Wednesday, 14 December 2016

McNeil & Pamphilon's Go 8 Bit gets 2 new series

2009's Sitcom Trials winners, Steve McNeil & Sam Pamphilon's TV show Go 8-Bit has been given two new series. Merry Christmas lads.


Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit is returning for two more series, Chortle can reveal.

Team captains and format creators Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon are also back for Dave's gaming panel show, which has extended its run for six to ten episodes per series.

Gaming journalist and comic Ellie Gibson will reprise her role as O Briain's sidekick on the show, which was one of the channel's five highest rated programmes of 2016.

Based on McNeil and Pamphilon's 2013 Edinburgh Fringe show, the first series aired in the autumn, with guest players including Russell Howard, Bob Mortimer, Jason Manford, Susan Calman and Ed Byrne.

The new episodes, due to air sometime in 2017, once again promise battles on classic games and new titles, as well as physical challenges.

O Briain said: 'What bittersweet news. The more time I spend making this fun exciting show about video games, the less time I have to play fun, exciting video games, and I'm already pretty bad at video games.

'In fact, the more I make this show the less qualified I am to be a guest on it. Now there's an irony.'

Go 8 Bit became a regular live comedy night in London and was in television development for two years.

The new episodes, which will be recorded in Elstree Studios from the end of January, are once again directed by Steve Smith, produced by Darren Sole and made by DLT Entertainment. They were ordered by Dave's director of commissioning Richard Watsham and the channel's general manager Steve North.

Iain Coyle, UKTV's senior commissioning editor and executive producer said: 'I’m so made up we’re making more of these. It’s been a real breakout hit for us and I’m so delighted it’s been embraced by the gaming community and Dave viewers alike. I guess that means my kids are gonna carry on pushing for that revolving sofa.'

Executive producer Donald Taffner Jr, added: 'Our team did a fantastic job of adapting a live Edinburgh Fringe show into the first video-game driven TV show that has been embraced by viewers of all ages and critics alike. UKTV took a chance on this format when others did not. They have been a great partner and we all look forward to producing the next two series and beyond.'

Reviews of the first series were generally positive, with Den of Geek describing Go 8 Bit as 'a decent mix of laughs and controller bashing confrontation', while the Guardian said: 'O Briain can host the heck out of a panel show, so it shouldn’t work but somehow it does.' Here is Chortle's review of the first episode.

- by Jay Richardson

Posted: 14 Dec 2016

Monday, 5 December 2016

Merry Christmas & thankyou from The Sitcom Trials


Seasons Greetings to everyone who participated in and enjoyed 2016's mammoth Sitcom Trials year, and a very big thankyou to all.

From the one-off Hull Sitcom Trials in March, through the deluge of script entries for the So You Think You Write Funny competition, via the Heats, readings, workshops, and more Heats in Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and London, to the Grand Final in Edinburgh, it's been a tremendous year, seeing 30 sitcoms showcased in 6 Heats across the country, and the highest quality of contribution and effort I can remember.

Extra special thanks have to go to the producers and team leaders across the country, without whom we'd have had no shows to begin with. So thanks to Aaron Twitchen in Birmingham, Sean Mason in Manchester, Colin McQuaid in Glasgow, Charlie Smith and Dan Mitchell in Cardiff, myself (Kev) in London (yes, you're allowed to thank yourself), all the teams of actors, writers, directors, and assistants who put every performance together, to our judges, and to the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh for the final.




Congratulations to the finalists Baby, Rachel, Vanessa & Kate, Paul & Mat, and Sean & Ashleigh, and to Like-A-Looks for the win.

I've made no plans for The Sitcom Trials for 2017, but if anyone wants to discuss it, whether they want to put together an informal Trials event or talk about more ambitious plans, you'll get me on kevf@sitcomtrials.co.uk

A Very Happy New Year when it comes

Love from

Kev F Sutherland
Creator and Producer
The Sitcom Trials


To see all 30 sitcoms in contention across the 6 Heats of the Sitcom Trials #SYTYWF 2016, check out the videos below.

Heat 1 London Video
Heat 2 London Video
Heat 3 Birmingham Video
Heat 4 Cardiff Video
Heat 5 Manchester Video
Heat 6 Glasgow Video 
Edinburgh Fringe Grand Final video

For news of forthcoming Sitcom Trials events, and your opportunity to take part or just watch, stay tuned to the Sitcom Trials blog, Twitter and Facebook.


Monday, 29 August 2016

#SYTYWF Grand Final 2016 - the videos


The video highlights from the Grand Final of The Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny are now on Youtube, please click and enjoy the 4 minutes of fun that give you a taste of the night.

The 5 sitcoms in contention, in order of appearance, were 

Like-A-Looks by Vanessa-Faye Stanley and Kate Bowes-Renna 
Final performance in full
London Heat performance in full

Sonny & Me by Baby Isako 
Final performance in full
London Heat performance in full

Aquarius Cafe by Rachel Sambrooks 
Final performance in full
Birmingham Heat performance in full

Agent of Lovcraft by Paul Hunt & Mat Troy 
Final performance in full
Cardiff Heat performance in full

and The Graduettes by Sean and Ashleigh Wilkie
Final performance in full
Glasgow Heat performance in full




To see all 30 sitcoms in contention across the 6 Heats of the Sitcom Trials #SYTYWF 2016, check out the videos below.

Heat 1 London Video
Heat 2 London Video
Heat 3 Birmingham Video
Heat 4 Cardiff Video
Heat 5 Manchester Video
Heat 6 Glasgow Video 
Edinburgh Fringe Grand Final video

For news of forthcoming Sitcom Trials events, and your opportunity to take part or just watch, stay tuned to the Sitcom Trials blog, Twitter and Facebook.





Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Sitcom Trials #SYTYWF - and the winners are..?


The various casts of The Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny Grand Final 2016. (Back row) Sonny & Me, Like A Looks, (middle) Agent Of Lovcraft, (front) host Kev F, Aquarius Cafe. (We're missing The Graduettes who, sadly, had left before we called the last-minute photoshoot). Photo by Nick Steel.

Thanks and warmest congratulations to everybody who took part in and attended the Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny Grand Final at the Gilded Balloon on Tuesday August 23rd 2016. A splendid night was had by all, and as you can see, a lot of performers (and writers, also out of shot) put a lot of effort into bringing together this production.

As always, we presented five brand new sitcoms live in stage, and the audience voted for their favourite and only saw the ending of the one that they chose as their winner. Plus, with this being the culmination of a six month long tournament, following heats across the country, with the prize on offer of their own show at the Gilded Balloon next year, there was a panel of judges who, independently of the audience vote, chose the ultimate prizewinner.



The 5 sitcoms in contention, in order of appearance, were Like-A-Looks by Vanessa-Faye Stanley and Kate Bowes-Renna (winner of the 1st London Heat), Sonny & Me by Baby Isako (winner of the 2nd London Heat), Aquarius Cafe by Rachel Sambrooks (winner of the Birmingham Heat), Agent of Lovcraft by Paul Hunt & Mat Troy (winner of the Cardiff Heat), and The Graduettes by Sean and Ashleigh Wilkie (winner of the Glasgow Heat).

The judges were Rosie Holt (the previous winner of The Sitcom Trials SYTYWF), Nick Steel (Bath Comedy Festival), Kate Lennon (Funny Women) and Karen Koren (Gilded Balloon).

And the winners were...

Winner of the audience vote, and therefore the team who got to perform their final scene: Sonny and Me.



Winner of the judges vote and the ultimate prizewinners: Like-A-Looks.



Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the performers who had to contend with a slightly late start and overlong warm-up from myself (Kev F, your host and producer), followed by the music bleeding through from the show next door, which was a challenge to which everyone rose maginificently. In the end the whole event only overran by 10 minutes, and a splendid time was had by all.

Oh yes, and the prize for the best audience sitcom suggestion in The Pitch Fest was a drawing of Mrs Brown by Kev F (of which, sadly, no photo was taken).

The Sitcom Trials will be continuing at venues across the country, follow it on the blog and via Facebook and Twitter for details of how to take part.

Kev F Sutherland, creator & producer, The Sitcom Trials


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Sitcom Trials #SYTYWF final - the tension mounts

In the run up to the Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny final tonight, the competing teams have been busy on social media whipping up the excitement. The Cardiff team, presenting Agent Of Lovcraft, have definitely won the prize for Best Accommodation:



While the Like-A-Looks team have gone to town on the gifs...


Rachel and her Aquarius Cafe haven't been backwards in coming forwards with the invites, here she is inviting French & Saunders to the show (we're awaiting their reply):


The Graduettes are proud of their unique status:





And Sonny & Me have their own flyer-come-programme - stylish.


Best of luck to everyone at tonight's final. Stay tuned for a report of how it all goes.



The Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny? Grand Final is on at 10.30pm, August 23rd 2016 at The Gilded Ballon, Edinburgh Fringe. Tickets here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

"Valleys comedy writers follow in Miranda Hart's footsteps" - Wales Online

One team from this year's Sitcom Trials #SYTYWF final is taking the lead in the publicity stakes. This from Wales Online. 


Valleys comedy writers follow in Miranda Hart's footsteps with major Edinburgh Festival award nomination

Comedy writers Mat Trow and Paul Hunt are off to the Edinburgh Festival with their Cardiff-based sitcom Agents of L*O*V*C*R*A*F*T

Two Rhondda comedy writers are hoping to emulate the success of Miranda Hart in the Edinburgh Festival Sitcom Trials Grand Final with their Cardiff-set comedy, Agents of L*O*V*C*R*A*F*T.

Mat Trow and Paul Hunt - who have been a writing team since their time at the then University of Glamorgan - will learn if their show is crowned winner on August 23.

Agents of L*O*V*C*R*A*F*T (which stands for League of Valleys and Cardiff Registered Adherents of Felicitous Tuning) is about a sceptical unemployed man forced to become a psychic detective for a league of mystics.




Mat Trow and Paul Hunt are off to Edinburgh, and might smile once they are there
The Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny? Grand Final is on at 10.30pm, August 23rd 2016 at The Gilded Ballon, Edinburgh Fringe. Tickets here.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sitcom Trials - So You Think You Write Funny, Final August 23rd


Here we see the flyer for The Sitcom Trials - So You Think You Write Funny Final. Look out for these on the streets of Edinburgh this August.

The final line up for the Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny has been announced, and tickets are already selling fast. For anyone taking note of such things, three of the five sitcoms - who have made it here from 6 Heats showcasing 30 sitcoms across 5 cities - are by female writer-performers, and 4 out of the 5 have female leads.

The finalists are:



Like-A-Looks by Vanessa-Faye Stanley & Kate Bowes-Renna (London)
Kylie Minogue meets Captain Jack Sparrow in the temping job to beat all, as Valerie enters the world of Like-A-Looks. 



Sonny & Me by Baby Isako (London)
Everyone around him wants Eddie to grow up and face his responsibilities. Finding he has a 15 year old son changes everything. But wait, can that really be his son?



Aquarius Café by Rachel Sambrooks (Birmingham)
Birmingham’s only cafe cum therapy palace cum poetry experience cum music venue cum jazz bar cum folk museum cum wedding emporium cum flashmob cum love cafe. 



Agent of LOVCRAFT by Paul Hunt & Mat Troy (Cardiff)
Cardiff’s own slightly psychic investigator faces the biggest challenge yet when a maniac kidnaps a city bus armed with an electric screwdriver and a route map.



Graduettes by Sean Wilkie (Glasgow)
Three Glasgow women have recently graduated and now struggle to make their way in the world despite illness, unwanted pregnancy, and being a nutty religious zealot.

The audience will vote for their favourite and only see the ending of the winner, with the ultimate victor being chosen by a panel of judges. The winning sitcom writers are awarded their own show at the Gilded Balloon next year.



The Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny? Grand Final is on at 10.30pm, August 23rd 2016 at The Gilded Ballon, Edinburgh Fringe. Tickets here.



Heat 1 London Video
Heat 2 London Video
Heat 3 Birmingham Video
Heat 4 Cardiff Video
Heat 5 Manchester Video
Heat 6 Glasgow Video 



Tuesday, 26 July 2016

SYTYWF Cardiff & Glasgow videos


And finally we have the video clips from all 6 Heats of The Sitcom Trials - So You Think You Write Funny? up online. Above we have the last Heat from Glasgow and below, Heat 4 from Cardiff. Click to play.



The sitcoms in contention were:

GLASGOW:
20th Century Fox by Graeme Prosser
Compose Yourself by Richard Archibald
Graduettes by Sean Wilkie
Kapow by Griff Phillips
At Home With The Hipsters by David Keenan


Richard Archibald (left) and the cast of Compose Yourself. Best costumes of this year's Trials Heats.

CARDIFF:
Agent of Lovecraft by Paul Hunt & Mat Troy
Chops by William Kelly
Coffee Boys by Liam Jones
End the Night by Adam Charles Baker
Red Dragon by Michael Young-Drennan

And the winners of the audience vote were:

Glasgow: Compose Yourself
Cardiff: Agent of Lovecraft

We hope you enjoy the videos, testament to the highest standard of writing and performance. We hope to see you all at the Grand Final in Edinburgh on August 23rd.


Heat 1 London Video
Heat 2 London Video
Heat 3 Birmingham Video
Heat 4 Cardiff Video
Heat 5 Manchester Video
Heat 6 Glasgow Video

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Sitcom Trials #SYTYWF - The Final Five



Thanks and commiserations to all the writers, producers, directors and actors - and indeed the audiences - who've made the 6 Heats of the Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny such a success.

After deliberation and consultation, I've chosen, as the final five entries in the Sitcom Trials Edinburgh Final:

Like-A-Looks by Vanessa-Faye Stanley & Kate Bowes-Renna (London)
Sonny & Me by Baby Isako (London)
Aquarius Café by Rachel Sambrooks (Birmingham)
Agent of Lovecraft by Paul Hunt & Mat Troy (Cardiff)
Graduettes by Sean Wilkie (Glasgow)


The final is on Tuesday August 23rd, 10.30pm in the Sportsmans Bar at the Gilded Balloon, Teviot.



The quality of entries in this year's competition was higher than ever before, and I want to thank everyone for the work they've put in. Special thanks to the teams across the country who staged these scripts, and to those writer-performers who put their own performing troupes together. This made the quality of presentation amazingly high, and thus all the more galling for those who've ended up not making the final.

I'd like to invite any and all of you to enter the Sitcom Trials again. We will hopefully be running shows, not as a tournament like this, but as stand-alone showcases giving you the opportunity to test out work in front of a live audience. So if you'd be interested in continuing with that process, please keep in touch with me.

I look forward to seeing as many of you up in Edinburgh as can make it, all the very best

Kev F Sutherland
Producer
THE SITCOM TRIALS


Heat 1 London Video
Heat 2 London Video
Heat 3 Birmingham Video
Heat 4 Cardiff Video
Heat 5 Manchester Video
Heat 6 Glasgow Video 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

SYTYWF Heat 5: Manchester video


The 5th Heat of 2016's Sitcom Trials - So You Think You Write Funny took place in Salford on July 17th at The Kings Arms Theatre. Click to watch the video highlights.

