Sunday 18 March 2018

Announcing the First Irish Radio Sitcom Trials

The Sitcom Trials is happy to announce the launch of the First Irish Radio Sitcom Trials.

RTE, and the production company Sideline, are running a competition called The Radio Sitcom Trials, looking for original half-hour radio comedy scripts in an attempt to encourage and develop Irish comedy writing talent. The deadline for entries is March 31st 2018. Enter here. Details and links are below.

Of course, as Sitcom Trials fans will know, it's not the first Radio Sitcom Trials, as in recent years, Vince Stadon and the Bristol Sitcom Trials team have produced shows in association with BCFM Radio, and BBC Radio Bristol and we did a series of shows with Bristol Community Radio as long ago as 2004. And of course the Sitcom Trials had its run on ITV in 2003, which is like radio but with pictures.

The Sitcom Trials Radio logo from the Bristol team's BCFM and BBC Bristol shows

The first BBC Radio productions to come out of Sitcom Trials shows (in our earlier incarnation as Situations Vacant) were the pilot shows Come Together, starring Ben Miller, Kevin Eldon, Arabella Weir and Mel Hudson recorded in the BBC Radio Theatre in 1997, and Meanwhile, starring Ronnie Ancona and Geoffrey McGivern, in 1998. They weren't radio Sitcom Trials, but they're always nice to cast our minds back over.

Ben Miller, Arabella Weir, Mel Hudson & Kevin Eldon in Come Together at the BBC Radio Theatre

Here are the details of RTE and Sidelines' production of The Irish Radio Sitcom Trials which we here at Sitcom Trials central are happy to support.



RTE Radio 1 and Sideline Productions are seeking original half-hour radio comedy scripts in a new drive to develop and encourage Irish writing talent.

SIDELINE Productions, in association with RTE Radio 1, are actively seeking comedy writers that can deliver half-hour radio scripts set in a familiar situation featuring stand out memorable comic characters.

Supported by The Broadcast Authority of Ireland (BAI) and comedy website, The Radio Sitcom Trials is a new initiative staged as part of the radio comedy festival COMEDY SHOWHOUSE. Now in its 3rd year, the 6-day festival takes place at the Project Arts Theatre from Monday, April 30th to Saturday, May 5th 2018 featuring two star-studded shows at 8pm each night.

The pilot for Fiona Looney’s all-female sketch series WAITING proved such a success that it is now being supersized as a 6-part series recorded over 3 nights starring award-winning actresses Deirdre O’Kane & Rose Henderson on Monday, April 30th, Tuesday, May 1st and Wednesday, May 2nd. Each night will feature new half-hour radio shows.

This is followed on Thursday, May 3rd for 3 nights by the much-anticipated return of the multi award-winning series COLM O’REGAN WANTS A WORD – starring the Cork-born author of the successful Irish Mammy books, best seller Bolloxology and a regular performer on stage, radio and TV. Colm is joined by two of Ireland’s best comedy actors Tara Flynn and Paul Tylak. The show has already won awards for Best Irish Radio Comedy in 2016 and 2017 plus the Celtic Media Award in 2017 for Best Radio Comedy Programme broadcast in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Again each of the 3 nights features Colm, Tara & Paul performing in brand new radio programmes with special guests.
To further boost the production of original Irish radio comedy now RTE Radio 1 and Sideline Productions are keen to find the next wave of scripted comedy writing talent.
THE SITCOM TRAILS is a new initiative to spark a new breed of radio comedy writers. We are seeking popular scripts with laugh out loud moments with a small cast of ‘larger than life’ characters that can grab the imagination of an Irish audience. We are not looking for monologues, sketch shows or plays written originally for the stage. Scripts created originally for TV could be modified and re-written for radio. It is important though writers grasp the dramatic beats, pace and structure of the comedy radio half hour format plus recognise the creative opportunities radio production offers to comedy writers. The running time can be between 25 and 30 minutes.
Search tips and articles on writing (radio) comedy at
The strict deadline for accepting scripts is midnight Saturday, March 31st and there is no exception. If the final scripts selected (4 max) are of a required standard they will be performed and read by professional actors in front of a live audience as part of the first ever Sitcom Trails on Saturday, May 5th, 2018 in the Project Arts Theatre Dublin.
The writers of any of the staged radio scripts will receive a one-off award of €250.


Media queries to

The Original Official Sitcom Trials has been running since 1999, on stage in Bristol, London, Edinburgh, nationally and internationally. It ran at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2013 and 2016, and enjoyed an 8 week run on ITV in 2003. The last Sitcom Trials tournament had heats in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, London and Cardiff with its grand final at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh 2016.

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 and on Twitter and Facebook.

See the Best of The Sitcom Trials videos, here.

Saturday 17 March 2018

The Sitcom Mission 2018 launches

The Sitcom Mission, our fellow sitcom competition which spun off from The Sitcom Trials back in 2009, has launched its 2018 programme. Full details are here. 

Declan Hill, Kev F Sutherland and Simon Wright, winning the Fringe Report Award for Best Encourager of Talent for The Sitcom Trials in 2008. Declan and Simon went on to produce The Sitcom Mission 

In 2008 and 2009, Sitcom Trials alumni Declan Hill and Simon Wright produced two seasons of The Sitcom Trials, at The Hub in South London, the Leicester Square Theatre, and the Soho Theatre. Both had been regular contributors to the Trials, with Declan appearing in the 2005 touring show and Simon appearing in the 2003 TV series. In 2009 they developed their own show, not using the Sitcom Trials format, with a different emphasis on script development and the very successful Sitcom Mission was born.

This year's Sitcom Mission submissions dates are as follows.
Launch 🚀 - April 1st
Gold entry closes - April 29th
Silver entry closes - June 16th
Closing date - June 30th
The format will be the same as previous years so check out the website for entry info and GOOD LUCK 😉
The Sitcom Mission writes:
With an emphasis firmly on script development, The Sitcom Mission is an international sitcom writing competition, 'The X Factor for sitcoms'. It showcases 15-minute sitcom scripts in front of the British TV and radio comedy industry.
The Grand Finals have been judged by a who's who of British comedy commissioning, including Shane Allen (Channel 4/Head of BBC Comedy); Jane Berthoud (BBC Radio); Sarah Farrell (Comedy Central); Lucy Lumsden and Ben Boyer (Sky); Saskia Schuster (ITV); Myfanwy Moore (ITV); Gregor SharpTilusha Ghelani and Chris Sussman (BBC TV); Paul Schlesinger(Hat Trick); and Iain Coyle and Tanya Qureshi (UKTV Commissioning).
One of the runners-up in 2011, In The Meantime, by Ciaran Murtagh and Andrew Jones, was optioned by Hat Trick Productions. Andrew says, "This is a great opportunity to have your work read and assessed by lots of very useful people!" Previous winners Thunderer by Bryn MillsWhat Next? by Emma Edwards and Abigail Dooley, and Yo Valet by Snez Naik were also optioned by Hat Trick.
The Sitcom Mission has the central aim of getting a situation comedy commissioned either on TV, radio or online. We've evolved the competition and the theme now is script development. We're looking for writers who can take notes, are tenacious, thrive on feedback, love re-writing and adore the process just as much as the end result.
Each year we work with up to four writers (or writing partnerships/groups) in order to develop their sitcoms and take them to an industry showcase in London. We've got the ear of the independent production companies, and the four winners will get feedback from development officers at companies such as AvalonBwarkSo TelevisionChannel XLeft Bank and others that are coming on board all the time.

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 and on Twitter and Facebook.

See the Best of The Sitcom Trials videos, here.
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