"David would have been delighted at the high standard of record entries this year and it has been very difficult to choose a winner. He always said there were so many writers with voices that needed to be heard." - Susan Nobbs, Honorary President of the Trust and David's Widow
It was an exciting start to the week to receive an email about a competition entry I'd made back in March, with information that was UNDER EMBARGO.
That sounded much more exotic (with a Cold War spy film feel) than a typical "unfortunately..." and "the standard of submissions was high..." rejection email.
My writer senses were tingling.
It was good news. I'd made it through the long list, the short list and finished as runner up in the David Nobbs Memorial Trust New Comedy Writing Competition.
The competition required a broadcast credit (thank you Jon Holmes and Unusual Productions for my credit on The Skewer), and 10 pages of a script or collection of sketches.
I sent in the first 10 pages of my TV comedy script Facing Up.
The 30 minute TV script made it to the semi-finals of the BBC Comedy Collective, and was accepted onto the Women in Film and TV table read, but to place as runner up in this particular competition is just wonderful.
I can't thank the trust enough for creating this platform for comedy writers to get exposure to industry judges, and validation for their efforts.
Three esteemed judges from the comedy industry whittled down the scripts from the shortlist:
Lucy Lumsden: Owner of Yellow Door Productions and formerly head of comedy commissioning at both Sky and the BBC:
"Another great year for the David Nobbs Memorial Trust. It's such a valuable competition to help writers get their work noticed and I thought this was a particularly impressive shortlist." - Lucy Lumsden
Chris Addison: Comedian, writer, actor, and director.
I love Chris Addison. I first saw him in The Thick of It, one of my favourite comedies.
Sanjeev Kohli - Actor, Comedian, Writer, Talk Show Host
Based in Glasgow, Sanjeev has been writing and performing comedy since the 90s, writing for Goodness Gracious Me, The Big Breakfast, Chewed in the Fat and is also known for his role as the shop keeper in Still Game.
I was also humbled by the amount of love the announcement received online from other great comedy talents:
About "Facing Up"
Facing Up is a 6 x 30 minute comedy series.
As Tom and Jane end their disastrous marriage they’re desperate to sell up and start again, but a nightmare neighbour makes a fresh start difficult.
Episode One Synopsis:
Jane and Tom approach their 10-year anniversary barely existing under the same roof. Tom’s fastidious nature and passion for Health and Safety jars with marketing consultant Jane, whose willpower to live a sensible life depletes after 6pm or the second cocktail—whichever comes first.
Episode one sees Jane and Tom’s marriage unravel when an ill-advised fling of Jane’s turns up to Jane and Tom’s anniversary dinner mistakenly believing it is he and Jane that are celebrating. Before Tom can take the high road, his own youthful mistress, Katy arrives.
Please feel free to contact me for further details of the script.
About the David Nobbs Memorial Trust Competition
This was the trust's sixth annual new comedy writing competition, in memory of David Nobbs. David is best known for his book The Death of Reginald Perrin, which was adapted into the sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. I still remember the opening sequence from when they must have done re-runs in the 80s.
The goal of the trust and the competition is to provide a one-off grant to up and coming comic writers to allow them to 'buy some time' and work on their craft. I love the ethos of this competition and it makes it even more humbling to have made it to the final on my first try.
Mary O'Hara who is the trust chair, journalist and author had this to say about this year's competition:
"With each passing year the David Nobbs prize for comedy writing goes from strength to strength. We've had a ringside seat to observe the depth and breadth of emerging British comedy writing talent, and this year is no different. Thanks to a roster of fantastically talented, experienced and dedicated judges from the comedy universe reviewing the scripts annually, the Trust is able to honour David's memory and contribute to his legacy. Huge congratulations to this year's awesome winners!" - Mary O'Hara
It's been a fantastic experience being involved, and also reassuring - while the script is getting positive reviews and placements, it's also had its share of rejections from competitions.
I do believe a rejection isn't a statement of value, it's simply an outcome we don't want at the time, but an outcome that we may reflect on in the future as a blessing.
And next time, I'm using a better headshot. This AI generated one should be subtle and natural enough: