As the man who dreamt up the Sitcom Trials all those years ago, then put it down for a while, my biggest thanks have to go to the people responsible for the show still existing, top of the list being Vince Stadon. Vince, as you know, won the Manchester Sitcom Trials in 2011 and asked if he could set up a Bristol team. Thanks to his and his team's continuous run of meetings, shows, fully-staged presentations in Bristol and Bath, script competitions and radio recordings ever since, the Bristol Sitcom Trials has now outlived the Manchester show that spawned it and helped revive the team in London and the competition this year that culminated at the Edinburgh Fringe. And big congratulations to Naomi and Lewis from the Bristol team whose sitcoms rocked that grand final.
Big thanks to the London Sitcom Trials team, especially director/superstars Sarit Chen, Chris Fitchew and Louisa Gummer without whom we could have done none of it. Such a high quality of work, it was an honour to be part of it, and if anyone wants to revive London in 2014, you have my support.
And big thanks, and commiserations, to the Manchester Sitcom Trials which is on hold purely as a result of losing its venue, the excellent Lass O'Gowrie. It was Lisa Connor & Gareth Kavanagh at the Lass who suggested putting on a Trials in 2011, after the show had taken 2010 off. And, two shows in, Vince Stadon's Checkpoint Dave won the night which led to Bristol, as we saw above. Meanwhile the Manchester team, led by Michelle Ashton then Sean Mason, continued with regular shows leading to this year's competition heats. All looked good for the season continuing this autumn when, out of the blue, we all discover the Lass O'Gowrie is being closed and revamped by its brewery. It will be losing its perfect, and award-winning, pub theatre, and even worse, losing its amazing management team who have turned it into the Pub Of The Year and one of the best venues to work in. Tragic, but I know everyone involved will re-emerge somewhere soon and when they do, hopefully the Trials will pop back up with them. In the meantime, so long and thanks for all the great shows.
And finally, my thanks to everyone involved in 2013's Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny competition that involved the London, Bristol and Manchester teams in heats showcasing 32 sitcoms chosen from 100s of entrants and building up to a grand final at the Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe. Congratulations to the winner, Rosie Holt, who has won her own show at next year's Fringe.
All this in the year that marks the 10th anniversary of The Sitcom Trials' first TV series in ITV1. That second series is, I'm sure, just around the corner.
You can enjoy videos of most of the heats, the semis and the grand final of 2013's Sitcom Trials, along with episodes of the TV series and videos dating back to the earliest days of the show, here on Youtube and at sitcomtrials.co.uk, and keep following us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news (you can put Friday 4th April in your diaries as the date of the next Sitcom Trials in Bristol).
And a Happy New Year when it comes.
Kev F Sutherland
Creator & Executive Producer
The Sitcom Trials
If you would like to create the next great British situation comedy, The Sitcom Trials is an opportunity for your sitcom to be seen live.
Details of new shows, and our ongoing competition, are to be found here at sitcomtrials.co.uk and on Twitter and Facebook.
See the Best of The Sitcom Trials videos, here.