The British Sitcom Guide

Writers Area WRITERS' AREA

Comedy Writing Area : Step-By-Step Writing Guide

1. Be Committed
2. Buy the Books
3. Get the Fresh Idea
4. Create A Protagonist
5. Create Conflict
6. Write Your First Episode
7. Attend A Course
8. Get Feedback
9. Send it Off
10. Sell it
Monster! STEP 4 - CREATE A FASCINATING PROTAGONIST

Once you've found your situation it is time to think up your characters. It is critical you get this step right as, contrary to the label, 'situation comedy' is actually more about characters than situations.

Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) from Fawlty Towers

People watch sitcom for the monsters. Brent, Meldrew, Mainwaring, Bouquet. Though not all sitcoms are as extreme, the most memorable are because of the characters, who are larger than life but also very much of life.

Getting it right is very tricky. Even the professionals make mistakes: a classic example being the first series of ' Blackadder ' - the rather-too-snide Edmund nearly sunk the programme before it had even properly begun.

There is no way we can cover the art of getting the characters right on this page so it is time to crack open the books you've hopefully bought by now (if not head back to step 2 ). The two best tutorials we've found are Chapter 4 in 'How to be a Sitcom Writer' and Chapter 2 in 'Writing Sitcoms'.


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