Biography to date

Gavin Stoker and Chris Orland are an established comedy-writing duo.

The professional interest began when, while working for the World Service, Chris won the BBC radio amateur dramatic group’s White Network award for best programme in a day of mock live broadcasting. The programme in question was a comedy sketch show written and produced by Chris. Inspired by early success, he went on to have one-liners broadcast on Radio 4’s Week Ending.

Meanwhile Gavin, a media graduate who had also put together mock radio shows as part of his degree work, was sending off ideas to Channel 4’s Short & Curlies strand, one of the only avenues at the time for new writers to break into TV. Having been a runner / 3rd assistant director on Central TV’s Bafta Award-winning children’s series Press Gang, Gavin was also writing for the NME, Empire and the Rough Guide to Rock.

Finding themselves workmates in the mid-‘90s, the pair realised that a shared sense of humour and ambition – and a love of writing – could be put to good use.

Logically enough, Gavin and Chris’ first dual forays involved contributing to Week Ending, as well as a spell performing stand-up as a double-act called The Dungeon Masters. Complete with highly impractical giant keys on a chain round their necks, the duo trod the boards of such enduring venues as the Comedy Café and Chuckle Club.

Eventually deciding to concentrate principally on writing, Gavin and Chris turned their attention to ‘the Holy Grail of comedy,’ industriously creating and writing nine original sitcom pilots over several years. One of these scripts, for a series entitled The Monkey’s Uncles, led to the pair being selected for a comedy writers’ workshop & showcase hosted by long-running comedy-writing partners Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran. This was organised by TAPS (Television Arts Performance Showcase), the national scheme for promoting talented writers, and held at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. Invited to attend a BBC writers’ day, chaired by Carol Smith, one of a range of ideas suggested to Adam Bromley and writer Nev Fountain led to a sketch – "The Simon Bates Motel" – broadcast on Radio 4’s Dead Ringers, produced by Mario Stylianides. This is, to Gavin and Chris’ understanding, one of the rare occasions when the work of non-commissioned writers has been featured on this Sony Award-winning show.