Top UK TV writer, Chris Chibnall tells us a bit about the theater

Chris Chibnall (DOCTOR WHO, BROADCHURCH, much more) is one of TVWriter™’s favorite UK television writers. In fact, we’ve been rooting for him to be the new showrunner whenever that Moff guy gives up the DOCTOR WHO reins. (We’re also rooting for that to happen soon, but we probably shouldn’t go there – now.)

Recently, Chris spoke out about his love for more than just TV as a medium, and believe us when we say, we’re listening:

‘Broadchurch’s Creator Chris Chibnall Gets Theatrical with a New Play
by Leah Rozen


A thoughtful moment in BROADCHURCH

After scoring an international success with his mystery thriller TV series, Broadchurch, writer Chris Chibnall has turned his pen to a stage comedy.

His latest play, his first in a decade, begins performances March 27 at a British regional theater. Called Worst Wedding Ever, Chibnall’s new work focuses on a young couple whose low-key wedding plans are commandeered by the bride’s mother, who decides the occasion requires an extravaganza. Carolyn Pickles, the actress who played newspaper editor Maggie Radcliffe on Broadchurch, has been cast as the domineering mother.

The play is being mounted at the Salisbury Playhouse, a theater located in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Chibnall chose the theater partly because he has a past association with its artistic director, Gareth Machin, and also because it’s not far from his home in Dorset. The close proximity means that Chibnall can pop over to theater for rehearsals in between writing Broadchurch’s second season, which is expected to go into production later this spring. (There’s no word yet from ITV on when the show’s new episodes will air on the network in the U.K.)

In an interview with a local paper, the Salisbury Journal, Chibnall said of the Salisbury Playhouse, “I love the feel of the theater and the way it’s connected to the community.”

Discussing his planned theatrical foray last November, Chibnall told The Independent, “It’s the first play I’ve written in 10 years and I’m very excited and utterly terrified about it. I wanted to make sure I did something very different and challenging between writing Broadchurch series 1 and 2.”

In addition to scribbling away at Broadchurch’s second season, Chibnall is serving as executive producer on Gracepoint, the American version of the show. He also wrote the U.S. remake’s first episode.

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The Most Edifying Analysis of the Horrors of a Comcast-Warner Cable Merger Yet

When Consumerist.Com tells you something is bad/scary/OMFG!, you know there are a few problems with it. And, boy, are they telling us a lot about this deal.

Read on…if you’re brave enough:


The Comcast Merger Isn’t About Lines On A Map; It’s About Controlling The Delivery Of Information
by Kate Cox

Comcast and proposed merger partner Time Warner Cable claim they don’t compete because their service areas don’t overlap, and that a combined company would happily divest itself of a few million customers to keeps its pay-TV market share below 30%, allowing other companies that don’t currently compete with Comcast to keep not competing with Comcast. This narrow, shortsighted view fails to take into account the full breadth of what’s involved in this merger — broadcast TV, cable TV, network technology, in-home technology, access to the Internet, and much more. In addition to asking whether or not regulators should permit Comcast to add 10-12 million customers, there is a more important question at the core of this deal: Should Comcast be allowed to control both what content you consume and how you get to consume it?


This week, Comcast and Time Warner Cable executives testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about why they think their merger is such a great idea.

In their joint testimony [PDF], the execs made a point of giving hearty shout-outs to anyone they perceive as a competitor, in order to claim that the merged company won’t be a monopoly. That list of competitors repeatedly named AT&T, Verizon, DirecTV, Dish, Amazon, Apple, Sony, Google, Netflix, and Facebook as chief concerns.

Some of those are easy to understand: the satellite companies directly compete with Comcast to get TV networks into peoples’ homes, for example, and the fiber companies do that plus broadband, too. But Apple and Sony? Amazon and Netflix? Facebook?

If Comcast is the company that plugs the broadband wire into your home, then why are they so concerned about whose devices and services you might use once you’ve got that connection?

Comcast is so concerned about all those other products explicitly because they aren’t just the company that plugs the broadband wire into your home. Comcast is already not only your carrier but also your content — and if they get their way they’ll become your gatekeeper to everyone else’s content, too.

