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BBC Comedy and BBC Academy join forces to find the next generation of comedy multi-camera directors


Four lucky recruits have embarked on a week-long training course which helped launch the careers of the directors of Peep Show and The Catherine Tate Show this week.

The Directing Multi-Camera Course for Comedy has been developed by the BBC Academy to address the need highlighted by Mark Freeland, Head of Comedy and Jez Nightingale, Head of Production, Comedy, for more multi-camera directors in the industry.

Produced by Geoff Posner who directed some of the most popular British television comedies of the Ninetiess and Noughties, including French & Saunders and Little Britain, the six-day course offers the delegates a unique opportunity.

As well as creating and producing their own project in the studio with three actors of their choice over the six days, at the end of the course each of the four will get a multi-camera placement within BBC Comedy, for up to 14 weeks.

These placements will be across the UK and have been supported by BBC HR and North West Vision and Media. They will provide the opportunity to be part of the production process, working with an existing director to gain invaluable on-the-job experience. During their placements they will also receive ongoing mentoring from Geoff Posner.

Jez Nightingale said: "The big win with the scheme is the combination of a week’s intensive training coupled with tangible hands-on experience amongst a multi-camera comedy production.

"When setting up the scheme we were very conscious of the need for more talented multi-camera directors in Comedy for the BBC across the UK and the external market and this also chimes with the need for the BBC to have a wider representation of our audiences across the whole UK.

“As the four trainees embark on their placements I am confident they will establish strong working relationships with comedy executives and producers which will hopefully carry them on to working on future projects in comedy.”

Mark Freeland said: “By helping develop the skills of new multi-camera directors, I hope that we keep the flame of audience sitcom burning brightly. When it’s got right, it’s still a potent and wonderful entertainment format.”

Anne Morrison added: “This scheme is an excellent example of the BBC Academy working with programme makers to answer a crying need in the industry. We hope that the new multi-camera directors we are training will go on to make great programmes for us at the BBC but also that it will be of huge benefit to the comedy industry in general to have more trained directors available.”

The four successful candidates were chosen from across the industry following an extensive selection process: they are Natalie Bailey, Peter Rowe, Matt Bloom and Noreen Kershaw.

A similar course also developed by the Academy and Comedy ran in 2002. Delegates included Becky Martin, who went on to direct Peep Show Series 4 and 5 and Two Pints Of Lager, and Gordon Anderson who has directed both The Catherine Tate Show and The Inbetweeners.

The course is running this week at BBC Academy’s training facilities at Wood Norton, near Evesham.


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