Electric Head duo win Big Finish script writing competition

Thursday 30th November 2023, 4:00pm

The Electric Head

The winners of The Big Finish Comedy Playhouse Script Writing Competition have been announced.

Launched in January this year, the competition, run by audio producers Big Finish Productions alongside Write on Comedy, involved selecting six scripts to become audio comedy pilots.

The top prize - £500 cash and the inaugural Galton & Simpson Godfathers of Comedy Award title, issued in honour of the legendary comedy writing duo, went to Cy Henty and Alan Ronald, who perform improv under the name The Electric Head. Their script is titled The Cracks Are Showing, and the pilot will now go into production over the coming months.

They say: "As a writing duo we are honoured to have our work recognised by this prestigious award. The Hancock's Half Hour scripts sit proudly on The Electric Head's bookcase of comedy influences - next to Dante's Inferno, which inspired this particular script. We are delighted to be in the company of such a rich and wonderful history of comedy writing partnerships who have helped to shape what we do."

The Cracks Are Showing is described as "a divinely comic updating of Dante's medieval Vision of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise which takes its audience on a darkly surreal journey where they'll discover that, after 700 years, the afterlife has had to modernise. This hilarious trip into the dark heart of modern society follows the fortunes of eccentric genius and bohemian optimist Boris Hubert Karloff who, driven to suicide by his arch nemesis the beige and bureaucratic Mr Scrote, journeys through the three realms of the dead in the hopes of finally solving what exactly has gone wrong with the world."

The judging panel included Big Finish producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Lizzie Worsdell, writers Robert Ross and Jane Lamacraft, and performers Steve Nallon and Jessica Martin, alongside agent and producer Tessa Le Bars.

Nallon described the winning script as: "A dark surreal comedy that brings joy and light to the fancy of the mind. The Cracks are Showing is an iconoclastic critique of our post-post-modernist world and its skewed cultural values. Besides, who can resist knob jokes such as 'his genitals bounced into a nearby art gallery and went on to win the Turner Prize'? Not me."

Big Finish Comedy Playhouse

The five runners-up were:

Square Pegs by Jenny Devaux and Phil Butcher

Panel judge Lizzie Worsdell said: "Having grown up in the countryside, I was laughing out loud at the accuracy of this script. A feel-good, easy read about what happens when you decide to leave the shining lights of London for a slightly different, more sedate way of life."

Golden Sands by Toby Walker

Panel judge Jessica Martin said: "An irresistible black comedy set in a rainy seaside town on its last legs. Toby Walker has created engaging quirky characters we will want to stay with as a murder mystery unfolds, threatening to hammer the final nail in the coffin of the doomed Chortle-on-Sea. The tone is set for sardonic, cryptic comedy with a hint of Royston Vasey. It'll
raise more than a chortle... a comedy classic in the making."

Sad Sunk Rock by Tom Worsley

Panel judge Jane Lamacraft said: "What I loved about Sad Sunk Rock was how it embraced the theme of the pain of human connection and lack of connection. In the extreme conditions of a scientific research outpost on an isolated rock in the North Atlantic Ocean, a cast of oddball outcasts, including 'a molly-coddled millennial', struggle to find or avoid opportunities to relate. A gag-a-second script, with both laughs and emotional moments that take you completely by surprise."

Scribbling by Amy Xander

Panel judge Robert Ross said: "In Scribbling we have the simple storyline situation of an outsider entering an established community, in order to generate ripples of effect and waves of laughter. It is populated by intriguing characters, and interesting characters, and irritating characters... but always very, very funny characters. Puns, misunderstandings, and diverse and
diverting scenarios give Scribblings a sense of mature writing, and fully relatable comedy."

Members by Jack Bradfield and Fergus Macdonald

Panel judge Jason Haigh-Ellery said: "I've been involved with comedy on stage for many years, having produced Yes Prime Minister and Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, and it's something I've always wanted to do with Big Finish. What struck me about Members was that it was a very original concept. I've always enjoyed political comedies, and enjoyed the fact that this was set in the past and brought in both historical and political aspects. This was both entertaining and incredibly funny."

All six of the finalists' scripts will now enter production with release dates to be announced in 2024.

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