The founders of Rab C Nesbitt producer The Comedy Unit are leaving the firm five years after it was bought out by the then RDF Media Group.

Managing director April Chamberlain and senior creative director Colin Gilbert are standing down from the Zodiak Media indie early next year.

Gilbert will continue to work for The Comedy Unit on a freelance basis, keeping the door open for him to return to exec more series of the BBC2 Scottish sitcom. However, Chamberlain will pursue other interests in the industry.

Gilbert first set up the unit as an in-house project at the BBC, before leaving to recreate it as a Glasgow indie with Chamberlain in 1996. They sold it to RDF, now Zodiak, in 2006.

As well as Rab C Nesbitt – currently on its tenth run– the team has produced Chewin’ The Fat, Still Game, Gary Tank Commander and Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights, as well as BBC Scotland sketch shows Limmy’s Show and Burnistoun, which are vying for a Scottish Bafta this weekend.

The Comedy Unit creative director Rab Christie, who has worked at the indie since 1998, has been promoted to managing director as a result of the departures.

He said: “Colin and April have an awesome reputation across the comedy industry. They’ve produced some legendary titles and although they’re moving on, I’m sure they won’t be disappearing.”

Zodiak UK chief executive Joely Fether added: “There is a real hunger for new comedy in the market and it’s a fantastic time for Zodiak to be so active in this genre.

“The Comedy Unit is at an exciting point in its evolution and Rab’s new role, alongside some great new colleagues at Bwark, means we have an amazing bunch of people at Zodiak trying very hard to be funny.”