Monday, 28 September 2009

Series 3 sorted

So we recorded four episodes of Hut 33 in the last few days - two on Friday 25th and two on Sunday 27th. We recorded two in May. So that's the whole third series in the can. The series starts on BBC Radio 4 on 14th October at 11.00am (or thereabouts).

I'd like to dwell briefly on the writing process - especially in relation to the results on the night. On Sunday night, we recorded two episodes that took highly varying lengths of time to write. The Big Machine took weeks to produce and ended up going to five drafts. It was an obvious area for an episode - building a computer - but the plot took a long time to come together. Despite a lengthy outline that seemed okay, it didn't quite come together in the first two drafts. But eventually, a script was done. And then dusted.

Because of this, there was limited time available to write the final script, Unlucky for Some, an episode about superstition and luck. It only required two drafts to get across the line, which was fortunate as that was all there was time for! I was a bit worried about going for this topic for an episode as I'd looked at it a number of times and couldn't quite find a story from it that worked. But something came along and it zipped along fairly well. And any concerns about the lack of time on the script were swept aside on the night. Unlucky for Some went extremely well - and probably better than the heavily worked and rewritten Big Machine.

On balance, it wasn't the time spent, but the source of the plots. The Unlucky for Some plot stemmed from the characters and became a clash of world-views - Archie being a rationalist, Gordon being superstitious and naive, and Charles being a Catholic - whereas The Big Machine was more about the concept of technology. Both had plenty of jokes and the audience seemed to like them, but if I had to chose one, it would be Unlucky for Some.

As it happens, both episodes recorded on Friday 25th went even better - the matinee audience were very appreciative. Naturally, the cynics will complain that the laughter is canned. But it isn't. It really isn't. People really do have a nice time at the reocrdings.