Click this one, make it bigger. Go on, we’ll all wait for you.
What do you notice? Anything odd?
Apart from me being the star.
I’ll give you a clue … no I won’t, I’ll just fucking tell you. I’m bored of this game already.
12 new from £10.652 usedfrom £19.99
Apparently, right now, you can buy a brand new copy of The Wrong Door for £10.65 and then sell it immediately for £19.99! You can make … um … carry the one … hang on, I need some more fingers … nine pounds and thirty-four shiny pence profit from each and every DVD!
Buy ten DVDs and you’ve made ninety-odd quid. Buy a hundred and you’re nine-hundred pounds up on the deal. Buy a million and the mind boggles!
That’s right, buying some toss I wrote (a bit of) will actually make you rich!
What’s more, if you buy a million Wrong Door DVDs and become fabulous wealthy, with my royalties I’ll be able to afford to buy a copy for myself!
Or you could copy some of the more hardcore comedy fans out there and send me a death threat, that was fun. Not quite so much fun as the guy who offered to rape my (then six month old) daughter to ‘teach me a lesson’.
He seemed like a lovely chap.
The Wrong Door! The sketch show The Times called ‘hilarious’ … and then the next day: ‘laboured and directionless’ – both comments aimed squarely at the same sketch … one I wrote.
Fuck it, it’s out on DVD and they’ve even put the characters from my sketches on the front cover.
So here we are at the end of the year, hell at the end of the decade and …
Actually, when does the decade end? Is 2010 the end of this decade or the beginning of the next one? Tricky number, zero. Still, fuck it. If the Romans couldn’t get to grips with it then why the fuck should I? I mean, they built roads and shit while all I’ve ever done is push buttons on a keyboard … and even that I do pretty badly.
Mind you, have you seen the roads in Rome? Shockingly bad. Fuck knows how those people supplied an empire.
But I digress.
Did you have a good Christmas? Did Santa bring you everything you wanted? I asked for World Domination and some French Fancies but the fat git failed on both counts. How was 2009 in general? Mine went almost exactly like this:
Failed to blog about THE A TEAM V DAD’S ARMY and DAISY DOGNUTS. No, I have no idea what that means either.
Talked about the technical difficulties involved in writing a script … although for the life of me I can’t remember which fucking script I was talking about. I may have been making shit up to make myself seem cool.
Shit a solid gold brick.
Explained why this:
Made me into a writer.
Discovered a clone of me from the future used to stalk me in the past.
Got hassled by an all female Squad of pissed up Motown fans. One of whom insisted she was a natural blonde with the landing strip to prove it who went on to kick me in the chest with a spiked heel. I quite enjoyed that day.
Got angry about morons giving James Moran a hard time for writing good telly.
For these people:
Deleted more than I wrote.
Ran out of ways to procrastinate and very nearly had to do some work.
And saw the trailer for the sitcom pilot I co-wrote:
Signed contracts and received feedback for the BIG IDEA. Wait, did I mention I sold the BIG IDEA without trying? No, not to the American Production company, but to a different American Production company. Actually, my friend sold it for me without my permission or knowledge. Suits me, as long as I don’t have to do any work.
Made some cats out of blue icing.
Talked about two adaptations and how they’d missed the fucking point. Since I’m now working on two adaptations I look forward to people throwing that blog back in my face.
The Dutch gave me some money, via the BBC.
So did Sweden, Denmark, Italy, America and Russia.
And, for reasons which escape me, babbled about furniture for far too long.
Is that it? Is that all I did in September? Was it a short month this year?
Went to the Screenwriters’ Festival – fannyed around, didn’t really make the most of it and met a lot of nice people. Like Hayley McKenzie – she’s lovely. Oh, and I compared cock size with Simon Beaufoy. I’m not telling you who won.
Masturbating monkeys … I still don’t really want to talk about that.
Tried to sell my car via my blog. Bizarrely, I actually sold it in absolute darkness, during a storm and a power cut to two Eastern Europeans who paid cash and didn’t want to test drive or even inspect it.
Got all mellow and wibbly over stuff like this:
Wrote an open letter to directors.
Wrote an open letter to writers.
Wrote an open letter to producers.
Hmm … looks like I did more in November than October but still, come on! Have I really been too busy to blog?
Moaned a lot about writing constantly without actually writing any scripts.
Pointed out the target audience for a script is the producer and the director, not the people who pay to go and see a film. That’s the target audience for a film.
Spoke to a wall.
And that was it. That’s the entire fucking year.
