THEY dreamed of replacing The Inbetweeners and becoming the latest Irish act to make it big on UK TV.
But the Rubberbandits' hopes have been dashed after their pilot was turned down for a full series by Channel 4.
Having impressed station bosses with a series of online clips for Channel 4's Comedy Blaps, the broadcaster hired Father Ted director Declan Lowney to film a 30-minute pilot in Limerick showcasing the 'Bandits unique brand of humour'.
Aired last November, it received good reviews and hopes were high that the Irish duo would get the green light for a full series.
However, the Herald has learned that Channel 4 has decided not to commission a series from the duo, who became a national sensation in 2010 with their Republic Of Telly hit Horse Outside.
The decision is all the more puzzling given the rising profile of the act in the UK, who have enjoyed sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, and the patronage of MTV presenter Laura Whitmore at shows in London's Soho.
An insider hinted that the 'Bandits failure to get the Channel 4 gig is connected to the departure of the channel's head of comedy, Shane Allen, to the BBC'.
"Shane was a big fan of the Rubberbandits and had championed them. None of the other Comedy Labs pilots he had been working on while at Channel 4 have been commissioned yet into a full series," said the insider.
However, with Allen recently appointed BBC Controller, Comedy Commissioning at the BBC, the Bandits could soon be beeb bound where they would join Brendan O'Carroll's Mrs Brown's Boys.
Frontmen Blind Boy Boat Club and Mr Chrome are said to have taken the bad news on the chin and are now busy working on a new live set.