Category: BBC Page 2 of 5

This Offer Only Good Until Midnight (I Think)

Available for the first time on DVD since it was first shown on BBC TV in 2006, Stephen Fry’s two-part documentary series The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive is released tomorrow…

… but if you click here and buy it today, you can get it for 45% off the release price of £15.99.

If you haven’t seen it – and statistically, I’d imagine that’s fairly likely – it’s a very solid documentary, with Fry and people such as Robbie Williams, Tony Slattery, Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfus talking about how their life’s been affected by bipolar disoder.

Very much recommended, and a portion of the profits go to a mental health charity, so I politely suggest you click the above link. Trust me, it’s worth every penny.

Now You Can See (Well, Hear) What I’ve Been Up To While I Haven’t Been Posting This Week

I’m pleased to be able to point you towards the latest episode of the BBC7 comedy show Newsjack, which features a joke by little ol’ me.

Here be the link to the show’s page, which also includes the iPlayer link and a credits list (rather charmingly alphabetised by forename). My gag is the one about SuperInjunctions in the Corrections segment about two minutes from the end.

There’ll probably be a link for the podcast in the next couple of days, and my rampant egocentricity means I’m very likely to post that too. (EDIT: Crikey, looks like it’s already available here. That was quick.)

Anyway, as you can probably gather, I’m more than a little bit pleased about this (which is why my usual English reserve has been overwhelmed with the desire to self-promote so shamelessly); my first paid work for the BBC, and not, I hope, the last.

Though, as ever, that’s rather up (or indeed down) to me, innit? Back to the writing…

A Second Edition (Should That Be ‘Opinion’?)

Many moons ago, I referred – albeit fleetingly – to the book The Writer’s Tale by Russell T Davies.

As you might imagine from the title, it’s an account of his experiences working on Doctor Who, incorporating scripts as well as featuring nicely candid e-mails between RTD and the journalist Benjamin Cook. It came out in a nice hardback form in 2008, and as you can see from the picture to the left, the paperback has come out – with, cripes, a big chunk of new material, covering the episodes which were broadcast in 2009. In the absence of a ‘supplement’ being issued for hardback-owners, I think that 300 pages of new material is a pretty good lure to buy it again, really.

Anyway, I wanted to draw your attention to the updated Writer’s Tale website, which now features downloadable PDFs of the scripts for the 2009 Specials, including The End Of Time. And, unlike the book I sound suspiciously like I’m hawking above, the scripts can be had for the always-nice sum of nought pence.

I always think it’s interesting to have a look at how these things are done (even if the depth of my insight is limited to thoughts like “Hmm, these episodes are numbered as an extension of the previous series”). A peek behind the curtain, as it were.

Return Of The ‘Jack

A second series of BBC7 topical radio comedy Newsjack has been commissioned, and like the first series, they’re looking for material from new writers – or old or increasingly-old writers; anyone, really. Which has to be a good thing.

Full details of the show and how you can go about sending them material are located here, and it’s got to be worth a go, right?

I mean, you don’t even have to pay for a stamp (if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you have internet access). Which is handy, as – let’s face it – very few of us feel actively wealthy as January hoves into view.

See The TV Show, Read The Script (This Offer Valid Today Only)

I’ve only just spotted it, so there’s not much time for you to take this up, but better late than never and all that, eh ?

My point is: you can download the Doctor Who episode ‘Partners In Crime’ from iTunes for nought pence by clicking here, though that offer expires at midnight tonight, so be swift.

And then, by way of wandering backstage after the show has finished and everyone has gone home, you can download a copy of the script from here and see how it was all done.

I think it’s a pretty decent episode, even if the scene where the Doctor and Donna are miming to each other always reminds me of the pictured ‘reunion’ from Halloween H20

You’re Aware Of Miranda, Right(s)?

So, slightly tucked away in an odd-ish slot of the BBC schedules (8.30pm on BBC2), is a bit of a gem: the sitcom Miranda, starring and written by Miranda Hart – a name you might not recognise, but you’ll probably know her by sight; look, there she is in the picture on the left there, not enjoying a cup of tea. See, told you that you’d recognise her.

Anyway, as I said to m’Mrs yesterday after watching the second episode, it’s an almost classic sitcom – packed with jokes and silly situations, it’s just the sort of thing I’d hope to see in the 8.00pm slot on BBC1, really, but I guess the slightly rude nature of some of it is what’s pushed it to the channel next door. Bit of a pity, as I think this is the sort of show which deserves wider exposure because (a) it’s very funny and (b) I’d rather see this kind of show as the standard, not the exception.

