Around the 42 minutes mark, the latest episode of Nerds Assemble has scriptwriter James Henry answer various questions about writing and scriptwriting and other cool things you may want to know if you’re writing in the UK. There was insight into UK series length and how best to get represented by an agent. Here are some of the questions and answers.
Q. Why do most UK shows seem to have one series, two at max?
James: What like Doctor Who or Coronation Street?
Emily: I think he’s probably referring to series like Spaced or Black Books.
James: Is it possible he’s thinking more of comedy? […] It’s actually very hard to get people back for a third series in a comedy show. That was the thing with Green Wing, we did two series and a Christmas Special. […] It had kind of run out of steam anyway, but trying to get all that cast back again for a third series was just, I think, gonna be impossible.
Peter: Was type casting a problem? The fear of typecasting?
James: I don’t know. I think, to be honest, they were all proper actors […] I couldn’t blame them for wanting to go and do something else. They were all broad characters and I think there’s only so long you can play characters that sort of big and broad before it just becomes empty. And I think it was right on the cusp and everyone decided the wise thing to leave it where it is.
But it is a bit of a British thing. It’s like with Fawlty Towers that got two series. There’s a thing with British comedy – it’s seen as am honourable thing to bow out while you haven’t f**ked it up or something.
Q. A massive issue with regards to any aspiring writer, myself included to some degree, is the issue of representation – finding an agent. Do you have any tips or insights into the process of getting an agent or how you made those steps towards professional writing within film, TV and literature and how an agent interacts with that?
James: Yeah, if you don’t already know – it’s a nightmare. It’s a classic Catch-22, because you don’t… because it’s very hard to get an agent until you’ve done some work and of course it’s incredibly hard to get the work until you’ve got an agent. […]
Find out James’s best tips on getting an agent and how not to run a Dungeons and Dragon campaign by listening to the latest episode of Nerds Assemble from about 42 minutes onwards. (You’re lucky that I’ve transcribed this much.)