Not meeting the producers

Right, so last night

Imagine a room about half the size of a tube carriage only without the seats and less windows.

Imagine filling it with around 150 people who all seem to know at least two or three other people in the room, whilst you yourself know absolutely no one.

Now imagine maybe half a dozen of these people are the BBC producers. Only you don’t know who they are or what they look like.

Let’s complicate this further by imagining you’re the type of person who a) hates being in people’s way and b) doesn’t like to disturb people when they’re busy.

Oh and the room is hot, sweaty and slightly too noisy for you to fully understand what the people around you are saying.

So some of these things are my fault – I’m not the most gregarious of chaps. I like talking to people on a one to one basis but splitting up a group of people who are merrily chatting away just to introduce myself is a bit beyond my social abilities. These people don’t know who I am and most of them won’t care. A couple might possibly have worked on The Wrong Door – but I don’t know which ones and have no way of finding out. And even if I could work it out, I know nothing about the show except the sketches I wrote … and even then I don’t know which ones have made it into the show.

Add to that my dodgy hearing, which I permanently fucked by going to six clubs a week for the best part of 1996, and you might get an idea of how awkward I was feeling.

So I stood in the corner.

I made a valiant effort to edge nearer to a group in the vain hope of maybe joining in their obviously riveting conversation only to overhear something which sounded like:

“Yah, I’m like a writer/performer, yah? I like to experiment with the urban passivity of cultural icons in the context of light sensitive interconnectivity.”

Which is the kind of sentence which makes me want to punch people.

Luckily these three guys came and stood right in front of me. Three guys who thought being loud was a substitute for being funny and proceeded to shout at each other, effectively drowning out a lot of the nearby pretension.

For about an hour and a half.

I shall refer to them from now on as ‘the pricks’.

This is ridiculous, I thought. I need to go and talk to someone.

But who?

Well, there’s a guy over there who might be the guy who’s running the College of Comedy thing. You know, the guy whose name I can’t remember?

Then again, maybe it’s not him since I can’t actually remember what he looks like.

He’s surrounded by people who are talking at him, he looks stressed and harrassed … but that might just be the heat haze which hovers over the room.

Oh, and now he seems to have done a runner.

Okay, so I have met Jack Cheshire – the producer of The Wrong Door – he might be here somewhere.


Except, I only met him once; detailed here if anyone wants to refresh their memory. In a nutshell, I asked if I could steal one of his TVs, stared out of the window a lot and may or may not have fallen asleep.

All of which was six months ago – I can only vaguely remember what he looks like and from here there are three people who could potentially be him.

Right, I’ve been standing here in everyone’s way, listening to the pricks shout at each other for far too long. I’m hot, I’m slightly ashamed of myself and I’m going home.

Except now someone’s talking to me – she’s someone from the BBC but I’ve managed to miss her name and her job title. When I mention my name it rings a slight bell, but she doesn’t really know who I am. When I mention which sketches I wrote for The Wrong Door she gets very excited and animated and seems generally a lovely person. She’s very enthusiastic about this particular series of sketches and gives me a few details about the cast and how the shooting went before disappearing back into the crowd.

Then Jack Cheshire gets up and makes a speech and it turns out not only is he was one of my three possible candidates, but he also seems to be in charge of this New Comedy Unit. (Which, incidentally, I still don’t know if it’s the New-Comedy Unit or the New Comedy-Unit.)

Jack’s speech includes details of what the unit are looking for and maybe even how to go about pitching stuff to them.

At least I think that’s what it’s about.

Luckily, the pricks talked loudly and continuously through it and I didn’t hear a word.

Then they showed some clips from some shows (they being the BBC, not the pricks) – one of which might possibly have been The Wrong Door; but there were approximately 149 people between me and the screen.

Including the pricks … who took the opportunity to call Jack names.

Nice guys, really.

By this point I’d had enough and decided to leave. On the way out I realised there had been some free food, but it had all been eaten. I cornered Jack briefly just to say hello.

Said hello and realised I really didn’t have anything useful to say.

Stood there for a bit longer until he looked like he really wanted to get away.

And then I left.

To go and stand on the tube for a bit … which was a lovely, cool, refreshing and spacious change.

I’m sure people found it a useful and informative evening; but for me, it was a complete waste of time. I know I should have made more effort to speak to people, but since the nearest ones were pricks or people who use words like ‘interconnectivity’ – then I think I was fully justified in not bothering.

It might have been helpful if there had been some kind of handout which described, or possibly even had a photo of the producers for the benefit of people like me who don’t get out much … but there wasn’t.

Erm, so … yeah, that’s it.

I went, I stood in a corner, I left.

Categories: BBC, Sad Bastard | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Not meeting the producers

  1. PS The College of Comedy guy was the College of Comedy guy – Michael Jacob … but I didn’t find that out until I got home and thought about looking it up on the net.

  2. Sir, you really have to stop with these I’m-so-cool blog-posts.

    It’s just showing off in front of your friends.

  3. Right you are, I’ll tone it down a bit from now on.


  4. Tim C

    What did these three pricks look like? I was there last night, and think I may also have been standing near them, and so by extension your good self. Then again, there was a healthy scattering of loud-voiced pricks throughout. Cripes, I may even have been one myself.

