That Band is a sitcom pilot I co-wrote with Lee Otway. Starring Bruce Jones, Claire King, Peter Amory, Lee Otway, Scott Wright, William Snape, Luke Titensor and Luke Bailey, the series charts the fall and fall of Boyband-Competition winners ‘Overdrive’ and their morally dubious manager.
Basically, it’s a bunch of singing morons who get shafted by the media, their manager, their record label and each other. Sometimes literally.
Here’s the trailer, if it piques your interest:
First broadcast on BBC 3 in 2008, BAFTA and Rose d’Or nominated ‘The Wrong Door’ was a sketch show which tried to see if it could do something funny with CGI. The results were mixed: some people liked it, some people turned it off, other people were mortally offended and morally outraged enough to send me two death threats and an offer to “rape my daughter to teach me a lesson” … she was about four months old at the time.
There are some lovely people in the world.
The best thing about The Wrong Door is the process behind it: someone, somewhere looked at CGI effects and asked “What can I do with this?” Gave a bit of cash to someone and told them to wander off and make a TV show.
This is one of the great things about the BBC – there’s just one loon in a room somewhere spouting random thoughts about what he or she might want to see on TV.
Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but essentially shows are commissioned on a whim and dropped on the back of the same whim – it’s not a perfect system and sometimes travesties are committed … but occasionally great shows emerge which would never see the light of day anywhere else in the world.
Is The Wrong Door one of those shows? Well, you can decide for yourself by buying the DVD on Amazon here.
My contribution was a series of sketches about Superheroes – a kind of X-Factor for Superheroes, if you will, starring Pippa Heywood, Neil Fox and Alex McQueen among others. This is about a third of one sketch:
Oh, and I also did some of the bits about clowns and ninjas. It’s hard to identify exactly what since all the sketches were handed round to be rewritten.
I got involved because Chris Taylor, the director of LVJ, is also a VFX wizard and was working on the pilot. He recommended me and I was asked to submit a handful of sketches. I did, the superheroes one was picked and they asked me to write a lot more. I think I wrote about thirty in the end – twelve(ish) were filmed.
Shoot the Writers!
The actual judging of the sketches was done by phone in votes, meaning the winner was the person with the most friends and the biggest phone bill. As evidenced by a Doctor, Doctor joke winning.
In principle, it sounds great – a sketch show written by the best new talent in the UK with only the very best material going on to be performed on a major channel. In practice, sketch writing is really, really hard and most of the entries were decidedly rubbish. Mine included.
Despite the cheap and cheerful, largely unfunny nature of the show, I still have a little soft spot for it. At the end of the day, they did the best they could with frequently dire material, tried to encourage new writers and gave a mainstream TV credit to people who wouldn’t otherwise have got one. Plus, it was produced by Colin Bennett … Mr Bennett of Take Hart fame! He rang me up! That’s one more box ticked.
This was one of my sketches, in case you fancy a bit of masochism: