Monday, February 20, 2017

Warm Up Dates For Series 5

Hello there. I hope this finds you well... I'm writing this from a new production office where I'm currently sitting around, trying to remember how we make Modern Life Is Goodish. You'd think that after four series and 28 episodes I'd be able to remember something of the process... and yet, every time we start again I find myself cowed by the sheer scale of the task ahead. I'm sure we'll muddle through.

Still, there's a table-tennis table down stairs, so that's a good start.

That's not the only good news. It seems the series has been nominated for a Chortle award. That's nice. It's one of those where people vote online. What's the correct way of handling this? Not mentioning it seems a bit wilfully aloof. Begging your indulgence feels a bit needy. It is what it is. Do what you do. Let us never talk of this again.

More tangible is the news that some of the warm up shows for series 5 have been scheduled.

It would be lovely to wait until they were all organised and to then tell you in one, complete post... but they are more spread out than in previous years so that won't work. So far there are shows in both Andover and Aldershot in May, in Cambridge in July and in Reading in November. The details for all of those are on the Live Dates page of my site. There will be another set in September and there'll be a new season of Screen Guild shows being announced soon too.

Of course, all this means that the free tickets for the fifth series recordings will be released soon enough. My mailing list always gets first dibs for these and for the last two series all the tickets have gone on the first day... so, if you're interested in coming along, now would be a timely time to sign up...

Join - or leave - the mailing list here:
Enter your name and email address below:
Subscribe Unsubscribe

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Radio Times...

Well, this is a nice list to be in...

... of course, you don't have to use the catch up service... you can also watch it on telly. There's a new episode on tonight as it happens.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Mickypedia... and a Taskmaster shirt

Well I've been blown away by the response to episode 1 of series 4... thanks to everyone that has been in touch. Doing live continuity on the night sure makes it fly by...

I'm going to try and keep this relatively spoiler-free... but if you haven't seen the show yet - and want to, well it's repeated on Saturday night at 10... or you can watch it on UKTVPlay, here.

It's often the case with these shows that a lot of people ask the same question... and the nature of social media means that it doesn't matter how many times you answer it... the answer never gets seen by everyone. I like to try and reply to people if I can... and sometimes the easiest way is to put an answer here. I know people will still ask it... but at least I'll have something I can link to by way of reply.

And with this episode, the thing people most want to know about is Mickypedia...

So, to answer your questions... we couldn't have an obvious camera in the green room because its presence would have flagged up that something unusual was going on. But we did have a small, hidden camera in there capturing something. But we haven't used it for very good reasons.

Firstly... that first episode is absolutely packed. There isn't really anything we can cut to make room for it... and what you see on the show is what the audience in the venue saw.

Secondly, Micky is a smart chap. Imagine you were him. Play the show through in your mind... and imagine being him watching it unfold. The moment that makes the audience gasp in shock and delight, isn't the moment he realises what's been going on... if you're him and you know what he knows, there have been plenty of clues before that. And there isn't really a way of playing the moment he does realise into the show because at that point the audience hasn't yet got the full picture.

I suppose what people are really interested in, is seeing how Micky reacted when I came into the Green Room after the show was finished. The truth is he took it very well. I think people in that situation are mainly pleased that things finally make sense. And there was obviously no malice involved, indeed it was all done with a great deal of affection. I think the fact that it had spiralled beyond its original target and become something bigger - made it feel like it wasn't just about him.

But Micky's first reaction was, "I'm not having my face anywhere near it... and please don't put my surname in." And I think he's wise to think that way. It's a courtesy we always afford to people who's tweets or facebook posts we use.... assuming they're not celebs anyway. Because we don't want them to have to deal with people getting in touch - for good or bad reasons. And Micky's no different. He's very happy that it happened... but doesn't want to deal with the fall out every time the show is on. And that's fair enough!

Oh, if you're on my mailing list, you might remember that, throughout the previous three series I've given away various bits and pieces from the show from time to time. I've had a few people asking if I'm going to do the same this year. And seeing as you've asked... yes I will.

I'll start with the next episode... and seeing as there's no obvious thing to give away from episode 1, I'll give away one of my Taskmaster shirts instead.

The one in this photo...

At which point, I expect a few people who watched the series will say, "hang on, Dave... didn't you take a knife to that shirt? Hasn't that shirt been cut up and distributed to far flung corners of West London?"

To which the answer is... "that did happen to an identical shirt... but it wasn't actually that shirt."

