I was producer for the pilot and subsequent six series of the Russell Howard Hour on Sky One.
Alongside weekly topical monologues and clips, the show included VT segments both silly and heart-warming, and some very impressive guests.
Guests have included Ed Sheeran, Matthew McConaughey, John Oliver, Alesha Dixon, Chris O’Dowd, Naomi Klein, Jamie Oliver, Louis Theroux, Greg Davies, Fiona Bruce, Richard Curtis, Stephen Merchant, Jack Black and Elizabeth Banks.
As well as producing from the writing room (or writing zoom as it was during the pandemic), I had responsibility for working up and structuring longer-form comedy pieces on a given topic.
“Unspun has quickly established itself as the official opposition to mainstream political debate with its smart mix of comedy, satire and debate – not only attracting big laughs but some of the biggest names in British politics onto the show” – Tim Glanfield, Radio Times
Unspun is a studio political comedy series, hosted by Matt Forde with guest politicians and comedians. Notably, it had a house band: MP4, made up of MPs past and present from all the major political parties.
The show was driven by Matt’s love of politics, and as such it took a less stereotypically savage approach to the satire than you might expect.
My role was producing from the writer’s room, adding content, pulling together scripts and getting it all ready on a tight turnaround.
During the 2017 election we broadcast several shows a week.
The fourth series was recorded and broadcast the same day, my biggest personal challenge being the edit; 30 minutes to start and finish editing down an interview with a politician so that everyone would be happy: intense.
Political guests included Tony Blair, Vince Cable, Yvette Cooper, Anthony Scaramucci.
Contributing comics included Andy Zaltzman, Aparna Nancherla, Phil Wang, Andrew Maxwell, Baratunde Thurston and many others.
2012 – 2014
Live at the Electric was a BBC 3 Sketch show that ran for three series 2012-2014. It was commissioned to be a late-night showcase for new comedians, and was a mix of stand-up and sketches.
Hosted by Russell Kane, it had the brief to introduce brand-new acts to TV. It had some fantastic talent across the three series; Totally Tom, Joe Wilkinson & Diane Morgan, Wittank, Marcel Lucont, Loretta Maine, Nick Helm, Natasha Demetriou.
The end result fulfilled the brief of providing a platform for newer comics to have their start on TV: a good proportion of the acts that began on Live at the Electric went on to become big names on TV now. It also had the most sumptuous sets ever, designed by the brilliant James Dillon.
Probably one of the only shows in the world to include in the credits both Sir Derek Jacobi and Mr Roger Showbusiness.
From a production point of view, I was involved in a relatively small team so did all sorts, with a particular drive towards script editing for some of the less experienced performers.
The School was a sitcom pilot for E4 that was (in my opinion) really great but despite getting close couldn’t get over the final hurdle.
I was producer and one of the writers along with Naz Osmanoglu, Mark Cooper-Jones and Kieran Boyd (sketch group Wittank).
It was about an out-of-touch private school, breeding the Tory Ministers and hedge-fund managers of tomorrow.
The other writers had all attended private schools, and brought their life experiences to the script along with their own sense of big-joke stupid comedy. They were all superb writers and their various comic instincts complemented each other perfectly.
I was really proud of the end result; director Matt Lipsey was typically superb, and it’s one of my greatest frustrations that we couldn’t get it over the line. The subject matter was rich pickings, there were story arcs ready to go.
It had both great big silly jokes (of which I am terribly fond) and undercurrents of satirical ideas that passed comment on British class inequality but without getting in the way of the fun.
Heigh ho. These things happen…
Russell Howard’s Good News ran for nine series on BBC Three and then BBC Two.
It was a topical studio clip show hosted by Russell, sometimes with guest comedians.
It won a few awards, reached 3 million viewers a week and was regularly the most watched show on iPlayer across all BBC Channels.
This show was where I learned how to turn around topical material quickly and (mostly) efficiently. My title on the show evolved from programme associate, to writer, to producer.