BBC announces line-up of pilots for 2nd Salford showcase
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
Jack Whitehall has confirmed that his hit BBC Three sitcom Bad Education is to become a movie. Filming is now underway in Cornwall.
Funz And Gamez, the award-winning live comedy show hosted by Phil Ellis, is to be piloted as a TV show by the BBC.
BBC Scotland has unveiled its comedy plans for 2015. They include a full series for Two Doors Down, and the return of Burnistoun and Scot Squad.
Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse lead the comedy-based nominations in the Royal Television Society Awards.
Production is under way on Top Coppers, a new BBC Three comedy series starring John Kearns and Steen Raskopoulos as two weird detectives.
Following strong ratings, the BBC has ordered 10 more episodes of its panel show Would I Lie To You?. Sir Roger Moore will be amongst the guests.
Matt Lucas talks about filming Pompidou, the visual comedy series for the BBC in which he plays an aristocrat. Read
Do you write a funny blog, curate an amusing website or joke a lot on Twitter? If so, here's a competition: Read
Rare images of iconic 1980s British comedy stars are to be displayed at the Museum Of Comedy. Read
Stand-up comedian Tom Little has won the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2015 competition. Read
The main cast members involved in new Comedy Central sitcom I Live With Models introduce themselves. Read
Tiffany Stevenson talks us through some of the bad things that occur when you sort out your health and fitness. Read
Take a look at some of the iconic photos of comedians that feature in photographer Idil Sukan's London exhibition. View
Check out our funny new satirical comedy podcast. It's hosted by our former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher! Listen
Llandudno in North Wales is hosting The Craft of Comedy Writing Conference on the 24th and 25th April 2015. Read
The Museum of Comedy has a competition for 'comics who've been around long enough to know better'. Read
Crims star Elis James talks about preparing to helm Centrepoint's next Laughing Stock gala. Read
On what would have been his 100th birthday, we look at the life and work of character comic Dick Emery. Read
Here's some interesting facts about Shaun The Sheep Movie. For example, there are 1589 'baa' sounds in the film. Read
Some pun-based jokes for Valentine's Day from Darren Walsh. Plus some additional themed cartoon illustrations too. View
A bunch of new sketches from British comedy groups, all of which are related to love and Valentine's Day. Watch
The BBC have released a collection of nine Valentine's-related original short comedy films exclusive to BBC iPlayer. Watch
Stewart Lee and Richard Herring chat about their 1990s TV show, This Morning With Richard Not Judy. Listen
Improv group BattleActs sometimes receive unwanted advice from the audience. Here's their thoughts. Read
Nick Helm talks about the return of Uncle, and explains why he would love to swear at his young co-star. Read
Lovely Jubbly! A poll has determined the top 10 most used phrases from Only Fools And Horses. Cushti. Read
Ruth Jones reveals what viewers can expect from the fourth series of Stella, her hit Sky1 comedy drama. Read