29 July 2005

Flat Characters and Slow Plot but Very Funny and Authentic Dialogue

It's official, I accept I didn't make the cut :-( The first script I've properly produced and it never made the "long list" in the BBC's competition The Last Laugh. Basically you had to choose a half written sitcom and write the second half. The winning one would be made into a pilot. I chose "Good Morning Miss Milton" by Paul Mayhew-Archer (writer of Vicar of Dibley) which is set in a primary school. While it didn't make the cut, here are what some semi-professional writers said about my work: "Some very good lines" "I thought the dialogue flowed very smoothly; however the overall feel I got from the script was comedy-drama rather than sitcom" "I didn't feel that all of your dialogue was necessary, and maybe if you had got rid of some of this aimless or semi-humorous dialogue, it would have given you more room to put in better jokes, which judging from the best bits of this, you could have done." "I must compliment you on the actual dialogue which was natural and efficient." I'm sure that's got you interested, so here is the original start of the show (copyright BBC) and having read that you can read my ending. Comments are very welcome.


  1. A series of good one-liners stand out from this well crafted script. Contrary to the more esteemed critics, I think it reads very much like a sitcom, which is testament to your judgement of pace and feel for the genre in general. Given the largely one-dimesional characters at your disposal I thought you made a good fist of a distinctly average pitch.

    My criticism would be that there is a lack of climax in the narrative. I was expecting a big finish but it didn't really materialise. The one-liners are all amusing, but if they don't lead us to somewhere specific it can feel like they've been used for the sake of a few laughs, rather than as part of a funny and creative narrative tool. Problems like this however, are problems that occur in the planning stages and I suspect that the lack of a climatic ending was as much down to a short preparation period and a lack of experience then any writing deficiencies.

    I will be interested to see the pilot...

  2. Why don't you make a pilot Phill?