David Renwick criticises meddling ITV executives

Wednesday 6th March 2013 @ 3:19pm by Aaron

David Renwick. David Renwick, the prolific comedy writer behind hits including Love Soup, 1990s classic One Foot In The Grave and Jonathan Creek, has slammed the meddling of executives in the TV development process.

Renwick said yesterday that he had "walked off" Ergo, a project commissioned by ITV Studios, when executives at the TV network began meddling with the concept too much, leading to significant "creative differences".

Scripts had been completed for the 6 x 60 minute series with Robert Webb due to star as the male lead, but after Renwick left the project, ITV's Director of Television, Peter Fincham, cancelled the show completely.

"It was about a man who went back to the family home after his father had died and there were interesting possibilities, but ITV came unstuck. They wanted to concentrate more on the old father and the back-story. I believe audiences relate to the characters they see on screen and I didn't want too many flashback elements," Renwick said.

Under his own plans, the series would have seen Webb's character move into the home and live alongside his father's widow - a woman his own age. Co-star of Jonathan Creek and Love Soup, Sheridan Smith, was likely to have taken on that female lead role.

Trade publication Broadcast reports Renwick remarking: "ITV Studios were really keen for this - this was their commission. I felt I would not be doing my job properly if there was not comedy there. It was very frustrating...but I decided to move on."

Following the fall-out over the direction of the series, David Renwick explained that he had offered to sell the scripts for another writer to take over and flesh out more of the show they wanted, but "Peter Fincham pulled the plug altogether. I called their bluff and they just pulled it. It won't be coming back."

He also admitted that it may have been a "mistake" to pursue the project under ITV's drama department, although the broadcaster has almost no comedy unit at present, and expressed relief to be returning to Jonathan Creek as it was an existing, successful format that increasingly "prescriptive" commissioners and executives "can't change".

A spokeswoman for ITV told Broadcast: "ITV were keen to work with David Renwick on Ergo but when it became clear that we had different views on the direction of the series we agreed to part company."

As reported yesterday, the BBC has commissioned a brand new 3-part series of hit comedy mystery series Jonathan Creek, following management approval of a one-off special due to air this Easter. The first series for a decade, it is expected to broadcast early next year.

 

Latest News

Harry Hill confirmed as Stars In Their Eyes host

Harry Hill confirmed as Stars In Their Eyes host

Harry Hill will host a reboot of singing show Stars In Their Eyes. ITV confirms it is also looking to commission more comedy shows.

Sketch group WitTank get E4 sitcom pilot

Sketch group WitTank get E4 sitcom pilot

The sketch group WitTank are developing a sitcom for E4.

BBC working on hybrid comedy format examining family life

BBC working on hybrid comedy format examining family life

Outnumbered star Hugh Dennis is to appear in You Should See My Family, a hybrid comedy format examining family life in the UK.

Adam Hills panel show to be piloted by Channel 4

Adam Hills panel show to be piloted by Channel 4

Channel 4 are to pilot a new panel show hosted by Adam Hills. Welcome To My World will ask guests re-create Earth in the way they would like it to be.

Harry Hill working on BBC One project

Harry Hill working on BBC One project

Harry Hill, who is expected to be confirmed as the host of ITV's Stars In Their Eyes soon, is reportedly working on a scripted comedy show for the BBC.

BBC reiterates Miranda Hart Generation Game plans

BBC reiterates Miranda Hart Generation Game plans

The BBC has clarified that it is still keenly working with Miranda Hart on a possible revival of classic game show The Generation Game.

Get More News

In The Press

In The Press

The latest press clippings from the newspapers and various internet blogs.

Newsletter

Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list to get news and more in your inbox every Monday.

Twitter

Twitter Feed

You can follow us on Twitter too. We post the latest news and gossip every evening.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Subscribe to our RSS feed to get our headlines in your news reader software.

Pre-Gig Notes: Photos

Pre-Gig Notes: Photos

A photo gallery providing an intimate insight into the pre-gig routines and notes of some of comedians. Read

Foster's Award Nominees

Foster's Award Nominees

The shortlists for the prestigious Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014 is here: Read

Romesh Ranganathan

Romesh Ranganathan

Stand-up Romesh Ranganathan talk schools, comedy writing advice and more in this interview. Read