Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Going for the Jocular

A very interesting day today, if a long one. Up at 6am, out the house at 7, not home 'til just before midnight, a train, a taxi and 9 hours on National Express coaches entirely populated by bronchial tributes to Ratso Rizzo from Midnight Cowboy in the middle. The reason for all this being that there comedy writing masterclass with David Mitchell at Broadcasting House in the afternoon.

There were 15 of us there, selected from 900 or so applicants apparently, and I was pleased to find myself sitting by another of Gill Isles' protégées quite by chance,
The afternoon, which focused on sketch writing, broke down into an illustrated talk on types of funny from Gareth Edwards, the BBC's head of radio comedy, a discussion between Gareth and David (resplendent in a range of complementary browns from the Colour Me Autumnal range and quite as nice a chap as you'd hope) followed by questions from the group, a mock writer's meeting for a topical sketch show involving us all, and a little ever so slightly stilted socialising at the end.

All pretty good fun and useful too, though I'm not sure the mock meeting was an entirely comfortable part of proceedings for most of us, because a) we hadn't known it was happening in advance and were thus unprepared, and b) we seemed to be mainly shy solo writers rather than habitual team writers with shared history that would have allowed us to bounce ideas around more easily. Possibly the slightly stilted socialising should have happened first,
I was gobbier than I needed to be in this part of proceedings to compensate for finding it awkward, for which I apologise if you were one of the others present. It was either that or clam up entirely.
I got homework from this bit for my pains, so that'll teach me, and have had to buy a copy of OK magazine for research on the way home. I felt soiled.
I concealed it as best I could in a copy of the new Doctor Who Magazine which I perversely feel is a more acceptable public purchase and then read that on the way home instead. There's a piece by Andrew Pixley on the 60s Dalek series that nearly was in there, which is great if you like that kind of thing, and I definitely do.

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