We met James Farrell, a Producer for BBC Comedy, and chatted to him about Chris (Simpsons Artist).
This is the first animation on BBC Taster, can you give us some background?
Sure. Chris (Simpsons Artist) is an adorable and hilarious character who describes himself as an ‘artist and storyteller from the uk in the united kingdom’. He has 500k likes on Facebook and 130k followers on Twitter. His drawings and stories also appear regularly in The Independent, FHM and The NME.
And what is he all about?
Chris is very caring guy and wants to improve people’s lives – unfortunately his ideas are often a little misguided. He’s created three animated versions of his popular ‘Life Tip’ drawings centred round loosely topical subjects – the first of which is the birth of the new Royal baby.
Chris sounds like a well-meaning chap.
He is! But he also has a bit of an over-active imagination which causes chaos in his real life and the lives of those around him. He’s extremely naïve but incredibly curious: a rather dangerous combination of traits! He’s also completely obsessed with celebrities who populate his daydream world: from the vain Harry Styles who is neurotic about his beautiful trademark hair to Daniel Radcliffe who is determined to leave his wizarding past behind him and flies off the handle at any mention of magic.
So tell us a bit more about what you are trying to achieve.
Chris is one of the most original (and funny) voices I’ve ever come across. Animation can be surprisingly hard to sell just with a script so I wanted to make a proof of concept taster which might also get shared online.
Do you think this could go further than BBC Taster?
Absolutely! I think the character could break through globally – but first he needs his own sitcom! The first challenge was to prove we could translate Chris’s brilliant drawings and stories into animated content – and it’s turned out better than we could ever have hoped for.
How is this different from what you usually do?
I’ve never produced animation before so in one sense it’s completely new to me. But it’s still comedy (which is what I usually make) so in another sense it’s the same as what I’ve done before. The exciting thing about animation, however, is that you can be even more inventive than you can be in traditional sitcom.
And what do you think the BBC Taster Audience will think of it?
I hope more people will fall in love with Chris who already has a bit of a cult following online. I hope the animations will make people laugh! And I also think the sketches offer a form of satirical entertainment not currently being provided by other British comedy as they skewer various contemporary celebrities in a biting but really joyous way.