First the the Last

BBC sitcom writing winner announced

First-time screenwriter James Donohue has been announced as the winner of BBC Three’s sitcom writing competition The Last Laugh.

The 27-year-old beat almost 5,000 aspiring writers to the prize, and will now see his words turned into a sitcom pilot.

He completed the last ten minutes of a half-hour script begun by Peep Show's Bain & Armstrong. The result, The Old Guys, will be shown later this year.

Donohue, who lives in London, has previously written for websites and yearbooks but this is the first time anything he has written will be performed.

He said: ‘It is amazing to have won.’

Bain and Armstrong praised James Donohue's ending to their script for its ‘excellent dialogue’ and for ‘capturing the characters so well’.

Entrants could choose to finish one of eight incomplete scripts from established comedy writers, and the best were highlighted in a BBC Three series hosted by Dara O'Briain.  

The best final scenes of each of the other scripts were, according to the judges:

  • The Last Quango in Harris by Marks & Gran, completed by Bede Blake, a 30-year-old graphic artist from London
  • Love for Sale, a sitcom set in a gay brothel, by Gimme Gimme Gimme's Jonathan Harvey, finished by 29-year-old Mark O'Connell from Farncombe in Surrey
  • Annie's People by Rab C Nesbitt creator Ian Pattison and ended by 27-year-old Robin Bailes, a temp worker from Cambridge
  • Mike Davis PI: a down at heel gumshoe, by My Family's Brown & Hendrie and completed by Tudur Owen, a 38-year-old actor from Anglesey
  • Some Day I'll Find Me  by Carla Lane and Mary Marland, 59, from Grimsby
  • Being Dad by Desmonds' Trix Worrell and finished by freelance director Jeremy Engler, 30
  • Good Morning Miss Milton, a teaching comedy by Vicar of Dibley co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer completed by 37-year-old Trudy Morrisonf rom Swinton in Berwickshire

All eight final scripts are available to read on the website


Published: 20 Dec 2005

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