Thursday 31 May 2012

New Sitcom Trials Facebook page - please Like

The Sitcom Trials has a new Facebook community page:!/pages/The-Sitcom-Trials/224909300962293

(er, I have no idea why that link has "George Takei" in the middle, I'll just amend it...)

This is in addition to the existing group, it's one of those "Pages" that you "Like" and which seems to be making me write everything in "inverted commas".

If you all Like this page, it could be the best page to put updates, videos, feedback, etc as the Trials progresses. Coming next is the Bristol show on June 29th and the Manchester show on July 20th (call for scripts ahoy - watch the new Facebook page for news)

Kev F

Saturday 26 May 2012

Eurovision Sitcom Contest reviews

Thanks to Steve Tracey, author of Art For Arts Sake, and Bart Hulley, author and star of A Species of American in Paris, both for making it to the Eurovision Sitcom Contest itself, from Gosport and Strasbourg respectively, and for the following reviews, posted on the Sitcom Trials Facebook group.

Steve Tracey Great show, and congratulations to the Johnny Foreigner teams. Though in the words of Michael Flanders I think they “Practiced before hand, which ruins the fun”.
Seriously though, well done to all of the actors and directors, great job all round. Particular high praise should be given to the cast of “Checking Out” who really threw themselves body and sole (see what I did there) into the performance. I don’t think anyone could deny that the best entry won, if for no other reason that their second half was faultless and rounded of a great night.
And of course thanks to Kev for doing all of the hard work in putting it all together.

Barcholomou Hülleý Great fun - didn't realise I would be needed to act as well - but it all worked out rather well in the end I thought?
As for those scripts:
Art for Arts sake - it's always tough being up first, but the cast did a great job of bringing it to life. Could have been shorter and tighter though - with fewer puns about ejaculation.
Band on the run - my favourite, great characters, great performance! Again - could have been shorter and tighter, but very little not to like!
Checking out - Although Kev apologised for the Sock's interpretation - I think it actually added a certain je ne sais quoi. Only comment would be that the laughs became a bit thin on the ground just before the cliffhanger.
Species of American in Paris - brilliant of course (Oh la la - but then it was my script)
The Synagogue - what better way to end the night than with "Boom shake the Jew?!"

Eurovision Sitcom Contest - the video

The first ever Eurovision Sitcom Contest, produced and presented by The Sitcom Trials, took place at the Camden Head in London on May 24 2012. Here's a taste of the night (click to play)

As ever the video hardly captures the atmosphere of the event, where five sitcoms competed head to head, with the audience voting for their favourite. The sitcoms in contention, all of which had a Eurovision or European theme, were:

Art For Arts Sake by Steve Tracey
Band On The Run by Jane Simon & Frances Pamley
 Checking Out by Eoin Carney
A Species of American in Paris by Bart Hulley
The Synagogue by Sarit Chen & Tova Leigh

And the winner was, by a landslide, The Synagogue. Thanks to everyone who came and congratulations to everyone who contributed and took part. The next Sitcom Trials take place in Bristol in June and Manchester in July, stay tuned to this website for details.

Kev F Sutherland
The Sitcom Trials

Thursday 24 May 2012

Eurovision Sitcom Trials - and the winner is..?

And the winner was..?

Thanks to everyone who made it along to last night's sellout Eurovision Sitcom Contest Sitcom Trials Special at the Camden Head, possibly the hottest Sitcom Trials ever (the windows are sealed shut, who knew?). And the runaway winner on the night was The Synagogue, the Israeli entry by Sarit Chen and Tova Leigh.

The French entry, a Species of American in Paris by Bart Hulley came in a respectable second, with the other three scripts Art For Ars Sake, Band On The Run & Checking Out tying in third place.

It was a marvellous and highly enjoyable night, I look forward to hearing your reviews and comments. And video highlights from the night will be appearing soon at

Kev Sutherland
The Sitcom Trials

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Those "Have We Found" animations

The Sitcom Trials catchphrase - "Have we found the new..?" - is as old as the Trials themselves, having appeared on the flyers advertising the show back in 2000 and immortalised on the 2001 Edinburgh poster as "Have we found the new Frasier? The new Friends? The new Fawlty?". The original flyers are lost in the mists of time, but here's a 2009 revamp of the style:

Since which time, as well as being a regular feature of the live show, and a joy to make up all the time (please, if someone, anyone would make up some "Have we founds" for me, I'd be delighted), I've been making little animated gifs of them for the website. Then losing them. They float off round various parts of the internet, who knows where. So, for the purposes of neatness, here are the "Have we found" animations to date, all in one place.

Monday 21 May 2012

Actors needed for Thursday's Sitcom Trials

Attention actors, we've had a couple of last minute losses from Thursday's Eurovision Sitcom Trials, one male one female, this is your chance to shine.

If you want to be the new Miranda, the new Tony Robinson... oh you know the routine. We have a cracking script that will go beautifully in a rehearsed reading, and we have an audience waiting to be entertained. Could you be the actor that turns this comedy to gold?

Contact me, Kev F, now.

Kev F Sutherland
Eurovision Sitcom Contest
Thu May 24
The Camden Head
100 Camden High Street London NW1 0LU
8pm - 10pm £3

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Reserve those Eurovision tickets now

The Eurovision Sitcom Contest looks dangerously like becoming a sellout. If you want reserve a ticket, email me now at, then pay on the door. You'll need to get there as near to 7.30 as you can to get your tickets, at 8pm we'll sell on uncollected tickets.

Facebook event listing

Eurovision Sitcom Contest
Thu May 24
The Camden Head
100 Camden High Street London NW1 0LU
8pm - 10pm £3

Camden Head
Time Out listing
LBC listing

Sunday 13 May 2012

Euro script selection results

Here are the results of the totalled up votes in the Eurovision Sitcom Contest script selection (where a Yes gives 2 points, a Maybe gives 1 point, and a No gives minus 1 point). The figure in brackets is the total when the writer's vote for their own script is removed (these are the writers who admitted in their votes which was their own script, I realise there will be others who voted for their own script but didn't mention it, and whose online name doesn't match their author name. If anyone wants to report any amendments that should be made, please let me know. The full table of votes is now in the SitsVac files).

RESULTS        Total
Checking Out        16 (*14)
Art for Arts Sake    10
Band on the Run        10
Cooper                10  (*8)
Doodlebugs        9
A Weekend with Wogan    9  (*7)
Audition        7
Outgoings        7 (*5)
Sing Your Life        6  (*4)
A Long Way to Azerbai    4
Rogue State        3
All The Fun Of The Fair     0
Linda                 0  (*-2)
Moonstricken        -1
Meat                -2
A Thong For Europe    -2 (*-4)
MakeupDave        -3
Think Tank        -4
Eurovison Boycott    -5
Labasci Washington    -7
Euromurder        -10 (*-12)
Peoples Flag        -13
I shall be making the decision about how we proceed today and shall be announcing that later. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who entered and everyone who voted, I hope we've all got something out of the process. Next stop - the Eurovision Finals where three of these scripts will be up against the French and the Israeli entries.

Kev F Sutherland
Creator & Producer
The Sitcom Trials

Saturday 12 May 2012

Trials votes half counted

I love adding up the votes for the Sitcom Trials script selection. I've added up all the votes cast so far and, in all honesty, it's all to play for.

Having totted up the votes from GarryJLee, JohnHolt, SteveTracey, Simon Brandon, Eoin Carney, Elliot Stewart, Eleanor Green, Jennie Stephenson, Dan Sweryt & Trinder we have three scripts in the lead with +10 points, and two at the bottom of the table with -7 points, but every vote makes a difference so keep them coming.

The votes are as varied as always, for example one script has an equal number of Maybes and Nos, so lingers mid-table on 0, as does another with a mix of Yesses, Maybes and Nos, all of which cancel each other out. So far. It would just take 5 Yes votes for any script in the table to rise to the top (okay, a couple of scripts would need 8 or 9 Yes votes from where they stand at the moment, but nothing's impossible).

I'm away at a gig tonight and I really don't want my votes to influence any of the others that still have to come in, so I'll be posting mine along with the final totals tomorrow morning. (And because I'll be driving home in the morning, it might be midday before you see them all. A hint there that, anyone who can't get all their votes in before the midnight deadline might have a couple more hours reading time to play with).

Thanks to everyone who's joined in with this process so far.

Kev F Sutherland
Creator & Producer
The Sitcom Trials

Read the scripts in the files, post votes on the forum.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Sitcom Mission wants scripts for scratch night

The Sitcom Mission is looking for scripts. Declan writes: (via BCG Forums

Righto, so we're at the Priory Arms in Stockwell on June 20th.

