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This month's BBC Salford Sitcom Showcase lines up six pilots

This month's BBC Salford Sitcom Showcase lines up six pilots
Staff Reporter
01 November 2012

The BBC has commissioned six pilots for the second Salford Sitcom Showcase, produced by BBC Comedy and BBC North, which will take place at MediaCityUK between 21 and 23 November.

The six pilots, from BBC In-House Comedy, DLT Entertainment, Hartswood Films, and Lucky Giant, will be performed live in front of a studio audience.

Last year’s Showcase led to two commissions, Citizen Khan for BBC One and Hebburn for BBC Two (pictured).

Peter Salmon, director BBC North says: “This event is our autumn highlight and hopefully will result in some more new commissions.”

Kristian Smith, Out of London commissioner, BBC Comedy Commissioning, adds: “Putting developments on their feet is always the best way to see what a series might offer. It’s been a fantastic year for comedy made outside of London, and we’re hoping to build on that success going into 2013.”

The showcase will be produced by Helen Meller for BBC Comedy.

The following are the six pilots:

The Gatekeeper (BBC Two)

Executive producer – Gareth Edwards and Saurabh Kakkar for BBC In-House Comedy

Writers – Keiron Self and Giles New

Producer – Joanna Blake

Director – David Sant

Simon Watkins (Adrian Scarborough) is happy. It’s surprising, given he’s in his forties, divorced and living with his tuba-playing, interfering dad. But Simon has landed the perfect job - working as a security guard in an anonymous office block. It’s a crime-free, disorder-free paid jolly, and Simon is not going to let anything spoil his newly found idyll. Not even evil boss Roger, scary receptionist Suzy, scatty colleague Polly or unfeasibly beautiful sandwich girl Melanie.

Only a meticulously planned, daring heist could disrupt Simon’s world, and what are the chances of that happening on the night shift?

Just Us (BBC Two)

Executive producer – Don Taffner for DLT Entertainment

Writer – Tom Anderson

Producer – John Bartlett

Director – Ed Bye

Jack (Peter Davison) and Kate Murray (Samantha Bond) have just downsized from their family home in London to a smaller place on a quiet housing development in a Brighton suburb. Simultaneously, Jack has traded his job as a small-time journalist to lecture - in journalism. Embittered and grumpy, the irony is not lost on Jack…

Moving house and a change of job – all he needs now is divorce and a death and he’s got the Big Four covered and with the unexpected arrival of Chloe (Tessa Peake-Jones), his nemesis of a sister in law, either or both of those could be on the cards, too...

1987 (BBC One)

Executive producer – Beryl Vertue for Hartswood Films

Writer – Mark Watson

Producer – Sue Vertue

Director – Francis Matthews

It’s 1987 in a South Wales suburb and the Jones family are bracing themselves for the arrival of the English in the neighbourhood. The Sandersons appear to have it all: microwave, celebrity connections, beautiful daughter and dimmer switches. The Jones family have a forgetful grandfather, an awkward son and a brand new chandelier. Jones senior wants to watch his all-important rugby match, but his wife has other ideas – as indeed does Jones junior. The Sandersons lay on a buffet as battle commences.

It Takes A Village (BBC One)

Executive producer – Saurabh Kakkar for BBC In-House Comedy

Writer – Richard Hurst. Based on a pilot for ABC by Casey Johnson & David Windsor

Producer – Julia McKenzie

Director É– ÉJohn Henderson

What happens when your dad realises he’s gay, your parents divorce, your mum remarries and your dad lives opposite with the new love of his life? Thirteen-year-old maths genius George is cool with his parents’ choices, but two parents are more than enough, surely? Even one would be fine. But now George has four, all trying to negotiate ways to live with each other, as well as bring him up, in the best way possible.

Chain Gang (BBC Three)

Executive producer – Pete Thornton for BBC In-House Comedy

Writers – Andy Riley & Kevin Cecil

Producer – Simon Mayhew-Archer

Director ÉÉ– tba

At Sunbeans, every macchiato is served with a smile… apart from at one branch in Bristol, where it’s more likely to be emptied over your head.

It’s run by three of the most lackadaisical lackeys imaginable: Natasha, the 'manager', sees customers as verrucas on the foot of her day; meanwhile her colleagues, Mouse, a smiley harbinger of doom, and Paolo, a camp Brazilian, are as much use as a polystyrene coffee grinder.

To rescue this failing outlet, Sunbeans executives send in a trouble-shooter, Alistair. Having come top of his class at the Coffee Academy and been primed for big things, Alistair must first turn round this shop.

Homeboys (BBC Three)

Writer – Pete Jackson

Executive producer – Mario Stylianides for Lucky Giant

Producer – Ben Worsfield

Director - tba

David and Brian are Homeboys: two 20-something brothers still living at home, despite their parents’ best efforts to get rid of them. David’s a cocky damp-proofing salesman who thinks he’s it, while his older brother Brian is a nerdy recluse who hasn’t left the house since he was 10. When David’s not tormenting him, Brian leads a very productive life; he’s just built a cocktail bar for his dolls under the kitchen table. Add Janine, their spiteful younger sister to the mix, and their parents’ dream of a quiet life alone looks more and more unlikely.

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