29th September 2005
CHANNEL 4 ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF THE NEW COMEDY WRITING INITIATIVE 2005
Today Channel 4 announced the winners of its new Comedy Writing Initiative 2005. The standard was so high that the judges took the decision to award an additional two entrants a joint-second prize. Team writers Helen Keen, 28, and Miriam Underhill 29, who are both currently working as office temps, won first prize. Second prize went to duo Henry White, 26, and Andy Sissons, 27, who run an animation production company together, and to Kevin Winch, 30, a paramedic.
The competition, launched in May, asked entrants to submit a three-minute topical monologue for a quintessential C4 show of their choice, and three non-topical sketches of no more than three minutes each in length. Since the initiative was announced, the supporting website had over 36,000 hits and over 1,500 entries were received.
The winners will now be given the opportunity to write for a range of Channel 4 comedy and entertainment shows. A £10,000 commission has been awarded to Helen and Miriam and a £5,000 commission each to Kevin Winch and writing team Henry White and Andy Sissons.
Helen Keen from Bridlington, East Yorkshire and Miriam Underhill from Twickenham, Middlesex, are currently temping in London. They met at Cambridge University; Helen studied English, and Miriam read Philosophy. They started writing comedy 18 months ago because they were ‘scared they were going to spend the rest of their lives as temps doing photocopying’. Their diverse influences include Brass Eye, Friends, Bob Monkhouse and The League of Gentlemen. Helen is also a keen stand-up comedian, and this year she was a finalist in the Funny Women competition held at The Comedy Store.
Runners-up Henry White, from London, and Andy Sissons, from Doncaster, also met at University and began writing comedy almost immediately. Before completing their degree in Media Production at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle, they set up an animation production company, which they continue to run. They began publishing their work on-line and now make animated content for Web and TV. Their comedy favourites include Big Train, Vic and Bob, Chris Morris and Peep Show.
Joint runner-up Kevin Winch is married and from Chatham in Kent. He works as a paramedic and has previously worked as a postman, a specialist care worker and security guard. Kevin cites his work as a paramedic as his inspiration for his writing and his favourite shows are Scrubs and Peep Show. His keen interest in the genre has led him to write his own scripts as a leisure pursuit. This is the first time he has entered a writing competition.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Channel 4 issued the following press release (the web link is registration only, so I've pasted it in full).