BBC announces line-up of pilots for 2nd Salford showcase

Wednesday 31st October 2012 @ 1:06pm

The BBC has announced the six sitcom scripts which will be piloted as part of its second Salford Sitcom Showcase.

The live event, which will be held at the BBC's new Manchester base, sees experienced comic actors performing scripts in front of executives, with the aim being to discover potential new studio-based sitcoms for the corporation's TV channels.

Last year's inaugural scheme was deemed a success, and led to two commissions. The first series of Citizen Khan was shown on BBC One earlier in the year, with a second series now ordered. The second of the sitcoms, Hebburn, is currently airing as a six-part series on BBC Two.

BBC North director Peter Salmon says: "The first Salford Sitcom Showcase was so good, we thought we'd do it again. BBC Comedy is the natural home for so many funny performers, writers and entertainers, so this event is our autumn highlight and hopefully will result in some more new commissions."

BBC commissioner Kristian Smith adds: "It's great to be showing six theatrical presentations of great new potential sitcoms to local audiences and industry colleagues in the studios here at MediaCityUK. Putting developments on their feet is always the best way to see what a series might offer, and we are very lucky to have the support of Peter Salmon, Pat Connor and the North team. It's been a fantastic year for comedy made outside of London, and we're hoping to build on that success going into 2013."

The sitcoms that'll be showcased this year are as follows:

1987 (for BBC One)

Improvisation My Dear Mark Watson. Mark Watson. Comedy created by stand-up comic and writer Mark Watson (pictured).

The sitcom is set in 1987 in a South Wales suburb, and observes as the Jones family brace themselves for the arrival of the English in the neighbourhood. The Sandersons appear to have it all: microwave, celebrity connections, beautiful daughter and dimmer switches. The Jones family have a forgetful grandfather, an awkward son and a brand new chandelier. Jones senior wants to watch his all-important rugby match, but his wife has other ideas - as indeed does Jones junior. The Sandersons lay on a buffet as battle commences.

The cast for 1987 has yet to be announced. The pilot will be produced by Hartswood Films, the company behind sitcoms including Coupling and Mr And Mrs Jones.

It Takes A Village (for BBC One)

BBC One. Sitcom adapted from a pilot for American network ABC.

What happens when your dad realises he's gay, your parents divorce, your mum remarries and your dad lives opposite with the new love of his life?

Thirteen-year-old maths genius George is cool with his parents' choices, but two parents are more than enough, surely? Even one would be fine. But now George has four, all trying to negotiate ways to live with each other, as well as bring him up, in the best way possible.

The cast for It Takes A Village has yet to be announced. The script is being adapted by Richard Hurst, a writer who has worked on shows such as Miranda, and co-written forthcoming BBC Three comedy IED.

The Gatekeeper (for BBC Two)

Gavin & Stacey. Pete (Adrian Scarborough). Image credit: Baby Cow Productions.The Gatekepper is a sitcom about a security guard. Simon Watkins is happy. It's surprising, given he's in his forties, divorced and living with his tuba-playing, interfering dad. But Simon has landed the perfect job - working as a security guard in an anonymous office block.

It's a crime-free, disorder-free, paid jolly, and Simon is not going to let anything spoil his newly found idyll. Not even evil boss Roger, scary receptionist Suzy, scatty colleague Polly or unfeasibly beautiful sandwich girl Melanie. Only a meticulously planned, daring heist could disrupt Simon's world, and what are the chances of that happening on the night shift?

Simon will be played by Psychoville and Gavin & Stacey actor Adrian Scarborough (pictured). The comedy has been written by Keiron Self and Giles New, a duo who have previously written for shows including That Mitchell And Webb Look and Sadie J.

Just Us (for BBC Two)

Outnumbered. Auntie Angela (Samantha Bond). Image credit: Hat Trick Productions.Just Us is a sitcom about Jack and Kate Murray, a couple who have just downsized from their family home in London to a smaller place on a quiet housing development in a Brighton suburb. Simultaneously, Jack has traded his job as a small-time journalist to lecture - in journalism. Embittered and grumpy, the irony is not lost on Jack...

Moving house and a change of job - all he needs now is divorce and a death and he's got the 'Big Four' covered and with the unexpected arrival of Chloe, his nemesis of a sister in law, either or both of those could be on the cards!

Jack will be played by Doctor Who and At Home With The Braithwaites actor Peter Davison, with Kate played by Downton Abbey and Outnumbered star Samantha Bond (pictured).

The pilot, overseen by DLT Entertainment, has been created by Tom Anderson, who has previously written for My Family.

Chain Gang (for BBC Three)

Generic Image. Takeaway Coffee. Sitcom set in a fictional coffee chain. At Sunbeans, every macchiato is served with a smile... apart from at one branch in Bristol, where it's more likely to be emptied over your head.

It's run by three of the most lackadaisical lackeys imaginable: Natasha, the 'manager', sees customers as verrucas on the foot of her day; meanwhile her colleagues, Mouse, a smiley harbinger of doom, and Paolo, a camp Brazilian, are as much use as a polystyrene coffee grinder. To rescue this failing outlet, Sunbeans executives send in a trouble-shooter, Alistair. Having come top of his class at the Coffee Academy and been primed for big things, Alistair must first turn round this shop.

Chain Gang has been written by Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil. This writing duo have previously worked on various sketch shows and comedies including Black Books and The Great Outdoors. They are also amongst the writing team working on new Comedy Central sitcom Big Bad World.