We'll be combining the networking evening with a new scratch night. You're invited to send in a script - either new or a previous entry - and we'll pick three at random to perform that night by professional actors as a rehearsed reading (you won't know until the night which three we're performing).

Simon and I will then give some feedback, the actors will give feedback, and, if there's time, we'll open it out to the floor.

We'll start the night at 7pm for networking, at 7.45 we'll have the three script readings and then finish with some more chat and networking. We need to charge £1 entry in order to pay for the room.

Deadline for scripts is June 13. Email them to with the subject matter June 20 Sub-Mission. 

NB: There is still time to vote in the Sitcom Trials script selection, you have until Sunday morning. Details

Monday 7 May 2012

Sincerest form of flattery - Amazon do sitcoms

One of the parts of the Sitcom Trials process that I've long enjoyed is our online peer-review method of selecting scripts. It's happening right now to select scripts for the forthcoming Eurovision Sitcom Contest, you are invited to vote.

So imagine my surprise when I read that "writers also have the option to submit scripts for public review, so other website users can made comments and revisions to make the sitcom a more collaborative project". Was this an article referring to us? I fear not. It was this, from Chortle:

Amazon to start making sitcoms

...and it's on the lookout for ideas

Amazon to start making sitcoms

An unexpected new player has entered the sitcom business – internet retailer Amazon.

The company has invited writers to submit ideas and sample scripts for shows that could go into production for its on-demand video service Instant Play.

Amazon Studios is planning to option one idea per month to place on to its production slate, for which they will pay $10,000. If the show makes it to distribution, the creator is paid $55,000 plus five per cent royalties on any merchandising sales.

The company says: ‘We are looking for 22-minute narrative live action or animated primetime series you can't find anywhere else. ‘Generally speaking, we like character-driven ideas in well-defined worlds. We want shows that are smart, original, loud in concept and most of all, funny; think Archer or Curb Your Enthusiasm.

‘For live-action, we prefer shows with some level of serialisation. We are not looking for sketch, reality or talk shows. All scripts should be within the normal television standards for content and language.’

The quest for new sitcoms follows the success of a similar project for films, launched in 2010, which has led to 15 potential movies in development.

Entrants for the sitcom project must submit a pilot script and a brief document explaining the main characters, five or six episode ideas, and the storyline for the entire series. Click here for more information.

Writers also have the option to submit scripts for public review, so other website users can made comments and revisions to make the sitcom a more collaborative project.

It is, I guess, the sincerest form of flattery.


Thu May 24
The Camden Head
100 Camden High Street London NW1 0LU
8pm - 10pm £3

Sunday 6 May 2012

Sitcom Mission 2012 winner announced

The Sitcom Mission's grand final 2012 - result

Sitcom Mission 2012 winner announced

Saturday 5th May 2012 @ 1:45pm
Sitcom Mission 2012. Yo Valet. Image shows from L to R: Graeme Stirling, Jennie Barbrook, Hemi Yeroham. Image credit: Richard Davenport.
Former stand-up comedian Snez Naik has won The Sitcom Mission 2012, the international UK-based writing competition sponsored by Hat Trick Productions.

His sitcom, Yo Valet, beat over 400 other entries to claim the £5000 prize. The comedy centres on two put-upon valet parking attendants, Steve and Don, who work at a five star London hotel owned by a wealthy young Prince (pictured).

Naik says: "The idea for Yo Valet came to me during a toilet break at a Sitcom Mission writing workshop. Now it has won, my mind is blown. I want to thank my bladder for being so weak and Declan and Simon for the workshop. Without all three this would never have happened. I want to thank the cast; they were brilliant. Finally, I would like to dedicate the award to every single person who entered The Sitcom Mission this year. To any of you that have ever doubted your ability, three words. Don't give up."

Yo Valet was one of 16 entries showcased live this year, with the finals taking place over the previous week at The New Diorama Theatre in London. The other entries to make it through to the grand final were Medicine to Follow, written by seasoned TV and radio writers Steve Keyworth and Mark Clompus, The Staff by former Empire editor Emma Cochrane, and Keep Off The Grass by newcomer Sarah Christou.

The Sitcom Mission 2012. Judging panel. Image credit: Richard Davenport.The Grand Final was judged by some of Britain's leading comedy commissioners. The panel (pictured) featured Sky's Lucy Lumsden, the BBC's Gregor Sharp, ITV's Myfanwy Moore, Comedy Central's Sarah Farrell and Hat Trick Productions' Paul Schlesinger.

