Trans comedy winners announced

£5,000 BBC scheme

The BBC has announced the winners of its £5,000 search to find a mainstream comedy show that ‘promotes a positive portrayal of transgender people’.

Winners Tom Glover and Elliott Kerrigan will now develop their scripts with the help of BBC comedy executives, ahead of a staged reading later this year.

Glover’s script Nobody’s Perfect was about a transgender mother Julia , bringing up a son with Asperger’s syndrome, an attention-seeking daughter and a ‘stepson who is just plain odd.’

He said: ‘Often writing can feel like a self-indulgent activity, but as I wrote this piece, I became increasingly convinced that it could do some real good in challenging prejudices through humour.

‘It would be fair to say that I originally viewed the concept with some suspicion, but as I began to think about how the trans community have been represented, or ignored within the media, I realised that this was a chance to do something ground-breaking and worthwhile.

‘This is only the start of a journey, and I am looking forward to the prospect of exploring a whole new world and meeting a range of interesting, vibrant and strong characters from the trans community to further inspire my work."

Meanwhile, Kerrigan’s script Love is about Leo, a 22-year-old who has just lost his job, and Judy, a woman in her forties who, as she tells Leo on their first date, was 'born with a penis.'

He said: ‘I know how important it is to see your life shown on TV in a positive and progressive way. A TV show like Will And Grace meant and still means a lot to me. I could watch it with any member of my family and not feel awkward or like I wanted to watch it by myself in my room. We would never laugh at Will or Jack. We would laugh with them. That's the kind of show I wanted to write.

‘I normally slave over the ideas, the comedy, the dialogue. But this time it felt like the characters were coming anyway, and I just had to type it up. And, for me, this became a pleasure and an adventure and I fell in love with them.’

Judge Sophie Clarke-Jervoise, who is head of comedy at Tiger Aspect, said: ‘The two we’ve chosen are excellent – in both cases there’s a real truth and warmth to the characters, and we feel they have real potential to be successful BBC comedy series.’

Fellow judge Jon Plowman, a BBC executive producer with credits including The Office and Ab Fab, admitted: ‘I came to the process with the worries that writing about something so out of the norm and so personal might well get in the way of the comedy. I was wrong. Well done to everyone who wrote and especially to the selected writers whose work we’ll try to take further towards television success.’

Published: 31 May 2013

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