ALAN Partridge turned Norwich into a laughing stock, David Brent did it in Slough ... now Dave Bassett is set to do the same in Wirral.

Television network ITV has announced plans to produce a new comedy series set in Wirral starring Ricky Tomlinson as the incompetent manager of a fictional Wirral-based football club.

The series is a spin off from the 2001 British feature film 'Mike Bassett: England Manager' which charted the managerial highs and lows of Tomlinson's character, Mike Bassett, as he rose from obscurity to the heady world of international football coaching.

In the series to be screened next year Mike Bassett has fallen on hard times and is now the manager of lowly third division club Wirral County.

ITV are in negotiations with Tomlinson and his co-star in the original movie, Amanda Redman, who it is hoped will also appear in the series.

Sioned Wiliam, who commissioned the comedy for ITV, said: "The series follows one agonising football season as Bassett struggles to keep his marriage, his team and his sanity from hitting the buffers.

"Mike Bassett was a huge hit in cinemas and we are thrilled to be bringing these great characters back in this new incarnation. It's wonderful to be working with such great actors and such talented writers."

The writers are Rob Sprackling and John Smith. Rob said: "We can't wait to bring Bassett to the small screen. His hapless antics at the bum end of the football league are the perfect antidote to the super cool glamour of the Premiership."

Steve Foulkes, leader of Wirral council and an avid football fan, said: "Anything that improves the profile of Wirral has got to be good and if it's starring Ricky Tomlinson I'm sure it will be a real hoot.

"Wirral already has its football team and we're all hoping they get promoted this season so let's hope it's not a case of reality following fiction!"