The sitcoms in contention were:
Adam & Eve & Steve by Sean Fee
Babestation by Stephen Lawson (entered as a video, as writer-performed cast were unavailable)
Lost Cause by Andy Partington
Vlog Eat Vlog by Christy White-Spunner 

And the winner of the audience vote was... Adam & Eve & Steve. We hope you enjoy the video, it's testament to the highest standard of writing and performance.
This result doesn't determine which sitcoms will be going on to the Grand Final in Edinburgh in August. We have to wait until the end of the 6th heat to be able to say which 5 sitcoms will be chosen. An agonising process for all concerned, we thank you for your patience.

Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny 2016 shows: 

June 2 - London Heat 1, Ophelia Dalston, 8pm £5
July 7 - London Heat 2, Ophelia Dalston, 8pm £5
July 9 - Birmingham Heat, The Mac, 7.30pm £8
July 16 - Cardiff Heat, Exit 7, Motorpoint Arena
July 17 - Manchester Heat, Kings Arms Salford, 8.30pm £4
July 23 - Glasgow Heat, Dram!
August 23 Edinburgh Fringe Grand Final 

Heat 1 London Video
Heat 2 London Video
Heat 3 Birmingham Video
Heat 4 Cardiff Video
Heat 5 Manchester Video

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Sitcom Trials Manchester review

A nice review of the Manchester Sitcom Trials heat of So You Think You Write Funny, from North West End's Poppy Stewart.


Tonight was the Manchester heat of the Sitcom Trials, a popular competition which pits five 10 minute sitcoms against each other, with the audience deciding which their favourite is? There are heats throughout the UK, with the grand finals taking place at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Host Kev F Sutherland does a wonderful job of warming up the crowd and explaining how it works. His years of experience are evident through his total professionalism, and he has the audience on side from the start. We get to play a warm up game before the performances begin a vote to find the best (or worst, however you look at it) crude regional stereotype within a sitcom. I'm pleased to say my suggestion, Manuel from Fawlty Towers, was deemed the winner!


On to the sitcoms, and the first extract is 'Vlog Eat Vlog', the tale of two flatmates who are both you tubers, but polar opposites. One is a pretentious 'feminist' who can't quite get it right, and the other is the shy host of a food channel, who undertakes challenges such as, how many chicken nuggets I can fit in my ear! A spanner is thrown in the works when a girl moves in next door, and both men fight for her love. I really enjoyed this piece, it was well written and had the most frequent laughs of the evening; and I wanted to see more to find out who 'the everywoman' would choose.

The second piece is 'Lost Cause', where a 29 year old babysitter arrives to look after five year old Julian, who she subsequently loses. I loved the characters in this one; babysitter Melanie with her awkward and uncomfortable humour, the posh mum from 'new money', who owns a bread business but won't let her child eat gluten because it's 'too common', and Melanie's idiot brother. There were perhaps not as many laughs as the first piece, but again, I really wanted to see the ending!


The third sitcom, 'Babestation', was slightly unusual in its format as it was presented on video ¬- its actors being University students who are away for the summer! I particularly liked the two young characters in this one, the experimental new director who is full of unusual ideas, and his hapless assistant. However we weren't left on a cliff-hanger as with the others, as the ending was fairly obvious (although I could be wrong, we will never know!)

The fourth scene was entitled 'Adam and Eve and Steve', and was set in the Garden of Eden. This was probably my least favourite sitcom of the evening, although I did enjoy the character of 'Keith' the snake, and it was an interesting twist on the original story. I can see this being filmed in a Monty Python-esque style.

We were also treated to another audience game of pitching our own sitcom, the winner being 'Putin On The Ritz', when Mrs Putin thinks Vladimir is getting fat, so puts him on a diet of savoury crackers! Now there's a sitcom I would love to see.

