|The Collected Comedic Works of Stoker & Orland
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90 min comedy feature
Written by Gavin Stoker
What happens when the world’s biggest film star/celebrity wants out? If you get everything you wished for – and then find out it’s not enough?
Tired of Paparazzi, premieres, publicity junkets and the endless demands of an estranged wife, not even all the money and recognition in the world can make Nicholas Drake a happy man. Dependent on a potentially lethal cocktail of alcohol, hard drugs and meaningless affairs to get him through each successive shoot, and saddled with an agent who won’t let him quit, Drake is at his wit’s end.
A chance meeting with a fan who has endured plastic surgery to look nigh on identical to the star convinces Drake of the absurdity of fame. And, as it transpires, offers him a way to walk away from it all when the look-a-like is subsequently knocked down and killed in a hit and run accident. Planting Drake’s personal effects on the body, the look-a-like is substituted for the star to fool the general public. Drake bows out of the limelight, presumed dead, and moves to a remote wilderness town where the nearest cinema is 100’s of miles away.
Tiring eventually of a pastoral life, Drake realises that he is addicted to the same fame that was destroying him and plans a dramatic return to the spotlight. Ironically, Drake has become even more popular in death, and with his agent and estate doing a roaring trade in merchandising and tie-ins since his demise, no one with vested interests wants to see him make a ‘live’ comeback. To them, Drake is better off dead, even if that means arranging a second enforced ‘retirement’ from the limelight…
‘SONNY' MCDONALD, an ageing 50-something comic and his 20-something daughter JOSIE run a comedy club – ‘The Funny Farm' – but are yet to effect any success from it. This could be down to the fact that, due to a fresh misfortune every week, the club is never held at the same venue twice.
A self-styled comedy missionary, SONNY gives the impression that it is his life's work to bring the gift of laughter to each new town, but really it is a desperate ploy to resurrect his ailing comedy career and, in doing so, win back the respect of his daughter. Unfortunately SONNY can't bring himself to admit that his old school brand of humour is past its sell-by date and, out of love, JOSIE – on a never ending ‘gap year' – helps maintain the illusion that success is possibly just around each new corner.
The submitted 15-minute episode, Upping the Auntie, finds the pair trying to shore-horn themselves and a selection of no-hoper acts in at the Edinburgh Festival, by setting up shop in the only venue available: fittingly enough, and something of a metaphor for their career, a converted lavatory.
On the bill tonight are the oily, womanising FRANKIE CAESAR, freshly released from joke writing at Her Majesty's Pleasure, trouser-dropping comic McFEE, who the Scotsman has described ‘as funny as a train crash', a man with a talking buzzard puppet, plus Guardian acclaimed, award-winning ex-drama student SUSIE BRILL.
As if that wasn't foreboding enough, SONNY and JOSIE have to contend with the money-extorting local menace SHUG, a tin-pot Scots gangster who is keen to collect ‘rent' on the venue – or burn it down trying. Unfortunately he has JOSIE's fiery resolve to contend with. Also causing the gang stress is the fact that a BBC talent scout is heading their way.
Can SONNY and the gang pull it off or is their ambition destined to go up in flames?
Hit focuses on a pair of professional assassins
– Simon & Archie – who are nearing the end of their
career and have to constantly justify their existence in a changing
world. The pair work for The Agency, a covert firm of contract operatives
that in many ways
bears a resemblance to a typical company or business, with
the same concerns about profitability and working practices.
The protagonists’ long-term working relationship, complete
with a blend of rivalry and co-operation, has become like a marriage.
Simon is fretful, sensitive and rather gullible whereas his literal
‘partner in crime’, Archie, is full of bravado and takes
a cavalier approach to just about everything. The series explores
the nature of long term friendship under unusual and otherwise unsettling
Other regular characters include Big Boss Man, the Agency’s
chief executive, a shrewd, cynical and thick-skinned leader who
nevertheless cares about the wellbeing of his workforce of hitmen
Each episode has the customary features of sitcom: frequent and
varied jokes; an engaging plot containing a problem for the protagonists
that rocks the status
quo, while comtaining surprises for the audience; plus comedy driven
by the interaction of distinctive characters.
(Romantic comedy film)
A young married professional couple - Giles and Sophie - whose
relationship seems already to be turning sour, discover a fresh
outlook when their sensibilities are inexplicably swapped. The change
is not a physical but a physiological one: he begins to think and
act like her, while she finds herself adopting his more boisterous
approach to life. Through their ensuing travails the couple learn
to empathise with each other, and truly discover 'how the other
half lives'. Other cast members include their parents and thirtysomething
friends and workmates, each struggling with personal and professional
(6 x 30-minute comedy series for a universal
Satire on sexual politics, focusing on a fictional men's movement.
Jonathan Steer rallies his band of Masculists against male oppression
and female indifference. This is a Britain where men have been gradually
devalued and undermined by the very society they helped to create
- the noble ideal of equality between the sexes meaning that men
have taken a back seat for so long they are in danger of becoming
an irrelevance. Steer is supported in his well-meaning yet hapless
crusade to highlight this fact by a core band of followers, consisting
of the street-wise Colin, the so-PC-it-hurts Harriet and the brain-dead
Brian. Their mission to restore some balance between the sexes is
in constant danger of being scuppered - either by chat show harpy
Linda Wilson, Steer's estranged wife Helen, or even their own benefactor,
the barking mad Sir George.
