Sunday, 18 March 2018

Announcing the First Irish Radio Sitcom Trials


The Sitcom Trials is happy to announce the launch of the First Irish Radio Sitcom Trials.

RTE, and the production company Sideline, are running a competition called The Radio Sitcom Trials, looking for original half-hour radio comedy scripts in an attempt to encourage and develop Irish comedy writing talent. The deadline for entries is March 31st 2018. Enter here. Details and links are below.



Of course, as Sitcom Trials fans will know, it's not the first Radio Sitcom Trials, as in recent years, Vince Stadon and the Bristol Sitcom Trials team have produced shows in association with BCFM Radio, and BBC Radio Bristol and we did a series of shows with Bristol Community Radio as long ago as 2004. And of course the Sitcom Trials had its run on ITV in 2003, which is like radio but with pictures.

The Sitcom Trials Radio logo from the Bristol team's BCFM and BBC Bristol shows

The first BBC Radio productions to come out of Sitcom Trials shows (in our earlier incarnation as Situations Vacant) were the pilot shows Come Together, starring Ben Miller, Kevin Eldon, Arabella Weir and Mel Hudson recorded in the BBC Radio Theatre in 1997, and Meanwhile, starring Ronnie Ancona and Geoffrey McGivern, in 1998. They weren't radio Sitcom Trials, but they're always nice to cast our minds back over.


Ben Miller, Arabella Weir, Mel Hudson & Kevin Eldon in Come Together at the BBC Radio Theatre

Here are the details of RTE and Sidelines' production of The Irish Radio Sitcom Trials which we here at Sitcom Trials central are happy to support.



THE 1st EVER RADIO SITCOM TRIALS


COMEDY SHOWHOUSE 2018

RTE Radio 1 and Sideline Productions are seeking original half-hour radio comedy scripts in a new drive to develop and encourage Irish writing talent.

SIDELINE Productions, in association with RTE Radio 1, are actively seeking comedy writers that can deliver half-hour radio scripts set in a familiar situation featuring stand out memorable comic characters.



Supported by The Broadcast Authority of Ireland (BAI) and comedy website grintage.com, The Radio Sitcom Trials is a new initiative staged as part of the radio comedy festival COMEDY SHOWHOUSE. Now in its 3rd year, the 6-day festival takes place at the Project Arts Theatre from Monday, April 30th to Saturday, May 5th 2018 featuring two star-studded shows at 8pm each night.

The pilot for Fiona Looney’s all-female sketch series WAITING proved such a success that it is now being supersized as a 6-part series recorded over 3 nights starring award-winning actresses Deirdre O’Kane & Rose Henderson on Monday, April 30th, Tuesday, May 1st and Wednesday, May 2nd. Each night will feature new half-hour radio shows.

This is followed on Thursday, May 3rd for 3 nights by the much-anticipated return of the multi award-winning series COLM O’REGAN WANTS A WORD – starring the Cork-born author of the successful Irish Mammy books, best seller Bolloxology and a regular performer on stage, radio and TV. Colm is joined by two of Ireland’s best comedy actors Tara Flynn and Paul Tylak. The show has already won awards for Best Irish Radio Comedy in 2016 and 2017 plus the Celtic Media Award in 2017 for Best Radio Comedy Programme broadcast in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Again each of the 3 nights features Colm, Tara & Paul performing in brand new radio programmes with special guests.
To further boost the production of original Irish radio comedy now RTE Radio 1 and Sideline Productions are keen to find the next wave of scripted comedy writing talent.
THE SITCOM TRAILS is a new initiative to spark a new breed of radio comedy writers. We are seeking popular scripts with laugh out loud moments with a small cast of ‘larger than life’ characters that can grab the imagination of an Irish audience. We are not looking for monologues, sketch shows or plays written originally for the stage. Scripts created originally for TV could be modified and re-written for radio. It is important though writers grasp the dramatic beats, pace and structure of the comedy radio half hour format plus recognise the creative opportunities radio production offers to comedy writers. The running time can be between 25 and 30 minutes.
Search tips and articles on writing (radio) comedy at www.grintage.com.
The strict deadline for accepting scripts is midnight Saturday, March 31st and there is no exception. If the final scripts selected (4 max) are of a required standard they will be performed and read by professional actors in front of a live audience as part of the first ever Sitcom Trails on Saturday, May 5th, 2018 in the Project Arts Theatre Dublin.
The writers of any of the staged radio scripts will receive a one-off award of €250.

