Marion and Geoff creator Hugo Blick is to move away from comedy and into fully blown crime drama with a major series for BBC2.

He will write and direct The Shadow Line, a cliffhanger-laden drama that BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow described as having the same scope and ambition as such BBC2 landmarks as Our Friends in the North, Smiley’s People and Edge of Darkness.

Hadlow told Media Guardian: “The narrative takes place partly in the world of the police, who are investigating a murder. There is a parallel story … in the criminal world.”

It is understood that the drama will not follow the usual conventions of the genre, though Hadlow declined to unveil further details.

The Shadow Line is planned as a 6 x 60-minute series and is earmarked for a 9pm weekday slot. It will not tx until at least 2011.

Blick has made a name for himself with comedy monologues Marion and Geoff, co-written with its star Rob Brydon, and Sensitive Skin, which starred Joanna Lumley.

He is also executive producing upcoming BBC2 comedy Roger And Val Have Just Got In, starring Dawn French and Alfred Molina.

The commission fits with Hadlow’s stated ambition to increase the amount of modern, pacy thrillers on BBC2.

BBC Vision director Jana Bennett this week announced that BBC2’s drama budget would rise by 50% over the next three years to pave the way for “distinctive, authored series”.