Creativity in the British Television Comedy Industry  book cover
1st Edition

Creativity in the British Television Comedy Industry

ISBN 9780367595975
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
202 Pages

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Book Description

What is it like to make television comedy? How do writers get their ideas made, and how do commissioners and producers decide what to make? How do members of the comedy industry work with large broadcasters and production companies, and what does it mean to be creative – and stay creative?

Drawing on interviews with many key writers such as Sam Bain, Paul Doolan, Graham Linehan, David Mitchell, Simon Nye and Sue Teddern, producers including Ash Atalla, Lisa Clark, Michelle Farr, Ali McPhail, Jon Plowman and Adam Tandy, and commissioners, the BBC’s Shane Allen, Channel 4’s Nerys Evans and Sky’s Lucy Lumsden, Creativity in the British Television Comedy Industry explores the creative processes that lead to successful programme-making.

With detailed discussion of the processes by which series such as People Just Do Nothing and After Hours came to our screens, this book examines how members of the comedy industry maintain careers, manage failure, develop their craft, and stay creative.

Creativity in the British Television Comedy Industry is essential reading for students and researchers with an interest in comedy studies, television production, and the creative/media industries.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: What is Creativity?

  1. Introduction

  2. Defining ‘Creativity’

  3. The Creative Person

  4. Creativity and Society

  5. Creativity and Policy

  6. Creativity as Work

  7. Creativity and Comedy

Chapter 2: The UK Television Comedy Industry

  1. Introduction

  2. The BBC

  3. ITV

  4. Channel 4

  5. Imported Comedy

  6. Sky

  7. Current Issues

Chapter 3: Creativity and New Writers

  1. Introduction

  2. A Desirable Industry?

  3. The Individual and the Industry

  4. Case Study 1: People Just Do Nothing

  5. Case Study 2: After Hours

  6. Case Study 3: The Script Editor

  7. Conclusion

Chapter 4: Creativity and Established Writers

  1. Introduction

  2. The Creative Career

  3. Gender and Age

  4. Having a Career

  5. Precarity and Planning

  6. Mentoring and Support

  7. Conclusion

Chapter 5: Creativity and Established Programmes

  1. Introduction

  2. Culture as an Industry

  3. Creative Teams

  4. Maintaining Individuality

  5. Being Recommissioned

  6. The Craft Industry

  7. Personnel

  8. Conclusion

Chapter 6: Creativity and Failure

  1. Introduction

  2. Working with Failure

  3. The Scale of Failure

  4. Managing Failure

  5. Failure and Industry Structures

  6. Personnel

  7. Conclusion

Chapter 7: So, What is Creativity?

  1. Introduction

  2. Creativity Must be Claimed

  3. Creativity is Work

  4. Creativity is Craft

  5. Creativity is Hierarchised

  6. Creativity is Pleasurable

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Brett Mills is Senior Lecturer in Television Studies at the University of East Anglia and is an affiliated researcher at the Centre for Comedy Studies Research, Brunel University. He is the author of Television Sitcom (2005) and The Sitcom (2009).

Erica Horton is a PhD student at the University of East Anglia. Her research focuses on discursive constructions of creativity within the British television comedy industry with a particular focus on Channel 4.