Wednesday, 18 June 2008

My Priorities for Comedy

TO: Corporation Comedy Unit; All Key Comedy Suppliers; Armando Iannucci; Jimmy Mulville; Ash Atalla
CC: Perry Mansell; John Thoday

Hello everyone.

I thought it would be a good time to outline a couple of thoughts regarding Comedy and the Youth Channel for Spring 2009.

We've had some amazing successes in this area over the last couple of years, but I am worried that we're a little bit niche when it comes to this part of the schedule.

Are we too "cool" for our own good?

Lucy Lumsden and Simon Wilson are doing brilliantly in this area, but they, like me, are also very keen for us to open up comedy on the Youth Channel to a new, bigger, more accessible (and perhaps a little less bright) audience.

Whilst our core audience is - and always will remain - the hard-to-reach PSP-obsessed Bebo-committed 10-17 age group, perhaps we can catch their 32-45 year-old parents, friends, colleagues, uncles, older friends and family if we chime the right chords??

Fawlty Towers did hotels, Only Fools and Horses did market trading, Dear John did bedsits, Open All Hours did corner shops and The Office did offices. So what are the new spaces where we spend our work, leisure and private times? Where are we going to find the new Del Boys, David Brents, Arkwrights and Basil Fawltys?

Don't forget the power of the red button in all of this. How can we make the audience at home BECOME the audience in the comedy venue? And where is the new Dennis Pennis coming from? They can't all be up in Edinburgh!!

I think there is also room to create a new comedy genre: the "reality comedy". Imagine for a moment Mike Leigh and Stephen Lambert (RIP) locked in a room with just some paper and pencils for an hour. What would they create? What kind of wicked characters and situations would come out of that meeting?

With the goodwill of Myfanwy Moore and Richard Klein I want the finest reality producers to sit down with some of our most ambitious comedy talent to develop ideas that blend these two brilliantly popular genres. Only on this channel could we invest and support such a dynamic partnership. Throw in a cool up and coming house band and we'll be cooking with gas.

I will call this exciting new hybrid: Drama-dy™

Talent - both on-screen and off, is a major thing we care about here. I want to ensure that under-represented people get a fair chance to develop and hone their skills within the Corporation on My Channel.

So where are the disabled or lesbian (or both!?) comic talents?? Where are the next Ash Atalla's coming from? What is happening with the underground yet hugely funny area of blind comedy? Is that genre ready for youthful, mainstream audiences yet? And what exactly can we do (or not do possibly) with deaf and/or albino talent??

Look, just go out there and have some fucking fun. Be brave, and be bold. My team are eagily awaiting your Dramady™ ideas.

Best wishes



Anonymous said...

thank god you are back - the headmistress is too boring!

Anonymous said...

Well well well.

Anonymous said...

I too am on the inside and we must have spoken at some point close by Katie Taylor's office about comedy and such. I belive things could have been afoot with said dept. only they like to see things nice and neat, which means there's all the more scope for rewarding, praiseworthy material for you and your channel to draw from and pillage from.
Will be in touch...if that's ok.
Back in Black.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Apprentice is over, what will the bods in light entertainment do with thenmselves? They could give Said or Tre their own show. Put them together in a Pakistan VS Bangladesh shoot out, a cricket world cup would be pale in comparison.
Keep the flag flying,
Dave from Doncaster.

William Wren said...

great blog