Comedy producer comes to Cov

BBC PRODUCER Jon Plowman, the man behind over 45 shows and who in 2003 was awarded the title of ‘the most funny and influential people in Britain’ by The Observer, came to talk at Coventry Conversations last week about a lifetime in comedy.

Interviewed by John Mair, Plowman appeared down to earth and witty despite being one of the most biggest names in British comedy. “I learned how to produce comedy by just doing it”, said Plowman, “but it’s impossible to produce something you do not think is funny. Believe me I’ve tried!” Writes Catherine Cuello

Plowman added: “the most important thing about being a producer was probably to get it done on time and within the budget, and if it could also be topped off with it being funny, then great!”

He also believes it is more important to have a serious idea and a solid base for a story with funny characters, rather than having the characters read out jokes. “It is all about doing the things that have never been done before, don’t do things like the others do, so lose the formalities!”

His renowned sitcom ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ (1992) was known to be produced with very few scripts from writer, Jennifer Saunders: “It was nerve wrecking for me as the producer to never have a script”, admits Plowman. “Nevertheless, every time I would check up on her to see how things were going, she would say it would all be done by the weekend… she knew that was a lie, I knew that was a lie, but somehow it worked out and we produced 9 fabulous seasons!”

In recent years Plowman has been involved in some of the more risqué BBC comedy series including Little Britain, League of Gentlemen and Psychoville. These, among  others, contained what he referred to as ‘sweary language’, this led to the big discussion in comedy, what makes swearing so funny and is it necessary, something ‘The Thick Of It’ (2005) another one of Plowman’s credits, is renowned for: “A lot of paper work has to be filled out in order to be able to use the ‘F’ word”

Asked if he is worried of running out of hits Plowman simply laughed and replied: “peculiar people with funny stories never cease to stop coming my way so I believe there is leeway for more sitcoms or comedy/drama shows in the future!”

Finally he gave some advice to bright eyed, optimistic students hoping to get into the industry: “Don’t bother going into comedy it’s full.”

By Catherine Cuello

Additional Reporting Marc Johnson

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1 Comment

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One response to “Comedy producer comes to Cov

  1. Vimal

    Man I came back to India, you just missed me.

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