An Update On Please Be Normal

September 4, 2017

It feels a bit odd to do an update on a project which might not be happening from now on, but I spent the bulk of last year working on it and of everything I've written, it's the thing I'm proudest of, so I'd rather give a proper account of it here and a decent send-off than just let it disappear into the ether, so here's where I'm at with it:

 

As I mentioned here a few times, I spent last year working on a sitcom called Please Be Normal with the amazing people at What Larks! Productions, a wonderful group of people who really encouraged and supported my writing to make it the best it could be. It was about social anxiety and technology addiction, and I still won't say any more than that because it was a very good idea and there's still the chance I might get to do something with it one day, so I don't want to spoil any of it. What Larks! were amazing in championing it along, and it got right to the top of the commissioning process at Channel 4, who all had no complaints to make of it and really liked it and were really impressed with it. Sadly, at the final hurdle, they decided they couldn't actually commission it as the core premise was slightly too similar to another pilot they'd already commissioned from another writer.

 

Obviously it's a disappointing ending to a very exciting project, but I've chosen to be hugely proud and happy and excited about it rather than down-hearted or dispirited. I've been writing comedy scripts for years, of course, but this was the first time I'd entered any sort of formal engagement with a producer to get a full-length sitcom script off the ground. That the first thing I ever wrote in that sort of context was officially optioned by a brilliant company, then got so far up the ladder at Channel 4 and so close to actually being made, is something to be pretty proud of, I think. I'll always be very fond of that script and all the people it impressed and made aware of my work along the way. I'm refusing to actually say "That's it" with it, because there may be ways of reworking it in a different format, or changing the focus of the story so it's not too similar to this other pilot, and finding another home for it, but they're not priorities for now, so I'm putting it away in a drawer for the time being.

 

In the meantime, I'm taking it as a sign that people like the work we were producing together, but that I need to find a new, more unique, story angle or core premise to work from so that we can build a new project together with just as many fun characters and exciting storylines and so on, but that has an identity all of its own. I'm just today forcing myself to get started on new projects having spent a week recovering from the Fringe, so before too long I hope to have settled on what this idea will be. For now, I'm just very excited to build on the great work I was pushed to do with Please Be Normal and write something even better this time. Apologies to anybody who was following the progress of Please Be Normal with any degree of interest that you won't get to see it any time soon, but I promise that the end of that project will be the beginning of something even better. Watch this space - and thanks, of course, to Louise for helping me to write my best script yet. Here's to an even better one.

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