The thing with Taskmaster is that the tasks happen over several days spread across various months. I'd spend a day at the house doing various tasks by myself alone (well, with a camera crew and Alex) and the others would all do the same. And when that's happening, they don't know which tasks will sit together in which episodes. And so the easiest thing is for everyone to have a particular outfit that they wear for all of those filming days. And because the tasks are sometimes messy - for example, one of them involved some people rolling in goose poo - it's essential to have more than one outfit so that you can change into something less goose-poo-y. So I had more than one of those shirts.

And the publicity shots were taken after the tasks... so I know that the one I'm offering up as a prize is the one I was wearing that day. Phew, I think that's clear.

Some people ask me why I do it via the mailing list rather than, say, on Twitter. The reason is... I don't want to use the competitions to spread the word about the show. Obviously, I'm delighted if people want to spread the word about the show - but doing so because you want to means much more than doing so because you want to win a prize. And it's not exactly a big prize. In fact, I think it's medium. But you know what I mean. I don't want to generate a load of twitter spam.

I also think it's nice to do things uniquely for those on the mailing list. So if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning that shirt... or you just want to have advance notice of what I'm up to, or when tickets are released for series 5 etc etc... then you can sign up below. 

Join - or leave - the mailing list here:
Enter your name and email address below:
Subscribe Unsubscribe

Monday, November 7, 2016

(Not Humble) Bragging

There have been some nice previews for the new series. Please forgive me for the non-humble bragging that goes along with sharing these things... but, y'know, months of work goes into the series so it would be a bit perverse to not try and persuade some people to watch it...

"He handles his audience like a DJ at a club, beginning with a thoughtful set about guilty pleasures before building to a story about a complicated trick he once played on a know-all friend known as Micki-Pedia, the punchline of which has the audience gasping with delight." Victoria Segal, The Sunday Times.

'"King of PowerPoint comedy" isn’t a viciously contested mantle, but Gorman deserves praise for having mastered his craft…He has a pleasing streak of curmudgeon, and is as skilled with a comic callback as he is with his slides: his climatic anecdote about an online quiz is sublime.' Jack Seale, The Guardian

“The man is at his funniest when at his most exasperated or expressing amused disbelief, partly because his voice goes up several octaves, so we’re looking forward to plenty more of that over the course of six episodes”
Jason Arnopp, Heat  ★★★★

"We're not entirely sure what to call Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish. The part stand-up, part storytelling, part experiment show is hard to define, but we do know it makes us laugh out loud."
Daily Star, Big TV.

And the show has been 'pick of the day' in the Guardian Guide, the Daily Mail’s Weekend, Mail On Sunday's Event magazine, The Times, The Sunday Times, the Sun’s TV Magazine, the Mirror’s We Love TV, People and RTE’s Guide as well as ‘digital choice’ in the Telegraph.


Have I mentioned that the series starts on Tuesday night. At 10pm. On Dave.

The idiots are even letting me back in to do the live continuity on the night again...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday, Tuesday, Sunday.

First of all, a big thank you to everyone for being so understanding about my poor health and the knock on effect its had on the production of Series 4 of Modern Life Is Goodish.

A few people have asked if it means the series will be returning later than originally planned... and the answer to that is that it won't. While we're taping the final episodes a couple of weeks later than originally scheduled, we'll still be delivering the series by our original deadline. So it won't affect the broadcast dates.

That said, I'm not sure when the first episode is scheduled to broadcast, as yet. But it will be on this year. The reason it's starting later than in previous years is that we started work on it later than in previous years - and that's on account of the Gorbaby.

In other news, it seems that lots of things I recorded at different times during this year are all about to be broadcast in relatively quick succession. In the next seven days there are three. One was filmed in April, another in May - but also in December 2015, January, February and March of this year - and the third was taped in September.

First up, is Dara O'Briain's Go 8 Bit.

Those of you who came along to the last Goodish recording will know that I don't really do computer games. That said, I am a big fan of McNeil and Pamphilon - who are the team captains and creators of this show.

I've booked them for my Screen Guild gigs in the past and have been along to watch their live show many times. The fact that I know nothing about the computer games world but still love that show probably proves something or other... but really, I just don't think the success or failure of a comedy is ever really to do with what it's about.

For what it's worth, I did make sure that they knew I was almost completely ignorant about computer games before I said yes, so they did know what a complete ignoramus they were taking ob.

I already can't remember what happened in the show, other than I came away from it seriously thinking about buying a console. Then I didn't buy one and the feeling soon passed. Anyway, it was huge fun to do... and it's on tonight at 10pm. On Dave.

Meanwhile, tomorrow night, sees the start of Series 3 of Taskmaster. This will be on Tuesday nights at 10pm for the next five weeks. Also on Dave.

