Comedy Writing

I spent a few years determined to become a sitcom writer. The four scripts I wrote all made it reasonably far through the BBC Writersroom scheme, but not far enough to do anything with. From memory, having not read them in years, here's what they were.

It Might Never Happen

The first script I wrote, It Might Never Happen, is a sitcom about a group of friends as they try to better themselves but are trapped by their own idiocy. It came from going to a friend's book launch and getting a text message while there with an attached image – a grab from Google Streetview that despite a blurred face was clearly me, clearly really drunk. "Ah," I thought. "My friend is a lot more successful than me. I am an idiot. I shouldn't be here, I'm too stupid." I remember there being a funny bit about winning a BAFTA, holding it in front of one's face and doing a Terminator voice. I got called into a masterclass thing at the old BBC Television Centre for this, but it was a bit odd – it was absolutely put together with writer-performers in mind, so as great as it was to be given advice by Rebecca Front and Adil Ray on how to develop an accent, as a non-performer I didn't get that much useful out of it. Looking back at it, that was an odd day.

Afterimpact

I love the film Speed, which is where this script came from. At the end of Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock get together, but by the time of Speed 2, Bullock is dating Jason Patric. I liked the idea of exploring a couple that had come together in incredibly violent circumstances. I took elements of the also-excellent Executive Decision and Under Siege and ended up with a couple, he an IT support worker, she a former Miss Great Britain, who foiled a terrorist plot and are living in witness protection. There were some good gags in it, but my attempts at playing PTSD for domestic-type laughs (the guy bringing up that he killed fourteen terrorists and saved London every time they have any sort of argument) had something to them but needed me to be a better writer than I was at the time. I think I'd do a better job now. There was also a really stupid touch in that they were visited every week by a member of the witness prtection programme, Special Agent Stone Cold Steve Austin, who would have been played by the wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin. Thinking about the whole thing now it was a tonal nightmare.

Quarantine

An attempt to go a bit Red Dwarf-y, this was set in a South London tower block that was cordoned off by the government after a mysterious impact. It was mainly based around a pizza delivery man who got trapped there, but jumped about to various other flats and how their inhabitants were filling the time. There was some vaguely conspiracy theory-esque stuff in there as well. The plot of the episode involved someone thinking a sex party was an escape attempt, I think. Something like that. And some properly smutty double-entendres. It doesn't sound great, does it?

Losers

Losers nearly got me an agent. I had some meetings, and was asked to go and do some more work on it and come back, but then I lost my job and had to focus on paying my rent, so that all went out of the window. It was good though, I think – email me and I'll send you it. It's about two guys and a ghost, but also about guilt, fear, regret and madness. I was going through a bit of an unplanned lifestyle change at the time, and poured a lot of that into the script. I'll return to it one day, perhaps. Or, yeah, if you are a telly person, get in touch.