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NEW – Sharon Horgan calls for UK comedy commissioning changes

Catastrophe creator Sharon Horgan used the Alternative MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival to call for UK comedy commissioners to be less prescriptive.

The Pulling star, who grew up in Co. Meath, spoke to Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle and said that, while interesting shows do get made in Britain, success makes commissioners more conservative.

“It’s uncreative to say ‘we’re looking for this kind of show’. You end up with 500 scripts that are all doing the same thing and telling the same story. Interesting things do get made but most channels have one interesting thing and everyone else is trying desperately to recreate the last big hit,” she said.

“It makes my heart sink a bit when people saying they’re looking for ‘this kind of show’ because they should just be looking for something good.”

Here’s the Amazon trailer for her series Catastrophe. It has been commissioned for series 3 & 4. 

Horgan joked that the British public were to “blame” for the success of family-friendly shows such as Mrs Brown’s Boys.  The Irish sitcom – commissioned by BBC Scotland – was recently voted the No.1 sitcom of the 21st century.

“Maybe that’s not the right thing to say but that’s what they want to watch. I think great stuff still gets through, stuff that we want to watch but then I think what does everyone else want to watch?”

Horgan recently wrote Sarah Jessica Parker-fronted comedy drama Divorce for HBO. Watch the trailer here.

Sharon revealed that creating the show, which will air in October on Sky Atlantic, was a “good” process but “hard work”.

“It’s kind of similar to making a show here,” she said. “If you make a show over at Channel 4 or HBO, it’s the same kind of sensibility. They kind of just want it to be good and they give you the creative freedom to do your own and they kind of trust you.”

She added the success of Catastrophe in the US, where it airs on Amazon, has made it easier to get meetings and that a long-running broadcast hit was the “holy grail”.

However, she joked about the length of series on US network TV.

“Modern Family is kind of a holy grail if you can get a show like that on an American network for a 26 episode run. Although that’s stupid and greedy, no-one needs 26 episodes of anything,” she said.

Credit – Broadcast Magazine

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