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Writer Tim Dawson on the final stages of making Coming of Age Series 3

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Dana Stevens | 15:37 UK time, Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Less than a week to go now until DK and all your other favourite Coming of Age characters are back on your screens for another riotous series. Balamory! As the writer Tim Dawson revealed here on the blog a few months back you can expect lots of suprises and even a new character.

Have a look at this for more clues...

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As regular fans of the show will know, it is recorded in front of a live studio audience and so we asked the writer Tim Dawson to share a little bit about the last stages of the production process.

I always enjoy the dub, which is when we work on the sound of the show after recording has finished. It's when Ed Bye (Director), Simon London (Producer) and me get to decide exactly how we want the show to sound. Coming of Age has always had a raucous atmosphere, but in the new series we really wanted to push this. So we've left in as much of the genuine laughter, applause, oohs and aahs from the studio audience as we can. This is essential for the type of material I write. Bawdy jokes and visual comedy demand a big reaction, and if you sanitise that you can end up with something a bit flat and unconvincing. I think one of the reasons modern shows are so often accused of using 'canned laughter' is because people get tempted to over process the audience reaction, leading to a generic sound track. Sitcoms are a uniquely theatrical television experience, and I want Coming of Age to celebrate that.

The cast of Coming of Age

Behind the scenes with the cast of Coming of Age

The studio audience aren't just there to make the show sound good on telly however, they're also very useful when it comes to the actual programme-making proper. For me, the pressure of the live show every Friday night forces me to make the script as funny as possible. If I'm sat in the gallery and we go without a laugh for more than about fifteen seconds, I know that sequence needs to be cut down. Unless it's deliberate of course - when there's a moment of genuine drama it can be fun to play with the form and leave things hanging.

The audience at a recording of Coming of Age

The studio audience watching Coming of Age being recorded.

The studio audience is also an important tool for the actors because it forces them to find and time the comedy, and provides them with instant feedback to what they're doing. This means from take to take they might do things differently. Joe Tracini, for example, is always playing with DK's lascivious gestures and crotch thrusting and Ceri Phillips is the master of the impromptu double take. The live show also encourages the actors to give that 'something extra'. Dolly Parton swathed in fairy lights isn't as camp and twinkly as Hannah Job on a recording night. But sitcom acting isn't easy - it takes skill to stop a performance getting too big for the camera and to know when to pause for laughs - we're lucky that Minnie Crowe, playing new girl Robyn Crisp, took to it so naturally.

Obviously I can't wait for you to see the new series - but I can't wait for you to hear it either.


Tim Dawson is the writer of Coming of Age and you can watch series 3 this Tuesday at 10.30pm on BBC Three.

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