I’ve just heard from a BBC producer I’ve been working with that I’ve got a radio play in the next commissioning round. In the BBC’s labyrinthine commissioning process, that means it’s got through the departmental sift. The next hurdles are to get through the precommissioning offers, and then commissioning itself.
Michelle Lipton’s got an extremely useful rundown of the radio commissioning process on her blog. I’ve had it explained to me and but it’s like when accountants explain income tax – I can just grasp it at the time, but ten minutes later, it’s Zen like mysticism again. Still, that’s what producers are for…
David Mitchell (the one, as per his twitter description ‘who’s in Peep Show and things, not the novelist or the former Tory MP’) saw a sketch of mine on Monday night, in a pub cellar near the BBC. It, plus about a dozen others, were the fruits of the loins of a BBC comedy workshop for people who’d got stuff on Recorded For Training Purposes on BBC Radio Four.
I felt sorry for him. Not because of my Crime Festival sketch – necessarily – but because he was sitting at the front of an audience of about 40, max, thirty of whom had written stuff he was watching. The other ten were Radio Four comedy producers. Eyes were on him. Would he laugh? Would he cry? Would he slump comatose from his stool into the lap of a Radio Four producer?
My wife had already subscribed to his Tweets. She had instructions to text me if he twittered about the brilliance of any of the sketches. He didn’t. Not even mine. Actually he mostly looked bemused, although he did laugh a couple of times. Not even at mine. Nor did he slump into a lap. Not even mine.
But then neither did he slag them off, presumably because he’s far too nice and professional. Or he couldn’t be arsed. Or he was focusing on aiming his slump at a specific comedy producer.
Most likely though, he knows you just can’t be too careful.