Getting into comedy college

BBC selects promising writers

The BBC has announced the up-and-coming writers who will take part in its new College of Comedy training scheme.

More than 1,300 hopefuls applied to join the year-long programme, which offers job attachments to sitcoms and sketch shows as well as a series of masterclasses in comedy writing.

The sucessful applicants will also be given a mentor for original work, which will be showcased when the scheme ends in March 2009.

The candidates selected are:

  • Trippplicate, a three-woman sketch team (Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Katie Lyons and non-performer Verity Rose Woolnough, all pictured) who have had several successful Edinburgh shows and are developing a new BBC Three project.

  • John Warburton, a tabloid journalist turned stand-up. He is lead writer on a new sketch project being developed by Baby Cow in Manchester, has contributed to the Comedy North show Scallywagga, and is developing a sitcom pilot with Comedy North.

  • Leah Chillery, a playwright who is developing a sitcom for BBC Three called Ebony's Yard.

  • Twins Rob and Neil Gibbons who have projects in development with Baby Cow, Hat Trick and ITV Productions. They are currently writing for Steve Coogan's forthcoming stage show.

  • Actress Catherine Shepherd, who wrote and performed on the Peter Serafinowicz Show and Dog Face.

  • Andrew Viner has worked with Aardman Animation and has written extensively for children's television, notably on Bear Behaving Badly for CBBC, and Skatoony for the Cartoon Network.

The scheme is run by Micheál Jacob, executive producer of My Family, 2 Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps and The Smoking Room.

He said: ‘The quality of entries was very high, and we're delighted with the writers who made it through the selection process.

‘I hope the college can help them become regulars in the first team of comedy.’

Among the established writers endorsing the scheme are Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, Bill Dare, Jeremy Dyson, Andy Hamilton, Armando Iannucci, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, Paul Mayhew-Archer, David Mitchell and Robert Webb, Susan Nickson, Simon Nye and Stephen Merchant.

Published: 22 May 2008

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