Jesting About

Hoorah! I got selected to develop some ideas for online comedy with the BBC. I could play it cool, like, “sure, that’s nice” but I have to say I am beyond chuffed about this.

There’s a press release on the BBC website*.

The basic gist is: the BBC hands over some money and I work up the three pitches I submitted (one live action dingus – Doorsteppers – and two animated thingummies – The Answer Yam and The World of the World with Ben Klimmek) and hopefully come up with a few more. From what I can gather, I have to produce three minutes of something by the end of April. Wonder what it’ll be? Can’t wait to find out. Hope it’s good…

It was interesting when I got the call to say I’d been accepted ‘cos I couldn’t exactly remember what I’d pitched. I’d got the deadline so totally wrong that all three pitch documents had to be written and submitted in around three hours. Which meant Ben had to generate the art super-quick. Bet he was pleased. He looked pleased. Welcome to the world of working with Harris, Klimmek. It’s all part of my charm. Unreliability is charming, right?

Here’s a Klimmek pic from The Answer Yam pitch. Grand!

*this got me a mention on Chortle – which I didn’t realise was a bit of a dream come true until it happened.

BBC Comedy: Playing It Safe?

An interesting article on Broadcast asks whether the BBC are risk-averse when it comes to comedy commissioning.

One recurring issue is the sense of a paint-by-numbers approach to comedy commissioning. Jeremy Salsby, head of development at So Television and executive producer of the Bafta-nominated CBBC sketch show Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, says: “Comedy has to be instinctive but recently it feels like it has become too prescriptive. Too much effort goes into trying to work out the science of it and into safe casting and safe writing and producing – so actually what you end up with is more of the same.”

His views are echoed by a frustrated up-and-coming writer who says BBC commissioners often demand a show set in a specific location – say, a workplace – and insist the lead characters are a certain age or gender. Half a dozen writers begin work on the idea but only one is chosen.

Lucy Lumsden, BBC controller of comedy commissioning, doesn’t recognise the charge. “We never put down [prescribe] a subject matter – the whole point is that we welcome a range of ideas… 20% of the strategy is, ‘Here are the bits of the schedule that we need to fill’ and 80% is, ‘What have you got?’

Read the full article on Broadcast.