But enough plugging, you’re probably so completely won over by my praise that you’re wondering how you can go about catching up on the series so far. Well, lucky you, the BBC iPlayer is your friend, and you can read more about the programme, and play catch-up, by clicking here.

And if slapstick’s your thing, be aware that she does some of the best falling-over work I’ve seen in quite a while. What with that and verbal gags, I reckon that makes it pretty much something for everyone.

This Link Will Self-Destruct In 36 Hours

Thanks to the wondrous BBC iPlayer, one can not only watch TV programmes which you’ve missed, but you can also listen to radio programmes of interest.

One such programme – if you’re interested in writing – is called Write Lines, and was broadcast last week on BBC Radio Oxford. It’s the first of four parts, and is hosted by Sue Cook, with contributions from two published authors, a chap from Macmillan New Writing, and other folks who know about it.

Until 10.02pm tomorrow night, you can listen to the first episode here. There’s a bit more information about the show itself here.

Caution: Contains an isolated outbreak of Boyzone, but it’s an ideal point to make a cup of tea.

He’s Cleared The First Hurdle, But What About The Second?

If you’re of a writerly mind, you may remember the stuff I posted in September about the open call for submissions to the BBC radio sketch show, Recorded For Training Purposes.

Well, just to prove that I don’t idly post these things – and that I wasn’t kidding when I said I didn’t need the competition – I sent a couple of sketches in, and crikey o’riley if I didn’t get an e-mail today saying that I’d made it past the initial sift.

Which made me grin like an idiot, though the e-mail also cautions that there are something like 250 people in my situation, plus all the actual commissioned writers like Senor Arnopp, and they’ll probably be wanting about 100 sketches in total. So I shouldn’t get too excited quite yet, though it’s stoked the fires of my ego to get this far.

Did any of you folks send anything in, and if so, any response? Are you – cripes – one of my rivals for airtime? Do let me know.

You may, of course, rest assured that I’ll let you know when I hear more, be it aye or nay (though the e-mail suggests I shouldn’t necessarily expect to hear before Christmas). I may not know much, but I understand enough about narrative to know that people usually like some kind of closure on things.

But anyway: colour me pleased.

In Which I Demonstrate, Once Again, My Pretentious Ways

Last night I went with my Dad to see a performance of some classical music at the Barbican here in London.

It was a good mixed bill – a bit of Strauss for me, a bit of Mahler for Dad, and some stuff by a chap called Martinu which neither of us were familiar with. And as you can see from the picture here, we got pretty good seats for our £8.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun – particularly the final bit of Strauss, which often sounds like the soundtrack to a cartoon – and lo and behold, the BBC have made it available to listen to via the iPlayer, and you can do so here.

Another very self-indulgent post from me, I fear, but on the other hand this’ll provide evidence to both my wife and my mother that Dad and I really were at the concert as promised, and not at a lap-dancing club.

Though Dad did joke about going on to one afterwards. At least, I think he was joking…

Giving You A Lead, Talking Up Another Writer… Is There No End To My Magnificent Munificence?

Despite the fact I could do without the competition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t draw your attention to this writing opportunity: the BBC Radio 4 comedy programme Recorded For Training Purposes is inviting writers to send in sketches.

This is the fourth series of ‘RFTP’, as all the cool kids call it, and they genuinely have used sketches from people who’ve sent them in – why, none other than Lord Jason of Arnopp sent stuff in to them last year, and now he’s been commissioned to write stuff for the forthcoming series. That’s right, he went from being a speculative sender to one of the people on the inside. IT CAN BE DONE.

Anyway, I’ll definitely be giving this a go – full details can be found via the link above, including the general themes that they’re looking for (in addition to asking that all submissions huddle comfortably under the umbrella theme of ‘communication’).

The closing date is midnight on October 2 (though one has to hope that they won’t be there that late – long hours could mean they get tired and overlook the genius of my material), but I think I’ll be starting to work on this sooner rather than later…

Oh, and did I mention that they’re asking for no more than two sketches from each person? Ah yes, looks like I just did in that previous sentence. Good. Would have looked like an idiot if I’d neglected to mention that, and as regular readers (or even those with chronic constipation) will know, looking stupid is the last thing I’d want to happen.

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