TO APPLY CLICK HERE

Media queries to info@sideline.ie


The Original Official Sitcom Trials has been running since 1999, on stage in Bristol, London, Edinburgh, nationally and internationally. It ran at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2013 and 2016, and enjoyed an 8 week run on ITV in 2003. The last Sitcom Trials tournament had heats in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, London and Cardiff with its grand final at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh 2016.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Sitcom Mission 2018 launches


The Sitcom Mission, our fellow sitcom competition which spun off from The Sitcom Trials back in 2009, has launched its 2018 programme. Full details are here. 


Declan Hill, Kev F Sutherland and Simon Wright, winning the Fringe Report Award for Best Encourager of Talent for The Sitcom Trials in 2008. Declan and Simon went on to produce The Sitcom Mission 

In 2008 and 2009, Sitcom Trials alumni Declan Hill and Simon Wright produced two seasons of The Sitcom Trials, at The Hub in South London, the Leicester Square Theatre, and the Soho Theatre. Both had been regular contributors to the Trials, with Declan appearing in the 2005 touring show and Simon appearing in the 2003 TV series. In 2009 they developed their own show, not using the Sitcom Trials format, with a different emphasis on script development and the very successful Sitcom Mission was born.


This year's Sitcom Mission submissions dates are as follows.
Launch 🚀 - April 1st
Gold entry closes - April 29th
Silver entry closes - June 16th
Closing date - June 30th
The format will be the same as previous years so check out the website for entry info and GOOD LUCK 😉
The Sitcom Mission writes:
With an emphasis firmly on script development, The Sitcom Mission is an international sitcom writing competition, 'The X Factor for sitcoms'. It showcases 15-minute sitcom scripts in front of the British TV and radio comedy industry.
The Grand Finals have been judged by a who's who of British comedy commissioning, including Shane Allen (Channel 4/Head of BBC Comedy); Jane Berthoud (BBC Radio); Sarah Farrell (Comedy Central); Lucy Lumsden and Ben Boyer (Sky); Saskia Schuster (ITV); Myfanwy Moore (ITV); Gregor SharpTilusha Ghelani and Chris Sussman (BBC TV); Paul Schlesinger(Hat Trick); and Iain Coyle and Tanya Qureshi (UKTV Commissioning).
One of the runners-up in 2011, In The Meantime, by Ciaran Murtagh and Andrew Jones, was optioned by Hat Trick Productions. Andrew says, "This is a great opportunity to have your work read and assessed by lots of very useful people!" Previous winners Thunderer by Bryn MillsWhat Next? by Emma Edwards and Abigail Dooley, and Yo Valet by Snez Naik were also optioned by Hat Trick.
The Sitcom Mission has the central aim of getting a situation comedy commissioned either on TV, radio or online. We've evolved the competition and the theme now is script development. We're looking for writers who can take notes, are tenacious, thrive on feedback, love re-writing and adore the process just as much as the end result.
Each year we work with up to four writers (or writing partnerships/groups) in order to develop their sitcoms and take them to an industry showcase in London. We've got the ear of the independent production companies, and the four winners will get feedback from development officers at companies such as AvalonBwarkSo TelevisionChannel XLeft Bank and others that are coming on board all the time.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Miranda: Sitcom comeback isn't imminent


