Big Talk

Stephen Merchant and his co-creators on combining comedy and thriller in The Outlaws

The eagerly awaited second series of Stephen Merchant’s comedy thriller The Outlaws received its premiere in Bristol in front of a sell-out, home-town audience, ahead of its return to BBC One on 5 June. 

The first episode of a series that follows the lives of seven minor felons completing a Community Payback sentence marked a hugely confident return, delivering big laughs and jeopardy as the characters try to escape the clutches of a violent drug lord. 

Kenton Allen shares his top tips on how to break into scripted entertainment

Kenton Allen, one of the biggest names in British comedy, offered the masterclass in scripted entertainment. The CEO of Big Talk is the producer of countless award-winning shows, including The Royle Family and Friday Night Dinner.

Allen said a producer is “first in and last out on any show”. He continued: “[You are] the mad person that thinks you can get something on the television… You raise the money, pull all the crew together, make the show and deal with the problems when things go wrong …

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.