Gervais switches to Rogue after Velocity Films forced to shut

The economic downturn has claimed another victim, the six-year-old production company Velocity Films, which had recently signed Ricky Gervais, the star of The Office.

Velocity is set to cease trading next month, when Simon Eakhurst, the managing director and executive producer, will move with The Office's writer/directing duo, Gervais and Steve Merchant, to Rogue Films. The Swedish director Stig-Ake Nilsson will also move to Rogue, which specialises in comedy.

Eakhurst, who became the managing director in October 1998, said: "It just seemed like the right time to go into a stronger position; as a smaller company you'll always be fighting the bigger companies. Rogue has got the same mentality and attitude to the industry. It has got a very good company structure."

Velocity will carry on trading until the completion of its last job - which is currently in progress - although its office closes at the end of the month.