Hart denies press reports
Miranda Hart has denied reports that her sitcom will return for a fourth series later this year.
The Sun claimed that the BBC has persuaded the comic to commit to another run, six years after the last.
But she last night tweeted several denials to the story, one simply saying: ‘Not true.’ Although she didn't rule out the idea altogether.
In response to the tabloid’s initial story, Hart said: ‘Don’t know where this came from, it’s news to me. Have thought about it but that’s all…  
‘I don’t know where it came from that there’s a new series of Miranda. I write and play her and she’s still on honeymoon!’
The Sun’s speculation rests on an unnamed source, who said: ‘Miranda has always been a huge hit on the BBC so getting her to sign up for another outing is a great result for them and viewers… All parties have come to an agreement and it’ll be back later this year if all goes to plan.’
Hart’s sitcom ran for three seasons from 2009 to 2012, achieving an audience of more than 11.5 million at its peak. 
A two-part Christmas episode in 2014, in which her character married long-term love interest Gary, played by Tom Ellis, was meant to draw a line under the show,and was even entitled The Finale.
But the sitcom has been the subject of frequent comeback speculation. Ellis has previously spoken about ‘revisiting’ Miranda, catching up with the couple in their married life with children.
In 2016, Sarah Hadland, who plays Miranda’s best friend Stevie, said ‘there will be something’ when asked about a cast reunion, and last summer Hart and Ellis – who now stars in Lucifer – were said to have arranged a meeting to discuss a return to the sitcom.
Speaking on The One Show in October, Hart said: ‘The lovely Tom Ellis was saying… that he’d like to see Miranda and Gary married. Now he’s got me thinking! 
‘There’s a thought there, to explore the comedy of marriage. Particularly early life marriage and how that would work. I’d quite like to see that.’
Since the sitcom ended, Hart has written books and performed in Annie on the West End stage. She had been set to revive both Frankie Howerd’s Up Pompeii! and classic gameshow The Generation Game, but pulled out of both. The latter will now be presented by Mel and Sue.
She presented the one-off Miranda Does Christmas for Channel 4 last month, as well as  The Royal Variety Performance on ITV, which included her performing sketches alongside Hadland and fellow sitcom co-stars Patricia Hodge and Sally Phillips. 
Hart will also appear in the upcoming Hollywood film The Nutcracker And The Four Realms, playing Dew Drop Fairy.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

A quiet year from The Sitcom Trials


Hello everyone, and hasn't The Sitcom Trials been quiet this year? I can only apologise.

I can't help noticing this blog has only featured two posts all year so far, and one of those was an advertorial. Such a change from 2016 when we ran our biggest ever tournament, straddling the country, with our most successful final and the highest quality of entries any of us had seen.

After such a successful final, everyone's buzzing and talking about how we should do this again. Then what happens? Well, in my case I get the bill and realise that, try as I might, I've never managed to turn a profit from The Sitcom Trials. I also look at my workload and see how much time it takes, and the showrunners of all the various heats do the same.

So it was that, through 2017, I toured Socks Do Shakespeare, and the various members of the Sitcom Trials teams went on to great individual success, boosted no doubt by our experience with the 2016 Trials.

There's been talk of a few things that might revive The Sitcom Trials for 2018, including a probable podcast and the ever-tempting prospect of crowdfunding another tournament. And, if there's interest, any of these things can still happen.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who's checked in sporadically through the year to hear what's new, and a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year when it comes, to us all.


Kev F
Creator & Producer
The Sitcom Trials


Monday, 25 September 2017

Cloud Computing in Simple Terms: Why Store Data With NuoDB?

The cloud was once a buzzword known only to a select few. Now, it's fully integrated with the collective consciousness, making a name for itself in ads, product descriptions and casual conversation. Many people, however, remain unaware of what the cloud actually means, and telling them that it's a type of distributed computing doesn't always clarify the issue.


The Cloud Explained

The cloud is just a more specialized form of computer network. Like any regular office or enterprise network, it consists of connected computer hardware. The main difference, however, lies in the way it's put to use and how it fulfills its purpose.