(6 x 30 minute sitcom series, for a universal
Twentysomething brothers TIM and STEVE LITTLE live together in
a rented terrace house in Croydon. It is the first time they have
cohabited since childhood - Steve, ever practical, has recently
finished university and is on a fast-track training scheme with
the police, while elder brother Tim, a dreamer, has drifted through
a succession of dead-end jobs and rented accommodation since school.
Tim works nights processing cheques for a bank - a job he hates.
Steve, on the other hand, is dead keen about his career. Steve has
an attentive, glamorous girlfriend, while Tim, the more sensitive
of the pair - ‘a good listener’ - regularly gets his
sympathetic approach rewarded by being used as the proverbial doormat:
‘They just wipe their feet and go’.
(6 x 30-minute sitcom series for a universal
Manic, somewhat zany character comedy focusing on a very peculiar
millennial family: two out-of-work zookeepers and their 'charge',
a pre-pubescent chimp named 'Steve'. The threesome - Baz, Roger
and Steve, share a cottage in the West Country where they are on
the run from the authorities (for 'kidnapping/rescuing' Steve following
their zoo's enforced closure). Baz and Roger behave like an old
married couple, although claiming (perhaps too much) to be 'fiercely
heterosexual'. Chimpanzee Steve at times appears the most human
of the three. Other regular characters include the fresh-faced village
bobby, Constable Young, and a local assortment of idiosyncratic
(6 x 30 minute sitcom series, for a universal audience)
The harassed but well-meaning manager of a small local garden centre
tries to cope with the demands of his staff and customers, while
trying to keep the business afloat in the age of the 'garden superstore'.
His venture has been backed by his father-in-law, a wealthy and
somewhat fierce local businessman. He is thus determined to let
down neither himself, his society wife, his father-in-law, nor the
assortment of oddballs and social inadequates who work for him.
This makes for a manic, stressful time for all concerned, especially
in the pilot episode when a visit from 'Ground Force' gardening
guru Alan Titchmarsh, hired to officially open the centre, descends
into an organisational nightmare.
(6 x 30-minute sitcom series, for a universal
Ensemble comedy examining the lives of a collection of characters
who make up the staff of a struggling estate agency. All human life
is here. The manager is a recovering alcoholic with a fierce temper
and a failed relationship with one of his female staff - a divorcee
with a teenage daughter - who is now, to make matters worse, having
a fling with the manager of a rival firm. Other characters include
a nervous spinster whose confidence to sell is at an all-time low,
a brash young wideboy who attempts to seduce his female clients,
and a drama student reluctantly temping at the agency while dreaming
of a life treading the boards.
(6 x 30-minute sitcom series, for adults)
A long-suffering, put-upon divorcee in his mid-thirties is alarmed
to discover the relative peace of his 'new life' shattered, when
his ex-wife moves into the same block of flats. Our protagonist,
who dreams of a career in film but in reality runs a local video
shop, shares his dwelling with an opinionated twentysomething lodger,
a student at the local university. The lodger, Ashley, unwittingly
depresses him even more with his endless stream of nubile girlfriends
and useless advice on his (lack of a) love life. The set up is the
arrogance of youth (Ashley) versus the melancholic reality of life
in the 'real world' (our main protagonist). Other regular characters
include our protagonist's gormless shop assistant, who is fond of
the odd 'jazz cigarette' while on the job, and his ex-wife's extended
circle of friends.
(6 x 30 minute sitcom for a universal audience)
A naive couple of born romantics attempt to swap the squalor
of their cramped existence in the city (where they feel abnormal
'for not having a drug habit') for the gentler, airier, pleasures
of life in the countryside. However, once settled among the hedgerows,
they begin to discover that life there isn't quite as idyllic as
they'd hoped. For their neighbours include a pair of permanently
stoned 'travellers', a coven of 'white witches', some unruly folk
musicians, a gang of ne'er-do-wells claiming to be students, and
the aged local Francophile who cruises around town in a battered
(6 x 30-minute sitcom series, for adults)
Updated twist on 70's flatshare comedy 'Man about the House', which
finds a outwardly laddish - yet inwardly vulnerable -twentysomething
unwittingly accepting a flatshare with two homosexuals. Our straight
protagonist has just split up with a long-term girlfriend and is
desperately looking forward to some 'male bonding' of the Loaded
variety. Our gay protagonists are a shy twentysomething only just
coming to terms with his own sexuality, and - by contrast - a more
experienced, more flamboyantly camp older cohabitant, who has 'seen
it all, done it all'. Further characters include the other residents
of the three-storey London abode; a retired couple who live in the
basement (nicknamed 'the mice' on account of their timid-ness),
and the ever-changing residents of the mysterious top floor flat.
| Depth Charge
(6 x 30 minute comedic drama serial for children)
Gripping serial set in a future Britain - where children face
a Government-imposed curfew - in which a band of youngsters from
a coastal town attempt to defeat an attempt to quietly dump toxic
waste offshore. They are aided in their attempt by the Soothsayer-like
figure of Agamemnon, who lives in a deserted shipyard. Other main
characters include a corrupt Government minister, the bumbling captain
of a submarine and his sidekick - a talking turbot (a mutant marine
by-product of the covert chemical dumping!).