The Sitcom Trials

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The Sitcom Trials
SitcomtrialsTVshow.jpg
Format Comedy reality show
Created by Kev F Sutherland
Presented by Kev F Sutherland
Starring Wanda Opalinska, Dan March, Victoria Jeffrey, Louisa Gummer, Gerard Foster, Simon Wright[disambiguation needed], Neil Mullarkey, Richard Vranch, James Holmes +
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 8
Production
Location(s) HTV Studios, Bath Road, Bristol
Running time 24-25 mins
Production company(s) Carlton Productions
Broadcast
Original channel ITV / HTV West
Picture format 16:9
Original run 13 February 2003 – 11 April 2003

The Sitcom Trials is a stage and TV show devised, produced, and presented by Kev F. Sutherland. Beginning in Bristol[1] in 1999, it showcases new sitcoms and comedy items in a head-to-head format. The audience then vote for the one they like best and only see the ending of the winner.

History[edit]

The Sitcom Trials takes place in London, at the Camden Head,[2] and previously at the Leicester Square Theatre,[3] The Comedy Pub[4][5] (main venue 99-06), also Canal Cafe Theatre, Finborough Theatre, Soho Theatre, Ealing Studios, The Green Room Club, Hen and Chickens Theatre. The show began at The Comedy Box in Bristol. Producers have been Kev F Sutherland (99-present), Simon Wright & Declan Hill (07-09), James Parker (09-10), Vince Stadon (Bristol 2012–present[6]) and Lisa Parker, Michelle Ashton and Sean Mason (Manchester 09-13).

In 2008 the Sitcom Trials won the Fringe Report Award for Best Encourager of New Talent.[7]

The Sitcom Trials appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001,[8] 2002, & 2004, and returned in 2013 as part of the So You Think You're Funny competition.[9] The first TV series was a Carlton production for ITV/HTV, broadcast live from Bristol over eight weeks in 2003. The first Hollywood Sitcom Trials took place in 2005.[10]

The Manchester Sitcom Trials took place from 2010 to 2013[11] at The Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester, as part of the LassFest Festival.[12]

In 2010 Declan Hill and Simon Wright, who produced the Sitcom Trials in 2007 and 2009 launched a similar event called The Sitcom Mission.[13]

At the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe The Sitcom Trials auctioned on eBay the chance to have your script in the show. This was won by Liam Mullone who starred in his own sitcom, along with Isy Suttie, Duncan Edwards, Ed Petrie and Andy Bone.[14]

Performers who have appeared in The Sitcom Trials over the years include Miranda Hart,[15] Neil Mullarkey, Richard Vranch,[16] Suki Webster, Tony Robinson (Baldrick), Wanda Opalinska, Gerard Foster, Charity Trimm, Dominic Frisby, Waen Shepherd, Laura Solon, James Holmes, Justin Lee Collins, Russell Howard, Mark Olver, Aaron Barschak, Emily Lloyd, Danny Robins, Dan Tetsell, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, Lucy Porter, Nick Ewans, Louisa Gummer, Anne-Marie Draycott, Dan March, Rich Johnston, Anna Bennetts,[17] Simon Treves, McNeil and Pamphilon.

Having written and appeared with Kev F. Sutherland in the predecessor of the Trials, Situations Vacant in 1996 (clip can be found on YouTube), Inbetweeners writer Iain Morris went on to name one of the main characters in the series (Neil's dad) Kevin Sutherland.[18]

Miranda[edit]

Miranda Hart's eponymous sitcom, now on BBC 2, first appeared as part of The Sitcom Trials at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001.[19] It featured Miranda, working in a joke shop that sells penis pasta, with a diminutive blonde sidekick, originally played by Charity Trimm, and the love interest in the cafe, played then by Gerard Foster. The camp character played in 01 by Dan Clegg went on to be played in the TV series by James Holmes who, coincidentally, was the star of the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe Sitcom Trials.[20]

Competition seasons[edit]

The Sitcom Trials has run a number of competition seasons, with heats and a grand final, in 2007, 2009 and 2013. 2013's season was part of the So You Think You're Funny competition, with heats in Bristol, London and Manchester, and a grand final at the Edinburgh Fringe. It was won by Rosie Holt's sitcom Never Better.[21]

The winner of the 2009 10th Anniversary Season was End To End by Steve McNeil & Sam Pamphilon.[22] Spring 2009's winner was Riga To Rotherham by Dean Hardman.[23] Autumn 07's winner was New Zealand team sitcom Sweet As.[24]

Judges at the 2009 10th Anniversary Sitcom Trials in London included David Quantick,[25] Iain Morris, Bill Dare, Katie Tyrell, David Schneider, Laura Lawson, Ashley Blaker, Daniel Maier, Nev Fountain, Carrie Quinlan, Michelle Farr, Marc Blake and Tom Price (actor)[disambiguation needed].