I can’t help noticing the beginning of the year involved a lot more blogging than the end of the year. I’m sorry about that (unless you hate my blog, then I’m happy for you) but I have been exceedingly busy. I’m currently working on four feature scripts as well as keeping all the other plates spinning and blogging has become an expensive luxury.
January and February 2010 promise to be absolutely fucking mental and possibly completely impossible – but hopefully once this lot is out of the way, normal blogging service will be resumed.
And by normal service I mean me talking shit in extremely long-winded, ill-thought out and ill-advised posts.
Happy New Year to you all, see you in the next decade!
Or maybe the last year of this decade … depending on how you count it.
George MacDonald Fraser died. I was a bit upset about that.
I set out to write a feature in six days (due to some ridiculously bad time-management skills). I actually managed to write it in three … and it was shit.
I found out I had no idea what blue pages actually are. Or rather, I knew what they were, but not exactly what they looked like and how to do them. I’m still not 100% sure but I’ve come up with my own version and no one’s complained so far.
Whilst on location for ‘K‘ I managed to work out a cheap way of throwing an actor off the roof.
I got fired from a film and inexplicably became obsessed with tin foil as a direct result. Looking back on that, it might have been a teeny tiny nervous breakdown.
I learnt how to write a sex scene which won’t upset actresses, then got called a sexist by Piers for using the word ‘actresses’.
Weirdly, someone asked me to put more swearing into a script. I’ve never been asked for that before or since.
I went to the thing I got invited to – a BBC shindig and chance to meet the producers of the BBC’s New Comedy Unit. Where I stood in the corner for a few hours, got very hot, very angry and completely failed to meet any of the producers of the BBC’s New Comedy Unit.
I realised there are very few female sidekicks.
I picked up even more low budget film work.
Abi Titmuss completely failed to mention me in The Sun and then promised to continue to never mention me in public. I decided not to believe she existed.
The Wrong Door had the highest opening of any show on BBC Three (about four people) which seemed to greatly upset a handful of Internet loonies who went on and on and on about it for fucking ages.
I made the mistake of suggesting the people coming to my blog to call me names because they didn’t find a TV programme funny were a bit mental. Several people took great exception to this and went far out of their way to call me names in an effort to prove how mistaken I was about their lack of sanity and a real life.
Got my first death threat. Actually I got two death threats and one offer to rape my three month old daughter to ‘teach me a lesson’. That was nice. Perfectly sane behaviour that, I thought.
Still working on that fucking treatment.
Had a superb meeting where people offered me lots of money. I didn’t, and still don’t, really believe them.
Got offered another low budget feature film. That’s more like it.
Yet more abuse about The Wrong Door. One guy has taken to posting insults then changing names and agreeing with himself. He doesn’t seem to be able to grasp concepts like IP addresses, I can see it’s all one guy. I assumed this was a guy because I like to think women have better things to do.
An old project threatened to spring back to life … and then didn’t.
Finally finished that fucking treatment.
Oh and a bit more abuse about The Wrong Door.
On a serious note, all that abuse was a bit wearing. You write in the privacy of your own room for years until someone decides they want to make your work. You’re pleased, they’re pleased, the show comes out and generally people either like it or turn it off. Then a small contingent of morons think it’s perfectly acceptable to come and call you names, threaten your family and generally behave like cunts because – horror of horrors – THEY don’t like it. It’s depressing and it’s demotivating. I expected to be slagged off in papers if the critics didn’t like something I’d written. I expected to be slagged off on forums or other people’s blogs – all that’s fair enough; but the sheer persistence of a few individuals who felt the need to come here and spout off about it did actually get me down.
Until Oli sent me a cartoon. Which explained everything and really cheered me up. I decided I would find some way to repay him, somehow.
I completely failed to do some writing and in a gargantuan procrastination session, I redesigned my website.
Hooray! December! This post is finally over and we can all go home!
Assuming any of you are still here.
Met some more writers in the pub: Paul Campbell, Danny Stack, Lara Greenway, Michelle Lipton and Oli … as well as the normal crowd. They were all nice. I told Danny and Michelle the secret which isn’t really a secret – just something I don’t bother telling people. Danny immediately left the pub, Michelle wanted to hug me.
Got angry with ten imaginary people because there were ten of them.
Panicked. Finished the script.
Cut out every other word in the vague feeling it might make it exciting and mysterious. It didn’t.
Told people how to wait. Not sure why, probably avoiding some other work.
