Saturday, 28 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 1 Father Ted

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. All we can say is go on go on go on go on, enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we close our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms with the Number 1 where we inevitably find...



Father Ted began life as a comedy character performed by Arthur Mathews who, with Graham Linehan, developed him into the sitcom we know, produced by Geoffrey Perkins and immortalised by Dermot Morgan. After three series and a Christmas special, Dermot Morgan was unsure about continuing with the character, saying "I don't want to be the next Clive Dunn and end up playing the same character for years." His wish was to be granted. He leaves behind situation comedy's greatest sitcom with the word "father" in the title (and one of British television's best sitcoms of all time ever).



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 2 Father's Day

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. Really? well if you want to prove it, why not enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we continue our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 2 it's...



Father's Day was devised by Beatles biographer and Punch journalist Hunter Davies, starred John Alderton and was one of Channel 4's earliest sitcoms, running for 14 episodes between 1982 and 1984. An obvious predecessor of Outnumbered, it doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry (try Googling it, you'll find Paul Cornell's Doctor Who episode of the same name) and imdb can only offer that it was largely written by Peter Spence and that it co-starred Dominique Barnes who was also in Colin's Sandwich, and was directed by Leszek Burzynski. It was that high profile and is that well remembered. You bastards. The theme tune was by Difford and Tilbrook of Squeeze. Really, nobody remembers this show?



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 3 Wait Till Your Father Gets Home

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. Really? well if you want to prove it, why not enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we continue our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 3 we have...



Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was the first primetime animated sitcom to run for more than a single season since The Flintstones and would be the only one until The Simpsons 15 years later. Running for 48 episodes between 1972 and 1974, WTYFGH was a Hanna Barbera production, voiced by Tom Bosley (before Happy Days), with a good line in satire. Fascinatingly, imdb tells us that there was a live action version of the pilot filmed shortly after the animated version. The live action version would have starred Van Johnson as Harry, but that version never aired.



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 4 Oh Father

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. If you want to prove it, you can enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we continue our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 4 we remember...



Oh Father starring Derek Nimmo was the sequel to Oh Brother and All Gas and Gaiters, in which Brother Dominic was promoted to the rank of Father in the Anglican priesthood. It ran for 7 episodes in 1973, paling into insignificance alongside Oh Brother's 20 episodes and All G & G's 34 between 1965 and 1971. Created by husband and wife writing team Pauline Devaney and Edwin Apps it began life as part of Comedy Playhouse, a series in which brand new sitcoms were piloted and competed to become the audience's favourite and win a long-running series. What a splendid idea for a TV show.



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 5 $h*! My Dad Says

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. Really? well if you want to prove it, why not enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we continue our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 5 we find...



$h*! My Dad Says was the first sitcom to be based on a Twitter account, in this case one in which Justin Halpern reported quotes from his father Sam. It was cancelled after 18 episodes, which by American standards is not a particularly long run, and joins other William Shatner television successes Barbary Coast, TJ Hooker, Tek War, and that sketch on Saturday Night Live where he tells a load of Star Trek fans to "get a life". And Have I Got News For You, he was good on that.



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 6 Dad

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. Really? well if you want to prove it, why not enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we continue our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 6 it's...

Dad BBC.jpg

Dad by Andrew Marshall (of Whoops Apocalypse and 2point4 Children fame), starring George Cole, ran on BBC in 1997 and 1999. Wikipedia records that its episode titles were Dadism', 'Dadmestic', 'Dadcipline', 'Habadadery', 'Dadcoholic', 'Holidad', 'Transcendadtal', 'Dadmocracy', 'Reprodadtion', 'Securidad'. 'Dad's Arsenal' and 'Dad Calm'. None of which is painful to read, nor to transcribe.



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 7 Bless Me Father

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. Really? well if you want to prove it, why not enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we continue our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 7 it's...



Bless Me Father was an ITV sitcom starring Arthur Lowe as a catholic priest. Written and narrated by former novice curate Peter De Rosa, under the pseudonym Neil Boyd, and adapted from his series of autobiographical novels, it ran for 21 episodes between 1978 and 1981. The British Comedy Guide describes it as "An unjustly forgotten gem, which we would certainly urge any sitcom fan to try".



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 8 Father Knows Best

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. Really? well if you want to prove it, why not enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we continue our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 8 it's...



Father Knows Best is one of the earliest situation comedies as we know them. Begun on NBC radio in 1949, created by writer Ed James, it starred Robert Young as the eponymous patron of a family in the midwest. When it transferred to CBS TV in 1954, the show was sponsored by Kent cigarettes. New episodes were made up until 1960, after which the series remained in reruns throughout the 1960s (a rerun episode was interrupted on ABC in November 1963 to break the news of the assassination of President Kennedy). Reunion stories were made in 1977, the series was still being shown on the Family Channel in the 1990s, and all 6 series of the original show remain available on DVD. It has never been shown in the UK and most likely never will be.



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 9 Dads

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. Really? well if you want to prove it, why not enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, we continue our look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 9 it's...

DADS
Peter Riegert as David (right) and Seth Green as Eli in Dads
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Clasen/Fox

Dads is the critics choice for worst new sitcom of the fall 2013 television season, according to Starpulse. Vulture says "Dads, about two adult men dealing with their eccentric, interfering, and altogether insufferable fathers, is a bad sitcom. And yet I found it oddly fascinating", while Slate reported "If, in this new, subpar TV season, describing a show as one of its “best” is not that complimentary, describing a show as one of its worst means something special: Dads is the worst new comedy in quite some time."

