It sounds like a dream come true: An unknown comedian starts up an online conversation with a BBC comedy producer – and just a few months later his sitcom hits the small screen.
And when Scottish comic Stephen Higgins told the story to his local newspaper last week, he gushed proudly: ‘I am really proud of it and happy others will get to see what I worked so hard on. All I really want to do is make people laugh and this is just an amazing way of doing that.’
But there is just one small fly in the ointment: the BBC denies all knowledge of any such deal.
Higgins, 23, told the Bellshill Speaker that his show Skoolies, based three lads who live in the same tower block and attended the same school, was due to air next July.
And he said he had landed a job as a comedy writer, beginning in January.
He told the paper: ‘It all came about with me on Twitter just talking to the BBC Comedy department. My script came up and comedy producer Jon Aird asked me if he could read it and I sent him it in an email.
‘He got back to me two days later telling me that he thought it was great and asked me to come in for a chat about it.
‘When I got there they told me they wanted to buy it and I accepted. They also gave me a job as a comedy writer.’
He later told Chortle the contract, signed after meeting Aird twice in Glasgow, was for three years, and would also involve him working on other comedy shows.
When we contacted Aird – who is actually based in London and a producer of online content, rather than broadcast – he referred up to the BBC press office.
And they told us: ‘There is absolutely no truth in it. Jon Aird has never met him, has never been sent (or read) a script, we have not commissioned him, we have not employed him.’
Higgins, from Motherwell, said he had paperwork to show what the BBC had agreed with him. We asked for copies on Friday, but he has not replied to any emails since.
The comic also said auditions for the sitcom would take place in the unusual location of Glasgow’s SECC arena in February – just across the Clyde from the BBC’s well-equipped Pacific Quay Scottish headquarters.A spokesman for thee venue said: 'We don't have anything scheduled for this time. X Factor (the live show) is apparently on that weekend but no auditioning.'
Higgins today changed his profile on Twitter. It used to read 'Stand-up comedian, writer & actor in upcoming comedy series Skoolies' – but is now blank.