  5. Gordon Robertson

    Sounds like an evening from the very bowels of hell. Thank goodness my own positive chi prevents me from being such a pretentious prick.

    Just an alliterative one.

  6. Tim – what did they look like? Dunno, hard to say. They were different heights, some of them had hair and at least two of them had a face.

    Beyond that it’s hard to say.

    I was right in the corner by the bar, furthest from the door.

    How was the night for you? Useful? Fun? Sweaty?

    Gordon – I wouldn’t say it was a horrible night as much as I just didn’t make the most of it. And I wouldn’t want to slag everyone off since I barely spoke to anyone.

    If life is what you make it, then I made a complete arse out of that bit.

  7. You should have fallen on the age old backup. Fake a heart attack (or other serious ailment). You’d get to leave, everyone would remember you, and the conversations next time have a obvious starting point…

  8. Stu Beale

    This time it’ll submit, dammit!

    I was there too. I didn’t think it was too bad, but I can fully understand why someone would. For the record, I was hopefully not one of the pricks. As far as I know I said nothing bad about Jack, but I was chatting in the corner loudly with other people because the place was so loud you could only be louder to get yourself heard.

    Bit daunting, but hey, free drink and food. Hurrah! (OK, that is a prickish thing to say. Must take good long hard look in the mirror)

    God knows how I got an invite. Someone at the Beeb must secretly love me.

  9. Stu Beale

    “Someone at the Beeb must secretly love me.”

    OK, now THAT is a prickish thing to say!

  10. Stu Beale

    And when I say ‘as far as I know I said nothing bad about Jack’ I of course mean ‘I said nothing back about Jack and I damn well know it’ because a) I’m not that cruel and b) Let’s not pretend BBC comedy producers don’t have the power to have us taken out within the blink of an eye (they really can) and let’s not pretend that they don’t scower the Internet for their names and assume innocent (although poorly written) comments such as ‘as far as I know I said nothing bad about Jack’ are indictments of their general hygiene, accent and mothers.

    Everyone, these 3 posts should tell you why you should never post anything on the net past midnight. Nope, it’s staying up there, FOREVER.

    Time… for… sleep.

  11. The place was loud, this is true – but these guys were doing that special ‘look at me’ kind of loudness. Although it’s perfectly possible they were decent guys and I was just hot and annoyed.

    You could also argue that the room was almost entirely made up of corners since there wasn’t a lot of space in between to keep them apart. It was kind of hard not to stand in a corner.

    Although my corner was more mental than anything else.

  12. Stu Beale

    Incidentally, very much liked your ‘How not to hold a meeting’ article as I have my own list of faux pases (er, yeah, however you spell that) which I’m amazed I made on meeting a top comedy producer. Actually (brag alert) I’m meant to be meeting one tomorrow (although I don’t know where- that might be a problem) so will have even more to add to the list on Tuesday. See how it goes.

  13. Good luck with your meeting, Stu – hope it works out for you.

  14. willie garvin

    Hello, big fan of this blog. I also was there – as ‘a girl’ not only did I have the crippling self consciousness of the non-mingler, but I seemed to be hit on by a variety of ‘writer/performers’. Ick. Hot rooms are awesome when you’re a glasses wearer – you spend the whole time either polishing your specs and squinting coquettishly across the blurry room, or fogged up like a one-person schviz. Given the number of speccy 4 eyes present that night, the humidity was crippling (or do I mean humilty, aaaah).

  15. Oh dear. Did they lead with:

    “Hi, I’m a writer performer … “?

    Or jump straight to talking about your tits?

    I too suffered the blurry thing. I don’t wear glasses, but I really need to.

  16. willie garvin

    No mention of tits, these are ‘creatives’ ie they go in for ‘gently offensive’ to get your attention. “Did you get those glasses in a bet, only joking, here you look confused, grab hold of THIS.” (NB this never works)

  17. Nice.

    One of my favourite things about being married is (hopefully) never, ever having to try to chat anyone up ever again.

    By the way, is that you with the cat on the New Comedy Facebook thing?

  18. Stu Beale

    Must we all join this facebook thing? I pledged to never join Facebook.

    Damn, does ‘gently offensive’ not work nowadays? God I’ll have to rely on my personality or something.

  19. Facebook is inevitable – you have no choice.

    Your name came up in conversation the other night, the conclusion was you were a dashed nice chap. So work that personality, Stu. Work it.

  20. Stu Beale

    Ahh, that’s sweet.

    Now then, this new BBC3 female sketch show thing we’ve been sent (well I hope we’ve all been sent it- can think of no reason why we didn’t all get it). To work!

  21. willie garvin

    cat? cat? Oh Dog. A french bulldog called Margot, to be exact. Wow, how did you know that was me?

    (Oh my email address. Duh.)

    I’ve done three sketches for the ‘female’ sketch thing, two mind-blowingly mainstream and one a bit more me-ish, which will probably be rejected for being too butch (my best BBC producer note asked if I was using a pseudonym because I “write like a man”. *flexes cock*)

  22. It’s a dog? In my defence it’s a very small photo.

    I sent three sketches the other day, have to just wait and see now.

  23. Pingback: The Wrong Door screening « The Jobbing Scriptwriter

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