Ian Burrell: Revealed - what makes a comedy boss laugh

Media studies Not much gets past BBC's head of comedy Shane Allen, who has a stern warning for all "laugh manufacturers" at the BBC, as set out in an email which has been leaked to me.

"I know you're all dignified and respectful professionals who wouldn't re-pitch previously rejected projects," he says. "Warning – you could be subject to a £1,000 fine for fly-tipping any old script mattresses and washing machines."

Aside from this harrumph, Allen brims with enthusiasm for his new role (having jumped ship from Channel 4) and sets out in detail his vision for bringing humour to the various BBC channels.

BBC1, he says, is "the least pitched and most watched" channel, reflecting the fear in the television comedy community of the "huge glare" faced by new shows on that network. Allen recommends the "soft launch" of the 10.30pm slot, which worked for Mrs Brown's Boys. He is excited about BBC1's upcoming Car Share sitcom, starring Peter Kay, a silent comedy from Matt Lucas and a sitcom written by David Walliams.

By contrast, BBC2 is "the most pitched of all places". Allen hopes for a "return to big daft classic form for BBC2" in the shape of House of Fools from Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, and Count Arthur Strong who transitions from Radio 4 (hooray from me on that) to the 8.30pm slot.

For BBC3, Allen (who was at the centre of Frankie Boyle controversy at C4) wants "more subversive or outlandish ideas". BBC4 he sees as "a growth platform for BBC2", an opportunity for "those ideas that needed time to grow".

He's less positive about radio where he admits to be "digging away slowly and not so surely" after six months in post. "Financially you're looking at [£]11/12k an [episode] which isn't get rich quick money but it's worth considering", he tells scriptwriters.

Overall, in an era when all media platforms want humour to lighten the mood, Allen and those who depend on him are well-placed. "Basically," he says, "in comedy land we're going to be ok in the future as we're a much sought genre."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most