Homeboys (for BBC Three)

Boom Town. Homeboys is about two 20-something brothers still living at home, despite their parents' best efforts to get rid of them.

David is a cocky damp-proofing salesman who thinks he's it, while his older brother Brian is a nerdy recluse who hasn't left the house since he was 10. When David's not tormenting him, Brian leads a very productive life; he's just built a cocktail bar for his dolls under the kitchen table. Add Janine, their spiteful younger sister to the mix, and their parents' dream of a quiet life alone looks more and more unlikely.

Homeboys has been penned by Pete Jackson, a relatively new writer.

Update, June 2013: Homeboys is now for BBC One. Cast list in the guide to the show.


The six sitcoms will be individually showcased in front of live audiences at MediaCityUK between 21st and 23rd November 2012. After this, the BBC will decide which, if any, to turn into TV series.

The public will be able to apply to be in the audience at the showcases. At the time of writing registration is yet to open, but you can add yourself to the notification list at SRO Audiences

 

Latest News

Still Game looks set to return to TV

Still Game looks set to return to TV

Still Game, the hit Scottish sitcom starring Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan, is set to return to the BBC.

Al Murray to take over ITV adverts

Al Murray to take over ITV adverts

A group of comedians including Al Murray and Andi Osho will take over an entire advert break during ITV's soap opera Emmerdale.

E4 orders Bad Robots hidden camera show

E4 orders Bad Robots hidden camera show

E4 has ordered Bad Robots, a hidden camera show in which various electronic machines are rigged up to prank members of the public.

Actress Dora Bryan dies aged 91

Actress Dora Bryan dies aged 91

Prolific actress Dora Bryan, who featured in comedies as diverse as Catterick, dinnerladies, and Carry On Sergeant, has died.

Chris Barrie expresses interest in reviving The Brittas Empire

Chris Barrie expresses interest in reviving The Brittas Empire

Chris Barrie has expressed an interest in starring in a revival of the hit 1990s BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire.

Some Girls Series 3 begins filming

Some Girls Series 3 begins filming

Filming has started on Series 3 of BBC Three sitcom Some Girls.

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.

Noel Fielding interview

Noel Fielding interview

Noel Fielding talks about how he's put story at the heart of Series 2 of his Luxury Comedy sketch show. Read

Steve Coogan interview

Steve Coogan interview

Steve Coogan's shows are back on TV. He talks about Alan Partridge, Tommy Saxondale, The Trip and more. Read

Abandoman interview

Abandoman interview

Freestyle hip-hop duo Abandoman are just about the most impossible-to-follow act you've ever seen. Read

Steve Coogan Outtakes

Steve Coogan Outtakes

Steve Coogan has been recording some voiceovers. Here's some of the funny ones which got cut out. Watch

COFILMIC submissions open

COFILMIC submissions open

The annual COFILMIC Film Festival has opened submissions for its 2014 competition. Read

Female directors funding

Female directors funding

iShorts+: Funny Girls is a new funding programme with 50,000 pounds to invest in female filmmakers. Read

Carly Smallman blog

Carly Smallman blog

Carly Smallman reveals how, after appearing on TV, she received lots of abuse about how she looks. Read

Shaun The Sheep wins

Shaun The Sheep wins

Shaun The Sheep has been named via a poll as the nation's most popular BBC children's character. Read

Hitchhikers Hacking Guide

Hitchhikers Hacking Guide

Anti-virus firm Norton have released a guide to hacking in the style of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Read

Terry Mynott interview

Terry Mynott interview

Terry Mynott talks about the return of the 'sleeper hit' sitcom The Mimic, and how to do impressions. Read

People Just Do Nothing

People Just Do Nothing

An interview with MC Grindah and DJ Beats, the characters at the centre of BBC3's People Just Do Nothing. Read

Hayley Ellis blog

Hayley Ellis blog

Hayley Ellis provides this handy guide on how to deal with other people on social networking websites. Read

Top 10 from Monty Python

Top 10 from Monty Python

A public poll has revealed the nation's top ten favourite Monty Python sketches. Results here. Read

Ben Miller interview

Ben Miller interview

Ben Miller speaks about how he went from uni to becoming one of the biggest names in UK comedy. Read

Katie Mulgrew blog

Katie Mulgrew blog

Katie Mulgrew explains why she couldn't think of anything worse than going out with a comedian. Read

Stephen Merchant on the USA

Stephen Merchant on the USA

It's Independence Day in America. Here is Stephen Merchant's pro-UK message to the country. Watch

Fringe Spotlight: TV Stars

Fringe Spotlight: TV Stars

A look at ten of the best-known acts who will be performing at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival this August. Read

Fringe Visitor Guide

Fringe Visitor Guide

A guide to visiting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. How to get there, where to stay, what to see... Read

Monty Python as Paper People

Monty Python as Paper People

Make models of Monty Python stars John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Read

No Pressure To Be Funny

No Pressure To Be Funny

Aisling Bea, Liam Mullone, Bob Mills and former MP Tom Levitt join the topical panel show podcast. Listen

Monty Python's fan club

Monty Python's fan club

Monty Python have launched an official fan club. You can now sign up for Monty Python's SPAM Club. Read

Limmy to publish book

Limmy to publish book

Scottish comedian Limmy is writing a comedy book called Daft Wee Stories. It'll be in shops in 2015. Read