Female writers go to the funny farm
Nine funny women spent four days on an organic farm in Kent last week dreaming up new Radio 4 sitcoms.
Stand up comedians, actresses, novelists and comic writers were among the group, who had been nominated to attend the residential writing lab by radio comedy producers.
The course - created by BBC Writersroom and the Radio Comedy department - was designed to address a lack of female comedy writers for tv and radio and focused on the development of contemporary sitcoms.
The writers - none of whom have written a solo sitcom before - were asked to bring a brand new one-line idea with them to Bore Place, an education foundation and organic farm near Sevenoaks.
Over the week, they developed their idea into a full treatment.Feedback and workshops
Solo development time and one-to-one producer feedback sessions were interspersed with a number of workshops - covering subjects such as scene-by-scene structure and the art of writing treatments.
Established sitcom writers Christopher Douglas (Ed Reardon's Week) and Arthur Mathews (Father Ted) also gave masterclasses.
At the end of the week, the writers practised pitching their ideas to Jane Berthoud, head of radio comedy, and Kate Rowland, creative director of new writing.'Fruitful' exercise
Berthoud must have been pleased with what she heard, describing it as 'one of the most exciting and fruitful courses we've ever run'.
Rowland echoes the approval. 'Brilliant, inspiring and refreshing, this Comedy Lab created a real difference for the writers who attended, allowing them to think and develop ideas in the most creative of environments.'
But the real test will come next month when the writers pitch their fully-fledged sitcom ideas to Caroline Raphael, Radio 4 comedy commissioner.