BBC Three

Writers share the need for drama in good comedy

Back to Life (Credit: BBC)

Comedy, the late, great Tony Hancock would often tell his dinner guests, was simply “frustration, misery, boredom, worry – all the things people suffer from”.

This may go some way to explaining the success of a crop of deceptively simple, single-camera comedy-dramas that have all but replaced our more traditional idea of the sitcom in the television schedules.

Filming starts on Sally Rooney’s Normal People

Sally Rooney (Credit BBC)

Oscar-nominated Lenny Abrahamson (Room, Frank) and Bafta-winner Hettie MacDonald (Howard’s End) are on board to direct the 12-part BBC Three drama, with filming due to take place in Dublin, Sligo and Italy.

The modern love story has been adapted for the screen by Sally Rooney, alongside writers Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe.

Normal People follows the tender but complex relationship of popular and easy-going Connell and lonely and intimidating Marianne.

Mum writer Stefan Golaszewski: Loss of self seems to be an essential component of becoming a mother

Stefan Golaszewski (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

If anyone ever doubted that comedy and tragedy go hand in hand, look no further than the much-garlanded BBC Two sitcom, Mum, starring Lesley Manville as Cathy, a late-­middle-aged mother coming to terms with the death of her husband.

Making a TV audience laugh is among the most difficult skills for any screenwriter to learn, but to make them laugh one minute and almost cry a few moments later is the hallmark of a very special talent.

Industry experts share the secrets to get comedy on TV

Tom Davis, James de Frond, Lara Singer and Andrew Brereton (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

A packed RTS Futures event, “Pitching script to screen”, offered aspiring writers and producers tips on how they should hone and sell their ideas to commissioners.

Leading the panel of seasoned comedy and entertainment practitioners was Tom Davis, the star of the RTS and Bafta award-winning BBC Three sitcom Murder in Successville.

Ticket to timetravel: How Timewasters became a comedy hit

Samson Kayo (Horace), Kadiff Kirwan (Jason), Daniel Lawrence Taylor (Nick) and Adelayo Adedayo (Lauren) in Timewasters (Credit: ITV)

Timewasters has charmed critics and attracted healthy audiences with its mix of jazz, time travel and good jokes. Notably, it also has an all-black leading cast but, according to its creator, Daniel Lawrence Taylor, it is, “first and foremost”, a comedy.

Michelle Visage to be a judge in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK

Michelle Visage (Credit: BBC)

The eight-part series will search the UK for the brightest and best drag queens to discover the UK's next drag superstar.

To get the crown, the queens must first be put through an array of challenges, testing the contestants’ acting, modelling and comedy skills.

A series regular in the US version, Michelle Visage has judged eight series of RuPaul’s Drag Race in the US and has collaborated with RuPaul for over two decades.

“We've been working tirelessly to bring the magic of RuPaul's Drag Race to my favourite city in the world: London!” Said Visage.

Stacey Dooley to host new make-up competition Glow Up

Dom Skinner, Stacey Dooley, Val Garland (Credit: BBC/Wall to Wall)

Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star will be an eight-part series that will see 10 contestants live together and collaborate under the watchful eyes of judges Val Garland, Global Make-Up Director at L’Oreal Paris, and Dominic Skinner, Global Senior Artist for MAC Cosmetics.

“I’m delighted to be involved with Glow Up,” said Dooley. “The make-up artists are so impressive and talented... and Val and Dominic were a scream to work with. Can’t wait to show you all it!”

BBC Three announces a UK version of RuPaul's Drag Race

Ru Paul (Credit: BBC)

The sparkling talent contest, popular in the US, will see ten Brits take part in challenges against each other and battle it out to avoid the weekly elimination of one participant.

Contestants will have their drag queen skills put to the test in the Maxi Challenge, the headline moment of each show, where they may have to perform, model or walk the runway.

“It is a dream come true to extend our royal family to the United Kingdom with our partners at BBC Three,” Ru Paul commented on the new adaptation.