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In With The Flynns: Q&A with writer Simon Nye

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Simon Nye Simon Nye | 16:40 UK time, Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How did you become involved in writing the second series of In With The Flynns?

I'd worked with the show's producer, the legendary Caryn Mandabach, back in the 1990s on the American version of Men Behaving Badly and we'd been trying to work together for a while.

She had a show, I had a laptop, so this seemed like a good opportunity.

The Flynns

The Flynns: Steve, Kevin, Mikey, Caroline, Liam, Jim and Chloe

What aspects of your family life have influenced the storylines?

It's just that much harder to write a family sitcom if you haven't got a family. It's not so much the storylines, more kids' attitudes and dialogue.

Much as I love my children it's hard to underestimate how surly and unforgiving kids can be.

Do you follow the Liam school of parenting, or Jim's?

Liam is actually a pretty good Dad - enthusiastic, hands-on, young enough to understand children and solidly in love with his wife. So let's say I'm like him.

Jim is so old-school there's something Dickensian about him. But you've got to love the confidence of a dad whose catchphrase is "I'm Jim. Who the hell are you?"

Are there any lines in this series which you borrowed from real life?

No. I honestly can't think of any lines from real life which I've used in something I've written. Which either means my life is incredibly dull or I'm not paying attention, or I'm deaf.

What do you love and hate about filming in front of a live studio audience?

I love how the audience adds adrenaline to performances (hopefully without sending them over the top) and a sense of festivity.

Lots of TV critics may not like it but the audience is real people laughing at jokes because they find them funny. Very few of them are drunk, and none of them are paid to be there.

What do I hate most? Really funny warm-up men.

Do you change lines as you go, depending on audience reaction?

I watch all the recordings from the safe haven of Mission Control, the studio gallery.

I very rarely change lines as I go because you have to have a certain level of confidence in your own work. And the audience and I sometimes disagree.

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Watch a deleted scene from In With The Flynns: Introducing Kevin

You've worked across different TV genres. Do you have a favourite?

I do love half-hour sitcoms - they're short enough to be manageable but they have an accumulative power.

But I enjoy any kind of comedy writing, except on the days when it's like poking yourself in the face with a fork.

Many fans have praised your Doctor Who episode, Amy's Choice. Apart from that one what's your favourite Doctor Who episode?

It's probably not one for hardcore fans but I like the softer Doctor Who episodes like Vincent And The Doctor.

Someone should do the episode where the Doctor meets The Beatles. I am available.

What is your current favourite comedy?

My current favourite is the sleazy American sitcom Rules Of Engagement. And you've got to love Parks And Recreation. Big fan of John Morton's Twenty Twelve too.

What are you working on now?

It's a good time for comedy - it's the recession, we need a laugh - so I am incredibly busy. I am working on a play for the National Theatre amongst other things.

What was the funniest moment for you in making In With The Flynns?

It's odd but in terms of gags as soon as a job is done I forget all the jokes from it.
And in terms of funny incidental moments it's hard to beat watching BBC executives seriously debating whether we can say "b******s" or not.

Simon Nye is the writer of In With The Flynns.

In With The Flynns is next on on Friday, 24 August at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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