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 4/17/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Felicia Day (the Queen of Interweb Series) is developing a paranormal type thriller series for Hulu with Bryan Singer. (And since Yer Friendly Neighborhood munchman is a huge fan of Felicia’s, the fact that I don’t trust anything with Bryan Singer’s name on it isn’t gonna stop me from watching.)
  • Frank Spotnitz (TRANSPORTER: THE SERIES) has a new overall deal with Tandem Productions for the usual development stuff. (Anyone notice how much better a writer-producer Frank has become since moving his business to London. Guess he’s just gotta work a lot harder now to pay all those Brit taxes. Whatever it is, it’s a positive for viewers everywhere.)
  • Jeremy Dorner (THE KILLING) is developing RADIANT DOORS, based on Michael Swanwick’s short story, for WGN America. (Another “dystopian drama! Wowser, the munchie one can hardly wait – cuz fake dystopias are oh-so-much more fun than the real one we now live in.)
  • Christian Taylor (TEEN WOLF) is the new showrunner of the upcoming MTV “cyber thriller,” EYE CANDY, based on a book by the ever-popular R.L.Stine. (Watch out, fans. This is a complete retooling of the original pilot, which can mean only one thing: The powers-that-be don’t get whatever there is to be gotten from the original series of books featuring the character Victoria Justice.)

FARGO isn’t a TV Series, “It’s a 10-Hour Movie.”

Believe it or not, the article below is the absolute first time that reading an interview with a showrunner or a star has made our Beloved Leader, LB, change his mind and decide to give a new series a try. So let’s put our hands together for…oh, um, reportage in the U.K. Yeah, baby:

Bob Odenkirkby Ben Arnold

This is a true story. In 1998, the current TV belle epoque not even a twinkle in the eye of the US networks, a pilot was filmed for a TV series of the Coen brothers‘ churningly tense black comedy Fargo, which had been released two years previously. It was the last writing and production credit for the late Bruce Paltrow (father of Gwyneth), starred The Sopranos‘ Edie Falco and was directed by Misery actor and occasional director Kathy Bates. Set in Brainerd, Minnesota, it featured Falco as police chief Marge Gunderson, the role immortalised by Frances McDormand in the movie. The Coen brothers were not involved. The project, though strangely enticing, fizzled out.

Then, in 2012, news emerged that another telly crew had taken an interest in the world of Fargo, beginning a slow drip-feed of information about the project that indicated very good things indeed. Firstly, FX, the maverick Fox spin-off network behind brooding dramas such as Justified and Sons Of Anarchy, would be making it. Writing would be Noah Hawley, a novelist and TV writer with a CV including crime comedy-drama Bones. More convincing still, it would not feature any of the same characters from the film, and was amassing an undeniably classy cast, including Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Colin Hanks, US sketch comedy dons Key & Peele, and Oliver Platt.

It was also being ordered “straight to series”, the holy grail in US TV’s cautious pilot system. Finally – the coup de grâce to any naysayers – the Coens themselves, unlike with the efforts back in 1998, had read it, liked it, and signed on as executive producers. The Coens’ blessing transformed the cautious optimism about the show into outright buzz. And here we are.

“Joel and Ethan read the first script,” says Hawley. “They were very complimentary about it. Then they saw the first episode when it was completed, and Ethan said ‘Yeah, good’. Billy [Bob Thornton], of course, has worked with the Coens two or three times. He said that ‘Yeah, good’ is like a rave review from Ethan.”

Hawley’s first conversation with FX, which was negotiating with rights owners MGM about making the series, went something like this: “OK, so you’ve asked me to create a television series. This is not a television series,” he says. “That got their attention, and I talked them through how I would approach it. It’s a 10-hour movie.”

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The UK has its TV Writing Giants Too

We just don’t hear much about them. Till it’s too late. TVWriter™ pays its respects to Bob Larbey:

Bob-Larbeyfrom Irish Independent

BOB Larbey enjoyed 30 years as half of one of television’s most successful sitcom-writing partnerships. He and John Esmonde had their first major hit with Please Sir! (1968-72), set in Fenn Street Secondary Modern School, with John Alderton as Bernard Hedges, the fledgling teacher trying to keep order among the unruly pupils who call him “Privet”.

Larbey and Esmonde switched to a more traditional domestic setting for their other big success, The Good Life (1975-78), but gave it a twist by making one of the two middle-class couples self-sufficient.

