Back in (I think) 2010, I was invited by a friend, Gareth Kavanagh, to submit a script for The First Manchester Sitcom Trials, taking place in The Lass O’Gowrie pub in Manchester.

Having played around with comedy and related ideas in the past (I may regale you with some of those at a later date) I decided to give it a go. While I didn’t win, I was satisfied with what I’d done. Sadly in the intervening years I haven’t had the chance to pursue other opportunities like this — it wasn’t long before I freelancing full-time — but I remain proud of creating characters and situations that still make me laugh.

Historical sitcoms don’t seem to be too in vogue; even 7 years later, we’ve only had Plebs, Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow and… well that’s it, apart from the sketch show Horrible Histories. I was heavily influenced by Blackadder when I created The Riding Officer, set in the one-time smuggling haven of Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire, a town whose illegal trade made it so affluent, it was second only to London. Clearly there is a lot of potential around this scenario.

The Riding Officer was submitted as a 10 minute script with setup and resolution, the latter of which would only be performed if the script passed muster, and was voted the winner. In the event, it was performed at the competition, but didn’t win. Here’s the recording:

Will it continue as a sitcom? I don’t know, but here’s the original The Riding Officer script,  and a revised full 30 minute attempt. Perhaps Edgar Rice Paper and Eric Thaknows will appear in another form, someday?

Let me know what you think.