Traditional network architectures are built around machines that use data connections to augment their efficiency and capabilities. With the cloud, networking is integral to functionality. Purpose-built cloud apps work to get the most out of networking by storing information more efficiently, running programs with the aid of increased computing power or ensuring that data is always available to remote users. Although you can theoretically create a cloud computing implementation in the same data center or local server pool that you'd use for a regular network, the software tools that you include in your deployment make a big difference in its functionality.


Different Kinds of Cloud Computing

Distributed computing in the cloud takes various forms. For instance, you can set up a media server implementation that lets users stream content such as films or music. Or you can create an app that allows multiple team members to access documents remotely and share their edits. Cloud implementations power everything from mapping software and social networks to basic remote storage tools that let subscribers save local space on their personal and office machines.


Why Are so Many Companies Using the Cloud?

It's worth noting that the cloud can handle most of the programs that you might run on a local server and vice versa. This begs the question: If you could just use a local machine, then why would you make the switch?

Distributed computing has a number of advantages over more traditional alternatives. Chief among these is the fact that since cloud software has its roots in
internet-connected network architectures, it's much easier to create apps that people can access from anywhere. Cloud-based storage appeals to those who want to save space on their devices, share information and retain the ability to access their data no matter where they are. Running enterprise or consumer-ready software in the cloud gives businesses the power to deliver full-featured, instantly available apps with native collaboration and sharing built in, which helps companies stay competitive in an increasingly data-hungry modern world.


NuoDB: How Does Cloud Storage Work?

Of course, the cloud isn't perfect, and one of its unique problems lies in the realm of data storage.
Traditional cloud database architectures like SQL make it impossible to scale up on-demand. Although alternatives like NoSQL resolve some of these issues, they force you to insert your data management code into the application layer or adhere to a small subset of usage cases, which can pose huge problems when you want to add new features. NuoDB helps you solve these problems with a novel approach known as NewSQL.

NuoDB's technology permits intelligent, shard-free scaling that minimizes storage complexity and actually leverages distributed computing to run faster as new servers are added. Unlike many implementations, it's also made to scale predictably, comply with SQL and free you from having to work with a single vendor to get the flexibility that your cloud deployments deserve. Learn more about the advantages by visiting 
nuodb.com.


Monday, 7 August 2017

Sitcom Trials stars at Edinburgh 2017

Every year there are stars who've passed through the ranks of The Sitcom Trials shining bright at the Edinburgh Fringe. 2017 is no exception. Here are 5 of the best (if you know of more please tell us).


Kate Bowes-Renna

Kate, along with Vanessa-Faye Stanley, won last year's Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny final at the Gilded Balloon, and now she's back to claim her prize. Her satirical one-woman comedy All Hell Toupee sees Kate (who you may recognise from everything from Downton Abbey to Love Actually) performing a dazzling array of characters, in a variety of hairpieces. We are all hiding but what happens when the mask, or in this case the toupee, slips? Find out August 7 - 13 at the Gilded Balloon.


Aaron Twitchen

Aaron was a star in the 2016 Sitcom Trials tournament, running the Birmingham heats of the show, and performing in the final. This year he brings his first solo show, Curtain Twitchen, to Edinburgh, combining aerial circus skills with stand up. Mixing stories of friendship, love and wine with jaw-dropping stunts on the aerial silks in a gossipy cabaret explosion, Aaron Twitchen takes comedy to highs you've never seen before... literally. At C Venues from the 6th to the 28th.




Rosie Holt

Rosie won 2013's Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny final at the Gilded Balloon, and this year returns on a double bill with Christian Talbot - Holt and Talbot Can't Stand The Sight Of Each Other. Thrown together through financial necessity, can they stay civil to each other for an entire month of shows? Find out at Sweet Grassmarket from the 7th to the 27th 

Draycott & Trimm

Charity Trimm was the star of The Sitcom Trials' very first Edinburgh run, back in 2001, alongside her then comedy partner Miranda Hart. Anne-Marie Draycott starred in The Sitcom Trials' fondly remembered ITV series in 2003, then in the Trials' last month-long run at the Fringe in 2004. Now, writing together, Draycott & Trimm have created Class Mates, a comedy which takes one community centre, three evening classes, six skill-seekers and stands back. Performed by A Dash Of Theatre at The Space On The Mile, Aug 7 - 25.


