Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

The Rack Pack | BBC iPlayer

11 January, 2016

Update: Luddites can see The Rack Pack on terrestrial TV during the World Snooker Championships c2130, 30 April at 10pm, 16 July, BBC2.

The first drama feature film for iPlayer is out on Sunday [ trailer | playlist ]. It’s about Alex Higgins and these men:

Detailing the complex relationship between Steve Davis and Alex Higgins, and the part played in it by Hearn, the sport’s ringmaster, the film is by turns hilarious and tear-jerking. Its re-creation of an era of quite magnificent sleaze is so precise you can almost feel your shoes sticking to the snooker hall carpets as you watch — Jim White, Telegraph

Delightful… What this is not is a cartoonish romp through snooker’s glory days. For the most part it is very moving. But despite all this, Shaun Pye, Mark Chappell and Alan Connor’s film is still a wonderful nostalgia fest for all us 1980s kids, hearing names you haven’t heard uttered for 30 years — Ben Dowell, Radio Times

Shifts beautifully between laugh-out-loud moments and characters pressing the self-destruct button — Alyson Rudd, Front Row, Radio 4

For 90 minutes of pure nostalgia, this takes some beatingHector Nunns, Times

…hilariously recounts the tension between the pair.
Hearn has seen the film and says it is ‘absolutely fantastic‘. He goes on: ‘It captures exactly the spirit of that time, the conflict between Davis and Higgins and the birth of modern-day commercial snooker. I had to rub my eyes sometimes; it was as though I was watching the real thing. It’s sensational.
‘The film is brutally honest.’ — Tom Parry, Boudicca Fox-Leonard, Mirror

Snooker is famed as the perfect TV sport, but it never looks as good as thisAndrew Collins, Guardian

Snooker fans will have tuned in to the final of this year’s Masters on BBC Two, but over on iPlayer a more thrilling portrayal of the sport was playing out — Rachel Ward, Telegraph

…the only puzzle about The Rack Pack is why the corporation [is] uncertain how to categorise what is simply superb dramaMartin Hoyle, Financial Times

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  • A film by Brian Welsh
  • Luke Treadaway, Will Merrick, Kevin Bishop, Nichola Burley, James Bailey
  • Created and written by Shaun Pye, Mark Chappell, Alan Connor
  • Producer Barney Reisz
  • Executive Producer Peter Holmes
  • Executive Producers Shane Allen, Victoria Jaye, Gregor Sharp

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Charlie Brooker’s 2015 Wipe | BBC2

29 December, 2015

I am a proud member of Team 2015 Wipe, which is broadcast tomorrow.

2015wipe

On Stage: Live From Television Centre | BBC4

14 November, 2015

BBC Television Centre

Tomorrow night, Live From Television Centre, a four-play theatrical collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre, is on BBC4.

I am proud to have made a contribution to the last part, Jess Thom‘s Broadcast from Biscuit Land, which also features Jess Mabel Jones and, fleetingly, me.

Broadcast from Biscuitland

Charlie Brooker’s Election Wipe | BBC2

30 April, 2015

I am a proud member of Team Election Wipe, the fruits of whose labours will be broadcast shortly before the polls open.

Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe | BBC2

22 December, 2014

I am a proud member of Team 2014 Wipe, the fruit of whose toil will be on BBC Two on 30 December:

Update 29 Jan 2015: The new series of Weekly Wipe begins tonight:

Charlie Brooker’s 2013 Wipe for BBC Two

28 December, 2013

I am a proud member of Team 2013 Wipe, the fruit of whose toil will be on BBC Two tonight:

Update 6 Jan: And the second series of Weekly Wipe begins on Thu 9 Jan on BBC Two.

Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe for BBC Two

28 January, 2013

I am a proud member of Team Weekly Wipe, which starts on BBC Two on Thursday evening at 22h00.

Update 01-02-2013: Here’s the programme, while it lasts:

Charlie Brooker’s 2012 Wipe for BBC Two

1 January, 2013

I am a proud member of Team 2012 Wipe, the fruit of whose toil will be on BBC Two tonight:

Update 02-01-2013: Here’s the programme, while it lasts:

A Young Doctor’s Notebook: How We Adapted Mikhail Bulgakov

5 December, 2012

Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm in A Young Doctor's Notebook

A piece for the Guardian about A Young Doctor’s Notebook: how we adapted the short stories for the screen and why Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm are playing the same nameless doctor:

Our focus was the emotional core of the hospital tales: the hardening of the junior medic. In Bulgakov’s book, in interior monologue, the young doctor wonders how a more experienced practitioner might react, wishing he had the composure of his future self. But as the story Morphine warns us, that older self may not be wiser; he might, in fact, be a junkie. We wanted to incorporate that story: on screen, the older doctor (Hamm) is right there for the younger (Radcliffe) to talk to; but he turns out to be a damaged man: nostalgic, regretful, not above the occasional pratfall.

A Young Doctor's Notebook - as seen on TV

An extra treat in the past week has been seeing Hugh Aplin’s and Michael Glenny’s translations now sporting AS SEEN ON TV labels

Mark Chappell writing A Young Doctor's Notebook

Mark Chappell in the office where we wrote AYDN

A Young Doctor's Notebook design department

In the design department

Shaun Pye as Yegorych

Shaun Pye relaxing on set

Models for the set of A Young Doctor's Notebook

Models for the hospital set

Alan Connor and Daniel Radcliffe

‘The cultured miller’ asks YD for a diagnosis

A Young Doctor's Notebook scripts

Oxford Textbook of Medicine...