Declared my love affair with Apparitions. Which I still haven’t seen the last episode of. I’m a fickle fucker sometimes.
Had some fun. It was fun.
Met James Moran. Told him the secret which isn’t really a secret – he seemed to find it funny.
And there you go. That was 2008 for me. How was it for you?
Commander Bondo of the Clown Secret Service is tasked with thwarting a dastardly Ninja plot to assassinate Captain Goitre, leader of The Train Pirates.
Melanie’s relationship with Philip the Dinosaur reaches breaking point and Xotang the giant robot’s holiday plans are ruined when he forgets his passport.
There’s a vague possibility that some of the Bondo stuff is based on a couple of sketches I wrote. I say vague because it’s equally plausible that someone else submitted a similar idea and it all sprang from that, or possibly several similar ideas arrived at the same time and were merged together.
By the sound of it, the sketches were all handed round for rewrites a few times anyway, so even if my sketches were part of the original inspiration there’s only a very slim chance any of the lines survived to the final version. Maybe some of the words might have made it in? You know, like ‘the’ and ‘of’ and ‘cockface’.
I guess I’ll find out tonight: 10.30pm – BBC Three.
Thursday again and there’s more Wrong Door tonight. This week’s episode:
The Train Pirates strike fear into the hearts of Britain’s commuters. Britain’s most eccentric military boffin, Commander Kevin Cheeks, shows off his latest gadgets; masked vigilante The Raven puts in an appearance; and Melanie introduces Philip The Dinosaur to her friends.
Originally this episode was supposed to be episode one, but someone somewhere decided what was supposed to be episode two was stronger and switched them all around. Unfortunately tonight’s episode has a lot of the initial set-ups for the recurring characters – and although it doesn’t exactly ruin everything, it does kind of mess it up a little bit.
Personally, I think this episode is much stronger – but that might just be because it’s got Brian Blessed dressed as a pirate and shouting a lot. I think the opening sketch sums up the show too and would have been the perfect introduction to what it’s all about.
Still, there you go apparently this sort of thing happens a lot.
I’m kind of bored of mentioning this since I guess anyone who’s going to watch it already knows about it by now; but at the same time I feel like now I’ve started talking about it, I have to carry on or it’ll look like I don’t care any more.
So, tonight, BBC 3 – 10.30 pm: The Wrong Door episode 3 (or episode 4, depending how you count it) – The Smutty Aliens:
Chief Inspector Barnes struggles to balance his budget, while the offices of Baum Technologies find themselves with an unusual pest control problem.
Lisa finds out her boyfriend can make himself invisible, Trampoline Transit Ltd demonstrate an innovative commuting alternative and Susan is abducted by the Smutty Aliens.
Hmm … smutty aliens. I’m guessing that’s not going to help win over anyone who finds the show juvenile.
You’d be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing else going on in my life at the moment except The Wrong Door; but the truth is the other stuff is fairly work-a-day. I’m just fiddling with treatments and bits and bobs of re-writes. I was hoping to have everything out of the way for the weekend – I’ve got a meeting tomorrow which is pretty important and will probably swamp me in more work – but hey-ho, I haven’t quite managed it.
So in lieu of a blog about some of the other stuff, none of which is particularly interesting just yet, here’s a reminder about tonight’s episode of The Wrong Door. This is what it’s vaguely about:
Ed and Lucy buy a cheap self-assembly wardrobe only to discover that it leads to the fantastical-but-rubbish land of Njarnia. Back in the normal parallel universe, we meet unfortunate superhero wannabe Rocketman and the monster who lives in the office stationery cupboard.
Philip the Dinosaur tries his hand at bowling, plus an intriguing new weight loss cure and a watercooler moment you probably won’t want to share.
Ten-thirty, tonight BBC3.
I look forward to the demented telling me how shit I am afterwards.
It’s been a few days since The Wrong Door opened, so what was the reaction?
Well, pretty good really. There’s an article in Broadcast here about the ratings. The basic gist is the show got the highest ever ratings for a new comedy on BBC Three. The pertinent sentences are:
“BBC3’s new comedy sketch show ‘The Wrong Door’ attracted 546,000 (3.5%) at 10.30pm last night, the highest ever audience for the launch of a comedy on the channel.”
and, perhaps more importantly:
“The half hour programme peaked in the final 15 minutes on 564,000 (3.8%). The first episode of the six-part series was just behind the channel’s slot average of 558,000 (4.1%).”
To me, the fact it got high ratings for the first episode reflects the level of advertising beforehand, rather than an indication of how much people liked the show. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to get those kind of ratings; but if the audience comes back this week I’ll be much more impressed.
The fact the ratings went up as the show continued excites me more – I think that means people not only stuck with the show throughout but more people tuned in. Mind you, I have no idea how it all works and it could be we lost all of the original viewers and then inherited a totally new set in the last few minutes because something popular finished on another channel and there was nothing else on.
Who knows? Okay, so half a million viewers is not a significant proportion of the country; but it is when you consider how many people actually know BBC Three exists, can receive it and have the inclination to watch it. I’m sure someone will be along to correct my tenuous grasp of ratings and audience share; but it looks good to me.
The show got some very good reviews. True, there were a couple of bad ones; but the good far outweighed the bad – with the average review giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I only saw two bad reviews as opposed to a dozen or so positive ones so I’ll take that as a generally good sign.
Of particular interest to me was when Mandy took Alice to baby yoga the next day, the yoga teacher started telling her about this great sketch show she’d seen the night before. Being a proud wife, Mandy pointed out I’d written one of the sketches and after the usual blank look (seriously, people don’t seem to realise TV shows are written by someone. There’s always a pause while people try to work out what the hell you’re talking about: “do you write the words or just the story?”) she asked which one I’d written. Mandy told her and apparently there was another pause, followed by a quiet “Yeah, that one was … okay.”
If you were to trawl the Internet for opinions, you’ll find quite a lot of negative comments; but that’s to be expected and mostly comes from frustrated writers who believe they can shit better sketches in their sleep than anything anyone else writes. Strangely, their prodigious talents go unrecognised by the powers that be because, obviously, there’s a massive conspiracy designed to keep them down. Presumably because they shit themselves whilst sleeping.
There’s a simple rule here: sane people change the channel if they don’t like something. Anyone who watches a show to the end and then makes the effort to write a scathing review online has far too much spare time, presumably down to not having enough friends. Let’s be honest, if anyone listened to them in real life they wouldn’t need to express their opinions via the Internet.
Um … obviously, this blog is different and provides a vital service which would severely damage the world should I ever stop. Everyone else though is mental.
A brand of insanity I find particularly amusing is the people who’ve gone to the effort of finding this blog and slagging off The Wrong Door in the comments*. I mean, what were they hoping to achieve? Bearing in mind I only wrote a tiny portion of the show and have nothing to do with commissioning, filming or casting, what response are they looking for? Do they think I’m going to realise the error of my ways and break down in tears?
I was toying with editing some of the negative posts so they’re much more positive, you know, something like:
I realise now I was totally incorrect when I was rude about The Wrong Door. The truth is I love the show and am extremely jealous. Sadly, I was born with a small cock and feel the need to bring others down in a pathetic attempt to make myself feel even slightly superior. I apologise whole heartedly and unreservedly.
PS I love you, please adopt me”
But in the end I decided I quite like the fruit loops raving about the show on my blog. Their constant checking for responses drives up my blog stats and the repeated mentions of The Wrong Door list this blog higher in Google’s search results which only generates more publicity for me. So I say, keep it up, you mental weirdos and God bless you. I get paid the same whether a handful of random loons like it or not. In fact, given these people will probably watch every episode in seething resentment, just so they can bitch about it with authority the next day, I should probably thank them – they’ll drive up the ratings and guarantee a second series.
The bottom line is nothing is universally loved or hated; people like different things and have different senses of humour. I don’t like every sketch in The Wrong Door – but then I don’t like every Monty Python sketch and still love that show. Funny is a subjective term, it’s not a fact or a definitive property. You can’t measure funny on any scale and just because you don’t find something funny doesn’t mean it’s shit – it just means you don’t like it. I didn’t find the Royale Family funny; but that doesn’t make it shit, because I know it was exceptionally well thought of by thousands of people. I may be a raving ego-maniac; but even I know my opinions don’t define the world.
I love the majority of Wrong Door sketches and I’m proud to be part of it. It makes me laugh and that’s good enough. The fact it had good ratings and reviews is just the icing on the cake.
I think the reviews in The Times sum it up for me. On Thursday, the four star review mentioned:
“… the hilarious X FACTOR rip-off, Superhero Tryouts.”
Which is the sketch I wrote.
The next day, the same paper gave another four star review and singled out the same sketch as an example of a ‘miss’, saying it was:
“… laboured and directionless.”
Which just goes to prove you can’t please all of The Times all of the time. I can’t wait to find out what people think of the next episode.