This November sees the second Salford Sitcom Showcase – an arena for the BBC to test out a selection of newly adapted pilots in front of a live studio audience. The inaugural event led to the commissioning of Citizen Kane and Hebburn – two primetime mainstays, with the former receiving a second series before its initial run of six episodes had finished airing.
This year’s Sitcom Showcase will take place 21-23 November. Peter Salmon, director of BBC North, said: “The first Salford Sitcom Showcase was so good, we thought we’d do it again.
“BBC Comedy is the natural home for so many funny performers, writers and entertainers, so this event is our autumn highlight and hopefully will result in some more new commissions.”
In preparation, BBC Comedy have adapted six more sitcom pilots to put to the test – here’s a sneak peek at the new comedies that could be heading to our television screens in 2013…
Just Us – intended for BBC2
Peter Davison and Samantha Bond star as Jack and Kate Murray, who’ve downsized from their London family home to embark upon new lives in Brighton suburbia. After trading in his job as a small-time journalist for a role as a lecturer, Jack becomes embittered and grumpy, a mindset only made worse by the arrival of his nemesis of a sister-in-law – Chloe (Tessa Peake-Jones).
The Gatekeeper – intended for BBC2
Adrian Scarborough plays Simon Watkins – a middle-aged divorcee who’s moved back in with his tuba-playing, interfering father. But despite all his woes he’s happy – after landing a job as a security guard in an anonymous office block, he’s relieved to live out his days free of crime and disorder. That’s until a meticulously-planned heist disrupts what should be a quiet night shift…
1987 – intended for BBC1
It’s 1987 and in a quiet South Wales suburb the Jones family await with trepidation the arrival of the glamorous Sandersons, complete with their microwave, celebrity connections, beautiful daughter and dimmer switches. Oh, and they’re English too. Soon Mrs Jones is attempting to overhaul her husband and awkward son’s rugby-watching habits in a bid to compete with their new neighbours.
It Takes a Village – intended for BBC1
Written and directed by Richard Hurst – a regular collaborator with Miranda Hart – this comedy is about poor 13-year-old maths genius George, whose parents divorce after his dad realises he’s gay. George’s mum remarries and his dad moves in opposite with the new love of his life – now George has four parents, all with differing opinions on the best way to bring him up.
Chain Gang – intended for BBC3
Sunbeans coffee chain prides itself on service with a smile, with the exception of one branch in Bristol, whose useless team of staff have sent profits down the plughole. Manageress Natasha sees customers as verrucas on the foot of her day, meanwhile her two minions – Mouse and Paolo – are the epitomy of incompetence. To save the failing outlet, Sunbeans execs send trouble-shooter Alistair to remedy the problems and turn around the fortunes of the ailing shop.
Homeboys – intended for BBC3
In a generation of adults living at home, David and Brian are doing just that. Younger brother David earns his keep as a damp-proofing salesman who spends his spare time taunting nerdy recluse Brian, who hasn’t stepped outside since he was ten years old. Throw spiteful sister Janine into the mix and their parents’ dream of a peaceful retirement seems more and more unlikely.