Over 600 comedy scripts and sketches were submitted for Jesting About 2: Funny Gets Serious, a North East-focused initiative which gives performers, writers and filmmakers the opportunity to pitch to BBC commissioners. From these entries, 31 individuals have been selected to take part.
A partnership between BBC North, BBC Comedy and Northern Film & Media, Jesting About 2 was launched at Newcastle comedy venue The Stand in November.
Jesters from all walks of life and levels of expertise, from budding stand-ups to witty scriptwriters, submitted their funniest ideas for TV and radio opportunities. A mandatory requirement was also that applicants had to demonstrate a strong understanding of the North East of England, its people and culture, and reflect that in their ideas and scripts.
Candidates were selected by a panel of BBC commissioners and include Game Of Thrones and Ideal actor Ben Crompton, Teesside brothers James and Jack Boughen, and Lesley Gair, who recently left a career in retail to concentrate on writing and whose partner John Scott has also been selected. The full list can be seen below.
The successful applicants will attend workshops and receive support from BBC commissioners, executive producers and on-screen talent to develop their ideas into pilots over the next three months.
Last year’s Jesting About resulted in a number of successes for participants, including an animation commissioned for broadcast on BBC Comedy Online, and a sitcom script optioned by Pett Productions, the indie run by Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Lisa Clark.
Peter Salmon, Director of BBC North said: “We want to develop and support the next generation of BBC entertainers and keep comedy at the heart of program making for all audiences, especially across the North. We’ve discovered some new and authentic comedy voices through Jesting About 2 and can’t wait to see their ideas turned into reality.”
BBC Creative Head of Comedy, Simon London said: "We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve had to our ideas and briefs for Jesting About 2. Not only does it confirm the depth of talent we know is out there, but from a practical point of view it means we can target potential future writing talent to help us strengthen BBC Comedy and its output. In short – it’s very exciting and positive"
Agnes Wilkie, Creative Director at Northern Film & Media, said: “Jesting About has once again uncovered a wealth of outstanding North East talent. The program will provide a focused platform for this region’s new and more established talent to boost their comedy credentials with the BBC. We are confident that our combined investment and commitment will produce a fantastic return of new, North East focused commissions across the three strands.”
Jesting About 2 – successful candidates
TV Sitcom – creating a pilot sitcom sketch for BBC One:
Jamie Diffley (Whitley Bay)
Lee Henman (Cleveland)
Alex Reid Milligan (Northumberland)
Robert Rodriquez (Chesterfield, Derbyshire)
Jessica Silcock (Barnsley)
Naomi Smith (Macclesfield, Cheshire)
Radio - creating a half hour radio sketch show for BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees:
Jack Boughen (Teesside)
James Boughen (Teesside)
Alex Collier (Sunderland)
Victoria Cook (Whitley Bay)
John Cooper (County Durham)
Ben Crompton (Newcastle)
Lesley Gair (Newcastle)
Janet Plater (Newcastle)
Andy Fury (Northumberland)
David Williams (Northumberland)
Steve Bugeja (Manchester)
Mike Whalley (Stockport)
TV Comedy Entertainment – creating a pilot for a weekly live comedy and entertainment series for BBC Three:
Will Cooper (Newcastle)
Owen Cooper (Newcastle)
Hal Branson (Newcastle)
Charlie Richmond (Newcastle)
John Scott (Newcastle)
Alex Collier (Sunderland)
Rob Gilroy (Gateshead)
Alex Oates (Whitley Bay)
Guy Emery (Whitley Bay)
Gavin Webster (Tyne and Wear)
Mark Meiklejohn (Edinburgh)
Robert Girvan (Edinburgh)
Peter Donachie (Edinburgh)
Source: BBC Press Office
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