comedy with Ben Stiller or an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Double.

But Submarine is just the start of British TV comics making for the movies. After spending much of his youth deconstructing film sets and making mini movies with lego men, Adam Buxton’s friend and colleague Joe Cornish makes a welcome directorial debut come May 13th. Attack the Block takes Cornish’s encyclopaedic knowledge of films and mashes them up to create both scary and funny results, a difficult tone to hit. If anyone can do it though it’s Cornish – with writing credits that include Big Train (surely one of the finest sketch shows ever) and Spielberg’s new Tintin, he knows his way around a script. Having Edgar Wright and Garth Jennings on speed dial can’t do much to harm your skills behind the camera either, and the film’s premise of ‘Inner City vs Outer Space’ is perfect for Cornish’s English bent. If anyone can stop an alien invasion in South London then it’s a load of kids in hoodies and Nick Frost, isn’t it?

Produced by Big Talk Productions, it’s another addition to their envious portfolio that includes Paul and Scott Pilgrim. Companies like this currently lead the way in both their business model and zest for capturing talent. Able to produce great telly like Spaced, Free Agents and Rev, and of course great cinema, they enable a creative bubble, a basis to flourish and a forum for artists to develop. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Tom Hollander have all been in their TV shows and successful films over the pond. Long may it continue.

By Ian Roebuck

Originally published in issue 26 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. March 2011