In 2009, faced with hesitant, strapped-for-cash broadcasters, we decided to go for it and shoot our own series. We had a little bit of money to fund the show ourselves and our own kit: a Z1 camera, a boom mic and a copy of Final Cut Pro on a laptop. We knew we could make sketches for very little and that they don't need to be expensive to be funny. We wanted to find new comics who had something interesting to say and wanted to say it enough to overlook the fact we couldn't afford to pay them much more than a few quid, a free lift to a place we could film for free, and a sandwich. All be it a chicken sandwich.
We scoured the country for nine months to find the best new writer-performers out there. They needed to fulfill certain criteria: they needed to have only been on the scene for a short time; they needed to have passionate and distinctive styles and voices; they needed to be struggling to find agents or even paid slots; they needed to be in some way marginalized or under-represented on TV. So we went to the gigs other TV companies don't go to.
We filmed sketches with the comics we found each month, developing them and script editing over an intensely short period of time. At the end of each month we put on a live show where we projected the sketches and each of the comics performed a 5min stand up set. The nights where a huge success. We filmed all of them and cut together the sketches and the stand up to make our pilots.
Simon Lupton from the BBC was very supportive of our mission and came to all six of the live shows. What was brilliant was that when he said he wanted to commission a broadcast pilot of the show we were able to sit down together and view the six DVDs and select the acts and sketches we felt had the strongest potential - so from the six shows and 60 amazing new acts we picked some of the very best to be in our BBC pilot. There are many from those 60 who would make their way into a series, so it's our hope we can continue on to make one.
What all this novelty and play and sheer adrenaline has produced is an amazingly fresh comedy show which is absolutely driven by the raw visions of writer-performers not normally given this chance to play. And we are very proud of it.
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