Daniel Peak - peak practice
After many years trying to forge a career as a comedy writer, Daniel Peak got his big break when he won New Talent's Sitcom Writer award in 2002.
Daniel was given the chance to join the 'Two Pints of Lager' scriptwriting team with Susan Nickson, which led to the opportunity to write the script for BBC Three's hit comedy 'I'm With Stupid', based on an idea by Peter Keeley.
He is now working on more material, including a children's sitcom for the BBC.
Q1. How has the New Talent scheme helped your career?
Well winning the scheme gave me a career because I didn't have one beforehand. I had a normal day job and I spent about 10 years trying to be a TV writer with hardly any success... Since the Talent scheme in 2002 it's been much easier to get work...
Q2. What's it been like to work with other people?
It's very easy to sit at home and write scripts for yourself, but it's completely different to work with a director and actors... I found it quite hard at first, often I found my favourite bits were the ones that got cut... I've fallen out with everybody that I've worked with!
Q3. Have you got a particular writing style - what's your writing routine?
Because I've been working on lots of different projects I've enjoyed having to write in somebody else's voice. It's useful to watch old episodes of a show to get an idea of the rhythms of speech and what material the actors perform well... I work like a student - I get up at 10am, watch telly and go back to bed!
Q4. Tell us about I'm With Stupid...
It's the luckiest job I've ever got in my life, because although I wrote the pilot and the first six episodes, that show wasn't my idea. I think it was like Last of the Summer Wine, an old-school sitcom with stories and jokes...You create comedy from difficult topics by ignoring them. I'm With Stupid wasn't about disability particularly, it was about people falling out, playing tricks, lying, helping each other out - same as any other sitcom.
Q5. What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future?
At the moment I'm working on children's programmes. I've written for adults and for children and there's no difference really, in some cases the kids' shows have been a bit more sophisticated... I don't know what I'm going to do next - I'm trying to come up with an idea of my own.
Get some advice
from Daniel about writing a great sitcom and how to get your foot in the door.