Saturday, 1 May 2010

What the Hell does He know?

Some readers of this blog may be wondering what on earth qualifies me to talk and write about sitcom. For a sample of my work, BBC7 are repeating Series 2 of Think the Unthinkable, a sitcom I wrote a few years ago about management consultants going into companies and wrecking them.

I was sad and a little astonished when BBC Radio 4 decided to cancel the show after four series in late 2005, since Marcus Brigstocke and David Mitchell seemed to be in the ascendancy, had never had a bad review and won a Silver Sony Award. I was very much looking forward to writing a fifth series (and still would like to!). But the writer must accept his lot and be grateful he doesn't have to lift heavy boxes for a living. It was the cancellation of Think the Unthinkable that led to my coming up with Hut 33, which has run for three series so far.

Anyway, do have a listen to Think the Unthinkable here. You buy Series 1 on Amazon too here.


  1. Hi James
    I've been listening to the re-runs and enjoying them.
    Part of the success (apart from the writing, of course!) was Marcus and David's contribution, actors who were as you mention in the ascendancy. How much input, if any, did you have to the selection process when roles were being cast? My guess is "next to none", but that leads to my second question. How much does the synergy of getting good "ascending" stars matched to one's script help in the overall success?

  2. Hello, Mucker,
    The beauty of radio is that it's made for so little money, there just aren't that many people to interfere with the creative process. The producer, Adam, and I had almost complete control over every aspect of the show. Marcus was Adam's suggestion and the moment he was suggested, I could here the part and Marcus' voice really brought it alive. I seem to remember we had an early readthrough before I'd finished most of the scripts for Series 1 and that really helped. Then when we needed an Owen, we knew that David Mitchell was a really good performer and, although playing against time, found he was a superb Techie geek. And of course Catherine as Daisy was truly sublime (a lot of people asked me about her!) and Emma K really nailed the part of Sophie too. So it was a very happy coincidence of events, scripts, actors and availability!