John Finnemore honoured for Outstanding Contribution to Writing

Monday 13th January 2020, 9:32pm

2020 Writers' Guild Awards. John Finnemore. Copyright: Matt Writtle.

Comedy writer and performer John Finnemore has been honoured with a special award at the 2020 Writers' Guild Awards.

The Writers' Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) announced the winners for its awards at a ceremony at the Royal College of Physicians in London tonight (13th January), hosted by Katy Brand.

Finnemore was presented with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Writing award by David Tyler who has produced many of his radio comedies.

WGGB explain: "Finnemore's extensive career has seen him write multiple comedy shows for radio and television, including That Mitchell And Webb Sound, That Mitchell And Webb Look, Dead Ringers, Safety Catch, John Finnemore, Apparently, The Now Show and The Unbelievable Truth. He also co-wrote the podcast David Mitchell's Soapbox with David Mitchell.

"Amongst his many credits for BBC Radio 4, Finnemore has written and performed in John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, as well as Cabin Pressure and Double Acts, for both of which he won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Radio Comedy, in 2011 and 2017 respectively. He has also won more Comedy.co.uk Awards for writing than anyone else to date."

On receiving his Outstanding Contribution to Writing award, he said: "Receiving this award from the WGGB, and therefore from fellow writers, is deeply gratifying... and utterly astonishing. So, to whoever it is they've given it to me in mistake for: I'm very sorry for you, but good luck trying to get it back off me now."

2020 Writers' Guild Awards. John Finnemore. Copyright: Matt Writtle.

Talking about the Outstanding Contribution to Writing title, Dave Cohen, the co-chair of the Writers' Guild Comedy Committee, says: "It's the first time in ages that a comedy writer has won the award and fantastic for John to be recognised in this way. John is the only comedy writer to have won the Writers' Guild Radio Comedy Award for two different shows - Cabin Pressure and Double Acts.

"Radio is often overlooked, or treated by writers and producers as a stepping stone to the more glamorous world of TV, but John proves that it's a successful medium for comedy in its own right. Many of our most successful novelists, screenwriters and dramatists began writing for radio, and often come back to the form, because it is such a respecter of writing.

"John has proved himself across every kind of radio comedy writing - Cabin Pressure managed to create an alphabet of 26 dazzling episodes within the traditional sitcom form, Souvenir Programme is a sketch show with an astonishing hit rate, while John's Double Acts shows took the one-act story form to new and exciting places.

"John isn't just a great writer and a great performer - although he is clearly both: he is a great innovator. And unusually for this award, he has received it at a relatively early stage in his career. We look forward to many more years of Finnemore genius."

A number of other comedy writers also picked up prizes in the awards:

Best TV Situation Comedy

2020 Writers' Guild Awards. Image shows from L to R: Paula Wilcox, Daniel Brocklehurst. Copyright: Matt Writtle.

Danny Brocklehurst for Brassic

Paula Wilcox presented Danny Brocklehurst with this award, for his work on the new Sky One comedy drama series Brassic.

Best Radio Comedy

2020 Writers' Guild Awards. Image shows from L to R: Michael Spicer, James J Moran, Caroline Moran. Copyright: Matt Writtle.

Caroline Moran and James J Moran for Prepper

Mash Report star Michael Spicer awarded Caroline Moran and James J Moran with the Best Radio Comedy accolade for their BBC Radio 4 sitcom Prepper, which sees a pair of women (played by Pearl Mackie and Sue Johnston) preparing for a zombie apocalypse.

Best Online Comedy

2020 Writers' Guild Awards. Image shows from L to R: Tasha Dhanraj, Hannah George. Copyright: Matt Writtle.

Hannah George and Tasha Dhanraj for Side Effects of the Pill

This title was awarded to Hannah George and Tasha Dhanraj for their BBC Three sketch titled Side Effects Of The Pill, which was presented to them by John Finnemore; the second time the pair have received the accolade, having picked up last year's gong.

Best Children's TV Episode

2020 Writers' Guild Awards. Image shows from L to R: Ciaran Murtagh, Andrew Jones. Copyright: Matt Writtle.

Ciaran Murtagh & Andrew Barnett Jones for Danger Mouse

Ciaran Murtagh and Andrew Barnett Jones were recognised in this category for their work on the Melted episode (Series 2, Episode 39) of CBBC's reboot of Danger Mouse.


2020 Writers' Guild Awards. Katy Brand. Copyright: Matt Writtle.

Host Katy Brand said of the event: "I am thrilled to have hosted the WGGB Awards 2020 this evening, not least because it means I spent an evening with the best writers in the world without having to worry about winning anything myself. I just enjoyed the immense throb of talent in the room, and hopefully helped make the evening entertaining, inclusive, and a celebration of all the outstanding work of the past year - congratulations to all the deserved brilliant winners."

2020 Writers' Guild Awards. Sandi Toksvig. Copyright: Matt Writtle.

WGGB President Sandi Toksvig says "Congratulations to all the Writers' Guild Awards 2020 winners, it's a sheer joy just to be in a room amongst such wonderful writers. These ridiculously talented people have kept us entertained throughout the year with their brilliant writing, they have brought us much needed tonic during these challenging times, and we have been spoilt rotten by their wonderful creations!"


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