A Young Doctor's Notebook

A Young Doctor’s Notebook for Sky Arts

19 May, 2012


I am working on an adaptation of Mikhaíl Bulgakov’s Записки юного врача for Big Talk and Point West Picures, as A Young Doctor’s Notebook. It is part of Playhouse Presents….

The writers are Mark Chappell, me and Shaun Pye and the medium is comedy-drama. It’s set in 1917; while some press has inferred that the background is the first world war or the Russian revolution, the setting is in fact snow. Lots of snow.

More details in the Guardian

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm [will] play the same doctor at different stages of his life in the four-part series, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, by Russian writer and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov.

Hamm will play the older man, who has a series of ‘bleakly comic’ exchanges with his younger self, played by Radcliffe.

…and I am sad that Variety’s piece includes no puns or jargon.

10 O’Clock Live for Channel 4

19 February, 2012

I am back at 10 O’Clock Live. When it isn’t live, you can again watch clips, like this one people like [NB: the final “…unless you count all those times they had a go at witches” is unforgivably omitted and archivists should note that what sounds like “Tory boys” is in fact “toy boys”]:

Screenwipe Review of the Year 2011 for BBC Four

29 December, 2011

I am a proud member of Team Screenwipe 2011, the fruit of whose toil will soon be on BBC Four:

Sue Perkins’ Dilemma on BBC Radio 4

20 November, 2011

I wrote for this Radio 4 programme, which was invented by @captainward and which you must listen to:

Murdoch ‘Pie’ Attack: I Was There

20 July, 2011

'Jonnie Marbles' getting handcuffed

Above is an image of “Jonnie Marbles” getting handcuffed outside the Wilson Room in Parliament. Below are images of the rest of us in the room being ejected. Here’s why everyone there found the stunt infuriating:

  1. The queues had started over seven hours before the committee began. It was like the Royal Wedding, but – genuinely – with normal people. Oldies, supermarket employees, families – normal. And while it was a festive mood, it was also tense: the official line as to how many people would get into the room kept changing, and some people were certainly facing a wasted day. Questions popped about. Was space being cleared for the Dowler family? Had the tiny Wilson Room been chosen so as not to look like a show trial? Was Jemima Khan trying to hop in? At one point, we were told that the Doorkeepers were considering letting us sit on each other’s laps if we so fancied. Westminster reporters were heckling sketchwriters about their slim chance of making it in. So when we later found out that the front of the queue had been a gang with a bag full of shaving foam, “comedy” wasn’t the first word that sprang to mind. Nor was “activism”. “Shabby oaf” and “stupid tit” were some of the descriptions I did hear.
  2. The dynamic in the room was entrancing – until it was cut off. Murdoch Jnr’s longer spiels were worthy of your favourite guest on Just A Minute – circumscribed vocabulary expressed with eerie diction, fending off attempts at interruption. “I’m happy to answer that,” indeed. As for Murdoch Snr, each time he rhythmically rapped his fin on the desk, the Wilson Room started by going instantly silent and then seemed to get more so. It wasn’t possible to tell whether this was deference on the part of the MPs, or anticipation of a juicy detail – but it was spell-binding. Knowing that the Murdochs, as non-subjects, were not compelled to attend meant that the ultimate authority never seemed to settle, though Headmaster Whittingdale had the lion’s share. Some of the questions felt a little random, but might have been leading somewhere that’ll become apparent in the months to come; we simply couldn’t tell. The experience was like those Richard Norton-Taylor inquest-recreation-play things, except real. Except – again – sometimes it didn’t seem real. There was Rupert Murdoch! In a room! Boom! Gone! For one afternoon, a functional room filled largely with shirted men was the greatest show on Earth. I swear I never once heard anyone whisper “You know what they should send in? Some clowns.”
  3. Which brings us to another shared source of exasperation. Moguls don’t tend to hang out in public space. This was like seeing Thor in a Job Centre. You don’t have to be fanciful or grandiose to feel proud that This Is How We (Eventually) Do Things – after all the tales of deceit and connivance, here was an open, public event, open to the public, where the public would show it was decent and fair. The public wasn’t supposed to be baffling, threatening or in any sense dickish. People were surprised that they were allowed to nip to the loo, drink fizzy water and chew gum. Hey – The Authorities don’t think we need to be treated like infants! Hmm.

Then, at just after ten to five, it was all over. An amazing, inspiring event ceased to exist as a piece of public property. I’d even missed the affray itself, because I was incredibly preoccupied with another bag-holder behind me, who had also stood up and seemed to be working his way round from the other side. Next we shuffled around as per the coppers’ yelled instructions, before eventually and sullenly trudging down the corridor to join Jemima Khan in the Boothroyd Room, cursing Jonnie Marbles. The committee was on the screens there, but what’s the point of watching something on TV if you have to remain decently dressed and you can’t even nip off to get a sandwich during another of Murdoch Jnr’s sixty-second dashes?

Finally, the speculation started again, including the inventive theory that News Corp had put the jackass up to it. “Because,” a punter noted, “that was the best thing to happen to Rupert Murdoch all day.”

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10 O’Clock Live

25 February, 2011

I’ve been working as a writer and producer on Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live. When it isn’t live, you can watch clips, like this: