Funny Work Experience

Students on the set of new comedy TV programme

So funny - Students' on comedy TV set

Five Exeter students have been given unique, behind the scenes access to a brand new BBC comedy programme.

The students were winners of the Exeter-run competition Is that Funny? which invited budding comedy script-writers to put pen to paper. Their work was performed before a live audience at the University.

Judging the competition was English alumnus Richard Boden, who has worked on some of our biggest TV comedy programmes during his career. He has directed hit comedy shows from Blackadder to The IT Crowd – garnering 3 BAFTAs along the way

His fellow judge was TV actress and presenter Caroline Quentin, who rose to fame in Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek. She has also starred in the ITV crime drama Blue Murder as DCI Janine Lewis. Richard has been working wirth Caroline on the BBC1 Comedy Life of Riley.

Richard, working with Sam North, University English Lecturer had set the challenge for students in October 2010 when he visited the campus to talk to all those who were interested. Richard and Sam then worked on the scripts as they came in, cutting them down to a shortlist of twelve by early 2011. These twelve were then performed in front of the judges and an audience and the four winners were selected.

The winners were Tom Murray, Rosa Glover, Sophie Burstin, Toby Neilson & Callum Deverell-Cameron.

“It was really good to come back to the Exeter campus – and Queens’ Building….one of the few buildings not re-developed! I’m looking forward to seeing the completed campus…..I loved my time at Exeter and still feel a great affection for my years there. I was very happy to join with Sam North to create this competition, and was truly surprised by the wealth of talent in writing and performing. I am keen to continue my contact with the winners and to that end I have invited them to join me on location and in the studios for the new BBC2 Series ‘Watson & Oliver’ – a sketch show starring Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver please Google them –they’re very talented.” said Richard.

Richard has also been generous with his time with the competition winners – offering them advice and insight into the world of TV comedy.
The series is scheduled to be shown on BBC Two in early 2012.

Holly Peterson, Head of Alumni Relations said: “We are extremely grateful to Richard and Caroline for giving their time to help our students.

“Everyone had great fun at the competition final and the entries were excellent. It was easy to forget among the laughter, that this is a highly skilled and competitive market, and for Richard to give so much of his time to guide and assist our students is invaluable.

“We are extremely fortunate to have many talented alumni like him, who are so generous with their time and experience.”


Date: 8 September 2011

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