Reviews for the show have ranged from the Leicester Mercury's "We were screaming with laughter... move over Friends", through the London Evening Standard's "We're not watching stand-up, we're watching comedy history", to Chortle's "The Sitcom Trials are performing a vital service".[26] There was also Metro's notorious review of the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe show: "I would happily have voted to have my own eyes gouged out with hot spoons rather than endure another moment."[27]

Episode guide TV series 1[edit]

  • Episode 1 - "Policevets In Casualty vs Do You Think They'll Cotton On?"
Police comedy by Stephen Dinsdale, vs Brian Meenagh's behind the scenes TV producers. All episodes hosted by Kev F Sutherland.
  • Episode 2 - "Go Wild In The Country vs The Client"
Divorcee returns to school reunion, by Jane Simon, vs office romance & ructions by Harris, Blakewill & Wainwright
  • Episode 3 - "Cardinal Sin vs Nemesis"
Two historical costume comedies by Andrew Barclay and Sam Elsden
  • Episode 4 - "Improv Special"
The Comedy Store Players Neil Mullarkey, Suki Webster, Niall Ashdown & Richard Vranch present two contrasting sitcoms from audience suggestions.
  • Episode 5 - "What An Anchor vs A Producers Tale"
Behind the scenes with an anchorman, by Adrian Peck & John Kelly, and a dysfunctional producer, by Roland Moore
  • Episode 6 - "Jimmy James vs On The Job"
A solo writer-performed sitcom with multiple characters by James Holmes, vs HTV's Television Workshop's group creation
  • Episode 7 - "Perfect 10 vs Football R For Revenge"
Political shenanigans at No 10 by Rich Johnston, vs terror on the terrace by Matt Bowdler & Ben Manning
  • Episode 8 - "The public vs the public"
Two scripts selected from entries sent in by the viewers, head to head[28]

The Sitcom Mission[edit]

Declan Hill and Simon Wright, who produced the Sitcom Trials in 2007 and 2009 launched a similar event called The Sitcom Mission,[29] the first Grand Final of which was in the New Diorama Theatre on Monday 31 May 2010.[30] In Feb 2011 Hat Trick Productions announced their support of the 2011 Sitcom Mission season[31]

References[edit]

"The Sitcom Trials Edinburgh Fringe 2013". edfringe.com. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 

"Fall Girl". rosieholt.com. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 

"Bristol Sitcom Trials crosses the pond to Hollywood". BBC. Retrieved April 22, 2005. 

"Comedy Store Players in The Sitcom Trials". British Comedy Forums. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 

"Sitcom success for first-time comedy writer". Nottingham Trent University News. Retrieved June 1, 2009. 

"Hat Trick Productions supports Sitcom Mission". Comedy Guide. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 

"Sitcom Trials Final 2009 Review". Chortle. Retrieved May 15, 2009. 

"Sitcom Trials Manchester 3 star review". Large Manchester. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 

"Sitcom Trials Manchester". ents24. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 

"The Same Paige on screen". Anna Bennetts. Retrieved Oct 28, 2011. 

"Miranda in The Sitcom Trials". The Sitcom Trials website. Retrieved Nov 4, 2011. 

"Jimmy James solo sitcom". The Sitcom Trials website. Retrieved Dec 30, 2011. 

"Sweet As". Katrina Thompson website. Retrieved Dec 30, 2011. 

  1. ^ "More from Sitcom Trials". bbc.co.uk - Bristol. Retrieved May 5, 2005. 
  2. ^ "Announcing the Sitcom Trials Sci Fi Special". Sci-Fi London. Retrieved September 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Sitcom Trials Final 2009 Review". Chortle. Retrieved May 15, 2009. 
  4. ^ "7 Mins Away From Something You Might Prefer". travel.ciao.co.uk. Retrieved May 2003. 
  5. ^ Hulley, Barth (2011). Sitcoms, featuring winning scripts from The Sitcom Trials (1st ed.). Strasbourg: Auto-édition. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-4477-5298-1. 
  6. ^ http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-sitcom-trials-the-wardrobe-theatre-bristol/
  7. ^ "Winner Best Encourager Of Talent". Fringe Report Awards. Retrieved Feb 2008. 
  8. ^ "Edinburgh Review". nowt2do.co.uk. Retrieved August 2001. 
  9. ^ "The Sitcom Trials Edinburgh Fringe 2013". edfringe.com. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Bristol Sitcom Trials crosses the pond to Hollywood". BBC. Retrieved April 22, 2005. 
  11. ^ "Sitcom Trials Manchester 3 star review". Large Manchester. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Sitcom Trials Manchester". ents24. Retrieved July 2, 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Sitcom Mission: About". Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  14. ^ "Edinburgh Fringe 2004". incredible.org. Retrieved August 18, 2004. 
  15. ^ "Writers are you game for a laugh?". bbc.co.uk - Gloucestershire. Retrieved April 2, 2002. 
  16. ^ "Comedy Store Players in The Sitcom Trials". British Comedy Forums. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  17. ^ "The Same Paige on screen". Anna Bennetts. Retrieved Oct 28, 2011. 
  18. ^ List_of_The_Inbetweeners_characters
  19. ^ "Miranda in The Sitcom Trials". The Sitcom Trials website. Retrieved Nov 4, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Jimmy James solo sitcom". The Sitcom Trials website. Retrieved Dec 30, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Fall Girl". rosieholt.com. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Sitcom Trials winner 09 End To End". MeFeedia. Retrieved December 2009. 
  23. ^ "Sitcom success for first-time comedy writer". Nottingham Trent University News. Retrieved June 1, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Sweet As". Katrina Thompson website. Retrieved Dec 30, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Sitcom Trials Heat 1". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved Oct 19, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Sitcom Trials Final 2009 Review". Chortle. Retrieved May 15, 2009. 
  27. ^ "I would've happily voted to have my eyes gouged out with hot spoons rather than endure another moment". Metro. Retrieved August 2, 2002. 
  28. ^ "Sitcom Trials TV episode guide". locatetv.com. Retrieved Sep 2009. 
  29. ^ "The Sitcom Mission: About". Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  30. ^ "The Sitcom Mission: Shows". Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  31. ^ "Hat Trick Productions supports Sitcom Mission". Comedy Guide. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 

External links[edit]