McNeil & Pamphilon

2009's Sitcom Trials winners are a bit too successful with their TV show Go 8 Bit to be bothered with spending whole months in Edinburgh right now, but Steve McNeil will be up on August 11th to do a one-off WifiWars.

 Let's close with these words of advice he offers to all folks putting on a show this month:

Good luck Edinburgh chums! Just remember:
1. student reviewers' opinions are utterly worthless and you are the only person who'll ever read their thoughts about you from start to finish. people you know *might* glance at the stars, but they're already thinking about themselves again
2. audience sizes are only occasionally proportional to merit
3. all deep fried food is delicious
4. waterproof shoes
5. stick with it - if McNeil & Pamphilon can get on TV, literally anyone can
6. no real people have ever heard of Chortle
7. climbing arthur's seat is a dreadful idea. have a biscuit instead
8. spend every free moment with people you like. you won't meet up back in London except at gigs because you're not weird
9. umbrella
10. Would love to have some friends at WiFi Wars on the 11th August at the Dome, it's a big one for us - we've got Angry Microwave in
xxx



The Sitcom Trials is taking a break at the moment but could return at any time. Stay tuned

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

McNeil & Pamphilon's Go 8 Bit gets 2 new series

2009's Sitcom Trials winners, Steve McNeil & Sam Pamphilon's TV show Go 8-Bit has been given two new series. Merry Christmas lads.


Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit is returning for two more series, Chortle can reveal.

Team captains and format creators Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon are also back for Dave's gaming panel show, which has extended its run for six to ten episodes per series.

Gaming journalist and comic Ellie Gibson will reprise her role as O Briain's sidekick on the show, which was one of the channel's five highest rated programmes of 2016.

Based on McNeil and Pamphilon's 2013 Edinburgh Fringe show, the first series aired in the autumn, with guest players including Russell Howard, Bob Mortimer, Jason Manford, Susan Calman and Ed Byrne.

The new episodes, due to air sometime in 2017, once again promise battles on classic games and new titles, as well as physical challenges.

O Briain said: 'What bittersweet news. The more time I spend making this fun exciting show about video games, the less time I have to play fun, exciting video games, and I'm already pretty bad at video games.

'In fact, the more I make this show the less qualified I am to be a guest on it. Now there's an irony.'

Go 8 Bit became a regular live comedy night in London and was in television development for two years.

The new episodes, which will be recorded in Elstree Studios from the end of January, are once again directed by Steve Smith, produced by Darren Sole and made by DLT Entertainment. They were ordered by Dave's director of commissioning Richard Watsham and the channel's general manager Steve North.

Iain Coyle, UKTV's senior commissioning editor and executive producer said: 'I’m so made up we’re making more of these. It’s been a real breakout hit for us and I’m so delighted it’s been embraced by the gaming community and Dave viewers alike. I guess that means my kids are gonna carry on pushing for that revolving sofa.'

Executive producer Donald Taffner Jr, added: 'Our team did a fantastic job of adapting a live Edinburgh Fringe show into the first video-game driven TV show that has been embraced by viewers of all ages and critics alike. UKTV took a chance on this format when others did not. They have been a great partner and we all look forward to producing the next two series and beyond.'

Reviews of the first series were generally positive, with Den of Geek describing Go 8 Bit as 'a decent mix of laughs and controller bashing confrontation', while the Guardian said: 'O Briain can host the heck out of a panel show, so it shouldn’t work but somehow it does.' Here is Chortle's review of the first episode.

- by Jay Richardson

Posted: 14 Dec 2016

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