Live from Kirrin Island Podcast

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Plans are coming together for a one-off topical satirical comedy podcast in early summer. It’s the closed season for BBC Radio Newsjack which is one of few open-door radio shows ie where anyone can contribute material and receive a writing credit (along with payment from the BBC) for material that is recorded and broadcast.

There is no shortage of alternative writing opportunities and voluntary deadlines to keep comedy writers busy, but it seems that there is something a little bit special about the immediacy of having a go with Newsjack since the weekly cycle of scanning news, writing, submission and then instant success or failure in the public domain is gripping. The other factor is that it is genuinely high quality entertainment and many believe on par with other total commissioned-writer produced shows such as The Now Show.

So until Series 7 begins in the Autumn, it seemed appropriate to gather for a social soiree whilst keeping our topical writing skills well honed. And hence the Live from Kirrin Island podcast. Recorded in front of a friendly audience (for the laughter track) at my house which – as one complete open plan space with the sofa moved – is ideal for concerts and shows. Complete with a Wurlitzer Theatre Organ and a baby grand piano.

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With all the talent of BBC credited writers, experienced performers and a well tanked up audience, we should be confident of putting together something as good as anything you’ll hear on the airwaves. Watch this space.

    Risk Register:
  • Writers don’t turn up
  • We can’t think of anything funny
  • Audience don’t turn up
  • They don’t find it funny
  • Technical Failure eg recording
    • Mitigating action (respectively)
  • Offer of wine
  • Consumption of wine
  • Offer of wine
  • Consumption of wine
  • Teenagers and neighbours who happen to be BBC Sound technicians.
  • More information here

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    Oh yes. I’m writing comedy

    So I’m getting stuck into comedy writing and really enjoying it. Ok so I’ve written drama a bit – and currently have a one-act play appearing at festivals – but hey I like a challenge. They all warned me; “Comedy is really difficult to write” they said “You’ll think it’s easy – but it’s not”.

    And they are right of course, but that’s the attraction. So far, a radio audience comedy to BBC Writers Room – still waiting to hear, and I just made the deadline for the BBC Laugh Track TV sitcom competition with a comedy about Computer Hackers.

    But actually it’s sending in material for Newsjack that is giving me most pleasure at the moment. Perhaps it’s the competitive element that drives me – there’s lots of writers I’m competing with to get air time. But really I think it’s the discipline of writing comedy sketches I enjoy. Study news stories, find an unusual angle. And then form the dialogue which is tight, rhythmic and clever – funny even. I write a bit in my day job and this has been the best development training I could imagine – make every word punch above its weight. How does this come across to the reader/listener? Remove the fat – get to the point with impact. I’ve heard other people say, “get in – make your point – get out”. Real writing and comms skills that serve you well whenever.

    So, it’s episode 5 this week of a run of six. And so far my material has been recorded (episode 3) but sadly didn’t survive the edit. Two more attempts.

    I’m going to feel a bit bereft after next week. My current one-act play is set on death row in Florida – not much of a laugh but I did mange to squeeze in two jokes which the audience seem to enjoy (they are appropriate I hasten to add). I feel more comedy calling me.