The idea came to Larbey when he was approaching his 40th birthday and recognised it as a time for people to reassess their lives. He and Esmonde had been asked to find a vehicle for Richard Briers, so they cast him as Tom Good, who gives up his job as a draughtsman at a company making plastic toys for cereal packets to go self-sufficient with his wife, Barbara (Felicity Kendal), at their house inSurbiton.

“I think it just struck a chord, not in terms of making everybody want to be self-sufficient, but it just fed that little bit of all of us that wants to opt out, to become independent,” reflected Larbey. “It was about a revolution – just one without violence or shouting.”

On his own, Larbey came up with another original idea in the sitcom A Fine Romance (1981-84). Judi Dench starred as a socially inept translator who has an on-off relationship with a shy landscape gardener played by Michael Williams, Dench’s real-life husband. The series was nominated for 11 Bafta awards, with two won by Dench.

Larbey was born in south London, the son of a carpenter. He and Esmonde attended the same school and were friends who shared a sense of humour. After National Service, Larbey had a job at a foundry while Esmonde was a journalist. In their spare time, the pair submitted comedy sketches to the BBC.

They were able to give up their day jobs when the BBC commissioned their radio sitcom idea Spare a Copper (1965-66), starring Carry On actor Kenneth Connor as a bungling policeman.

On television, Larbey and Esmonde had already been writing sketches for The Dick Emery Show when Room at the Bottom was given a try-out in the ‘Comedy Playhouse’ slot in 1966. Although given the green light for a full series, it failed to catch on.

However, Please Sir! made the writing duo hot property. Its sequel, The Fenn Street Gang, spawned a spin-off prequel, Bowler (1973), with George Baker as a wide-boy villain, and there was longer-running success with the RAF sitcom Get Some In! (1975-78). Before The Good Life ended, Larbey and Esmonde wrote the first of three more series for Richard Briers. The Other One (1977-79) was not popular, but Ever Decreasing Circles (1984-89), co-starring Penelope Wilton, had writers and star back on track. (Later came Down to Earth (1995), but it was shunned by viewers.)

Larbey and Esmonde were on a roll again with Brush Strokes (1986-91), featuring Karl Howman. After Down to Earth, the writers ended their partnership and Esmonde retired to Spain. Larbey had already branched out on his own with A Fine Romance and On the Up (1990-91), as well as writing the first four episodes (1991) of The Darling Buds of May. Larbey’s longest-running solo sitcom was As Time Goes By (1992-2005), from an idea by Colin Bostock-Smith. Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer played two old flames, reunited after 38 years apart. As with A Fine Romance, Larbey’s scripts shone with intelligence and poignancy.

Larbey married Patricia Marshall in 1973 (who predeceased him) and they had one son. John Esmonde died in 2008.

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 4/12/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Karl Schaefer (EUREKA) is showrunning Syfy’s new zombie drama Z NATION. (The series is already a go, so if you know Karl, or have some zombie adventure cred, have your peeps get in touch with his peeps and get your awesome self on the staff of the show.)
  • Art Linson & John Linson (SONS OF ANARCHY) have a new overall deal with HBO, starting with the drama series, YELLOWSTONE about, uh, violence in Montana. (The munchy one has absolutely no interest in Montana, so no way am I going to watch this if it gets on the air. Well, maybe if I get on staff. Yeah, if I’m writing the damn thing I’ll be glad to watch. But only my eps, dudes, cuz that’s how munchies roll.)
  • Steven Knight (LOCKE) is writing an 8-part BBC drama called TABOO, about a 19th century adventurer fighting with the East India Company. (Ooh, man versus corporation. I can hardly wait. What could be better than watching the guy who broke Batman’s back go up against a corporate charter? Thing better be made of some very thick paper!)
  • David Milch has extended his overall deal with HBO. (Evidently cuz HBO thinks that having a hack has-been who’s last decent work was on the air almost a decade ago is preferable to letting anybody new and/or under 60 into the building. The Milchman is gobbling up a piece of the pie that could’ve been yours, mine, or anybody else’s. The only Big Name who’s gone lower than Milchovic is Bruce Springsteen, who now makes his living covering hits recorded by dudes at least a century younger than his botoxed self. Oh, brave new world – why hast thou forsaken us? Or something like that.)

    End of rant. Buh-bye for now!