After the audience vote it was revealed that 'Adam and Eve and Steve' was the winner, and would advance to the next stage of the competition. It's not what I would have picked, but that's the beauty of theatre, TV, and life, everyone likes different things and that's alright!

Reviewer: Poppy Stewart
Reviewed: 17th July 2016

Monday, 18 July 2016

SYTYWF Heats 4 & 5, Cardiff and Birmingham Results


Here is the flipchart from the warm up game at the Manchester Sitcom Trials #SYTYWF Heat 5, in which the audience endeavoured to choose the Best Crude Regional Stereotype in a sitcom ever. The runners up were Groundskeeper Willie, the cast of Ello Ello, Mrs Brown, Father Dougal, Alf Garnett, Navid from Still Game, Brass (if anyone remembers that, with Timothy West?) and anything with Peter Kay in. And the winner was Manuel from Fawlty Towers.


But I detect that's not the result you're waiting to hear, is it? On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July we held the 4th & 5th Heats in the Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny competition, in Cardiff and Manchester. The sitcoms in contention were:

CARDIFF HEAT:
Agent of Lovecraft by Paul Hunt & Mat Troy
Chops by William Kelly
Coffee Boys by Liam Jones
End the Night by Adam Charles Baker
Red Dragon by Michael Young-Drennan


MANCHESTER HEAT:
Adam & Eve & Steve by Sean Fee
Babestation by Stephen Lawson (entered as a video, as writer-performed cast were unavailable)
Lost Cause by Andy Partington
Vlog Eat Vlog by Christy White-Spunner

And the winners of the audience votes were...


In Cardiff: Agent of Lovecraft
In Birmingham: Adam & Eve & Steve

Now we only have to wait until the 6th and final Heat takes place in Glasgow on July 23rd, after which we'll be able to say which five sitcoms will be going through to the grand final in Edinburgh on August 23rd.

Thanks and congratulations to everyone who's got this far, and to our audiences who've been turning out in impressive numbers on some of the hottest nights of the year.

Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny 2016 shows: 

June 2 - London Heat 1, Ophelia Dalston, 8pm £5
July 7 - London Heat 2, Ophelia Dalston, 8pm £5
July 9 - Birmingham Heat, The Mac, 7.30pm £8
July 16 - Cardiff Heat, Exit 7, Motorpoint Arena
July 17 - Manchester Heat, Kings Arms Salford, 8.30pm £4
July 23 - Glasgow Heat, Dram!
August 23 Edinburgh Fringe Grand Final 


Heat 1 London Video
Heat 2 London Video
Heat 3 Birmingham Video
Heat 5 Manchester Video

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

SYTYWF Heat 2 London & Heat 3 Birmingham - videos


You wait a month for a video of highlights from the Sitcom Trials So you Think You Write Funny Heats, and two come along at once. Click to play these 4 minute clips from Heat 2: London (above) and Heat 3: Birmingham (below).


Heat 2 London's five sitcoms in contention were:
Single In The Smoke by Tash Goldstone
No 74 by Victoria Reilly
We Three Kings by Christian Nardecchia
Sonny & Me by Baby Isako
Galaxy Ball by Diane Spencer

Heat 3 Birmingham's five sitcoms were:
Naval Gazing by Rob Smyth
The Cleaners by Richard Constable & Roger Saunders
All at Sea by Aaron Caris
Aquarius Café by Rachel Sambrooks
Falling Flat by Peter Etherington


Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny 2016 shows: 

June 2 - London Heat 1, Ophelia Dalston, 8pm £5
July 7 - London Heat 2, Ophelia Dalston, 8pm £5
July 9 - Birmingham Heat, The Mac, 7.30pm £8
July 16 - Cardiff Heat, Exit 7, Motorpoint Arena
July 17 - Manchester Heat, Kings Arms Salford, 8.30pm £4
July 23 - Glasgow Heat, Dram!
August 23 Edinburgh Fringe Grand Final 
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