The Best Actor award went to Hemi Yeroham for his portrayal of Prince Khalifa, the hotel owner in Yo Valet, whilst Elicia Daly was named Best Actress for her portrayal as the slightly unhinged Nurse Florence in Medicine to Follow.

Simon Wright and Declan Hill, the producers of the competition, comment: "We're absolutely delighted for Snez and his wonderfully funny script. You have to be brave to write a sitcom about a hen-pecked hotel owner and his put-upon staff, but his characters are original, fun, witty and warm. It was a strong year, and we'd like to congratulate all of the Grand Finalists for setting the bar high. We'd also like to thank the other 400 writers who entered, all of the actors who brought the characters to life, the judges for their time and support, and especially Jimmy Mulville and his brilliant team of Anna Silver, Sarah Cartwright and Paul Cohen at Hat Trick Productions for backing us once more."

The Sitcom Mission competition will run again in 2013, with registration open later this year. For more information on The Sitcom Mission and the finalists visit The Sitcom Mission website

The Sitcom Trials (the show from which The Sitcom Mission sprang in 2009) continues with shows in London on May 24, Bristol June 29th and Manchester July 20th. Details at

Eurovision Sitcom Contest - time to vote

The scripts have been entered in the Eurovision Sitcom Contest, the deadline for entries has passed, and now it is time for you to vote. Yes you. If you're reading this, then we want to have your input in choosing which of these scripts should be performed at the show in London on May 24th 2012.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a special edition of The Sitcom Trials which, if you're unfamiliar with it, is the long-running stage and TV show in which we present brand new situation comedies and the audience vote for their favourite and only see the ending of the winner. Past partcipants in the Sitcom Trials include Miranda Hart, Land Girls writer Roland Moore, Neil Mullarkey & the Comedy Store Players, Perrier Winner Laura Solon and many more. Now we have to select the scripts that will be tested on stage next*

Have we found the new Episodes? The new Extras? The new Ever Decreasing Circles? You decide.

This is how it works. You, dear reader, are invited to go to the Eurovision folder in the Sits Vac files where you will find 18 scripts (it will be necessary to join the SitsVac egroup in order to access the files, this is free and all entrants past and present have already done so). We would like you to read as many of these scripts as you can (you don't need to read all of them) then review (in a Twitter-length review) and vote on whether they should be included in the live show. Vote YES, MAYBE or NO.

Please post these reviews and votes to either of these places:
The Sits Vac Message Board
or The British Comedy Guide Forum (Sitcom Trials thread)

They will then be totted up like so:
A YES is worth 2 points,
a MAYBE is worth 1 points,
and a NO is worth minus 1 point.
So it doesn't matter if you don't manage to read every script, your votes will affect the scripts you have read, and will leave unmarked those that you can't open or can't get round to.

Please, if possible, upload your votes and reviews in one go, rather than posting them script-by-script, and do not just give a list of votes without reviews. We need to see your reviews to a) help the writer benefit from this process and b) prove you actually read the scripts. If you have any questions about the Eurovision Sitcom Contest or The Sitcom Trials you can ask at The Sits Vac Forum, The British Comedy Guide Forum, or Facebook

Deadline for your reviews and votes is Saturday May 12th, after which they will be totalled up and the line-up for the show decided. You can see examples of previous voting (and the discussion that follows) here and here. Happy voting. The scripts in contention are:

A Long Way To AzerBaijan
A Thong For Europe
A Weekend With Wogan
All The Fun Of The Fair
Art For Arts Sake
Band On The Run
Checking Out
Cooper Introduction
Labasci Washington
Make Up Dave
Rogue State
Sing Your Life
The Eurovision Boycott
The Peoples Flag
Think Tank

*NB We are selecting three of the sitcoms that will be performed on the night. Two of the international entries are being written and produced independently of this process, by teams representing European countries. These will be revealed on the night.

PS: The theme of this show is Eurovision so, when making the final selection, I will be paying particular attention to which scripts have addressed the theme. If there is any final adjudication in the case of close voting, that will be up to me, and the theme will be taken into consideration.

Kev F Sutherland
Creator & producer, The Sitcom Trials


Thu May 24 2012
The Camden Head
100 Camden High Street London NW1 0LU
8pm - 10pm £3

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