Given that Dads is the work of Family Guy and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane should be reassuring to all successful comedians, writers and producers whose latest television work has not been universally well received. Watch this space for the rest of the Top 10 countdown.



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Top 10 Father sitcoms - No 10 Father Dear Father

In the wake of BBC 1's new hit sitcom Father Figure, a remarkable number of people seem to be suggesting they could write a better sitcom than that. Really? well if you want to prove it, why not enter a script into the next Sitcom Trials - deadline October 20th, entry is free, details are here. In the meantime, let's have a look at the Top 10 "Father" sitcoms. And at Number 10 it's...



Father Dear Father (see Wikipedia entry) was written by Johhnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke (who went on to create Man About The House, George & Mildred and Robins Nest) and starred Patrick Cargill as a crime novelist with a St Bernard dog, a housekeeper, and two daughters for whom he played house husband. It ran on ITV from 1969 to 1973 then enjoyed a follow up series in Australia in 1978 and a spin-off movie. US series The Empty Nest and Daddy's Girl (starring Dudley Moore) bear strong resemblances to the show but are not directly connected. Crime novelists with St Bernard Dogs do not appear in nearly enough situation comedies these days, much to the loss of the artform. Watch this space for the rest of the Top 10 countdown.



The Sitcom Trials takes place at The Ring O' Bells, Bath, Nov 29 2013. 5 sitcoms go head to head, who wins? You decide. To enter a script, follow this link, deadline October 20th 2013.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Bath Sitcom Trials - Nov 29th, enter now!



Vince Stadon, producer of the Bristol Sitcom Trials, writes:

The Bristol team have one final Sitcom Trials show this year, in Bath, and we're welcoming script submissions.

The show will be part of the extended autumn season of the Bath Comedy Festival, and will take place at the Ring O' Bells on November 29th. And for the winning entry in the show there is a very special prize.
We're in the process of setting up the Radio Sitcom Trials, and we'll offer the writer of the winning sitcom the chance to have their script recorded as a full-cast audio play (with music and FX) and then hopefully broadcast on BBC local radio sometime next year.
http://www.bathcomedy.com/whats-on?id=214

THE BRIEF for submission to The Bristol Sitcom Trials.

The Sitcom Trials wants situation comedy scripts that a small group of actors can perform in a live environment with minimal stage in front of an audience, who will hopefully laugh. Ideally these sitcoms will be so marvellous that the TV & radio industry representatives in the audience will snap them up immediately.

THE FORMAT:

Your script must have a first 'half' of less than 8 minutes.
This first half should end in a cliffhanger, or something that leaves
the audience wanting more.

It must then have a final scene of 2 or 3 minutes long. This will be
performed only if your sitcom is the winner on the night

Scripts should come in at around 12 pages.

Your script must have NO MORE THAN 4 CHARACTERS. (We're flexible on this, but it's good to keep it focused on just a few characters)

The sitcoms we are to test out in our regular pub theatre shows with an eye to them being developed for TV must be PERFORMABLE LIVE (ie no filmed or location inserts)
&
ON ONE MINIMAL SET.

Think in terms of a radio script.

UPLOAD SCRIPTS TO THE FILES:

Upload your entries to the appropriate folder in the files section of the egroup. You will need to join the free egroup to do so:

http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/SitsVac/files/

And you can find a handy VOTE and REVIEW thing on the spangly Sitcom Trials website:

http://sitcomtrials.blogspot.co.uk/

Deadline for entries - midnight Sunday October 20th, 2013
Deadline for voting - midnight Sunday October 27th, 2013

The readthrough, with the Bristol team, will be on Sunday November 3rd, after which we'll announce which five scripts have made it through.

VOTING:

All members of the SitsVac egroup/British Comedy Guide Sitcom Trials thread, you included, will be invited to read, review, and vote on all scripts in contention. Vote YES, MAYBE or NO as to each one's potential and add a short one paragraph review. Your votes will not be counted unless you include a review.

Send reviews to the Sits Vac TV group message board (http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/SitsVac/), or to the Sitcom Trials thread at the British Comedy Guide Forum (http://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/23202/)

Writers are welcome to vote on their own scripts.

Votes are then totalled thus; Yes = 2 points, Maybe = 1 point, No = minus -1 point. This way we draw up a shortlist for a script reading, from which we select the items to go into the stage show.

PERFORMANCE:

The top ten entries (as voted by you) will be read by the team, from which we'll select FIVE scripts to be performed on Friday November 29, 2013, at the Ring O' Bells, Bath.

This will be a rehearsed-reading/script-in-hand/radio-style affair, though we're not averse to using the odd prop or two. These sitcoms will be in competition with each other, the winner to be decided an audience vote.

There is no set theme this time round (such as the Halloween/Eurovision/Sci-Fi Trials) - you're free to come up with absolutely anything you want.

PRIZE:

We're in the process of setting up the Radio Sitcom Trials, and we'll offer the writer of the winning sitcom the chance to have their script recorded as a full-cast audio play (with music and FX) and then hopefully broadcast on BBC local radio sometime next year.

Any questions?

Happy scribbling

Vince Stadon
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