This was such a joy to do - in part, I think, because it's such a contrast to how I normally work.

When I'm doing a live show - or Modern Life Is Goodish - I'm running a powerpoint presentation.

My tour shows normally contain between 600 and 800 slides. An episode of the TV show normally contains between 300 and 400. When I press the remote control the next slide - or sequence of slides - appears. And the order can't change. So that's 100s of tiny moments - one every ten seconds or so - that have been planned in advance and that have to run in a given order. It is - and makes no pretence at being otherwise - planned in great detail in advance.

On Taskmaster, nothing is planned in advance. At least not by the contestants. None of us - for series 3 it's Al Murray, Paul Chowdry, Rob Beckett, Sara Pascoe and myself - ever knew what a task would entail until we opened the envelope on camera. We all did our tasks in isolation. Apart from on one day when there were some team tasks. On any given day I was probably set six or seven tasks. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But it was only in the studio that we would find out how our fellow contestants had approached each task and - given how many weeks had elapsed since we'd actually done the things - there were many times when I had no idea how I'd done until I saw the tape play out in the studio.

There are moments of awful embarrassment as well as occasional, odd triumphs along the way. But my main recollection of the recordings is simply of laughing. Because taking part in Taskmaster means getting the best seat in the house to watch Taskmaster from.

And finally - for now - The Chase; the kind of show that seems like a good idea... right up until you first step up to the plate to face your first questions... at which point, it seems like a very bad idea indeed. My team mates were Nigel Havers, Melinda Messenger and Michelle Hardwick and the team spirit turned it into a good day out - but I can't tell you much more about what happened because on a show like The Chase, everything's a spoiler.

There is at least one moment where I make a bit of an arse of myself so let me say this in advance: I didn't hear the year!

Oh, and my chosen charity was, as always, Shelter.

In brief... should you want to catch - or avoid - any of the following, this is when they're on...

Monday, October 3rd, 10pm on Dave: Dara O'Briain's Go 8 Bit.

Tuesday, October 4th, 10pm on Dave: Taskmaster. (And every Tuesday night up to and including November 1st, for that matter)

Sunday, October 9th, 7pm on ITV: The Chase

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

From my sickbed...

As some of you who have bought tickets for the dry runs in Cambridge will already know, I'm not very well. I can't remember the last time I had to cancel a show due to ill-health... but I guess it happens to all of us. My apologies to anyone who had bought tickets.

Unfortunately, the nature of these shows - they were dry runs in advance of the next recording for Series 4 of Modern Life Is Goodish - means that missing them has a knock-on effect. 

I don't write scripts for what I do - I build powerpoint. When I'm putting the slides together I have an idea in my head as to what I want to communicate; the point I'm making and where I think the funny is... but I find that if I try to learn a script it comes out sounding second hand. I no longer sound like someone with a story to tell to an audience, more like someone with a thing to recite in front of an audience.

Which is why I do the dry runs. It's on stage at those shows that the 'writing' happens. That's where I find the words. It's also where I do the editing; cutting or adding stuff each night until I have a show that works in four parts that roughly fit in the holes required to make the telly show. In short, the dry runs aren't a luxury, they're how the show is written.

Unfortunately, I'm not just ill enough to stop me from travelling to Cambridge and performing... I'm also too ill to sit at a desk for 8 hours powerpointing each day. (What do you mean, that's not a verb? It is now.) 600+ slides take time to build and get right.

Which means that right now - no part of the writing process is happening. The powerpoint doesn't exist and can't be created by someone else because that's how I write material. And the words don't exist because I'm not able to go on stage and find the words. And so, even if I am well enough to walk, talk and think on Sunday - and I hope I will be - there won't be two hours of new material for me to perform because the writer is currently off sick. (That's me. I know you got it... but... well, y'know...)

So as well as cancelling these three dry runs in Cambridge, we've also had to postpone the next recording. And schedule three new dry runs to make sure there are two shows to record. We tried to find dates that worked in Cambridge as that would have been the easiest way of trying to make things as right as we can with those who have bought tickets... but sadly that wasn't possible.

So with apologies for everyone that's been inconvenienced, here's what it means for various folks.

If you had a ticket for the shows on September 25th, 27th or 30th, tickets will be refunded. Contact the venue if you don't hear from them.

If you had a ticket for the recording on Sunday, October 2nd, you should have received an email from TVRecordings with details on how to rebook for the new date if you can. Obviously we want those people to have first dibs. The new date is Monday, October 17th.

If you want to come to one of the new dry runs: They're in Fareham - at the lovely Ashcroft Arts Centre.Those dates are: October 10th, 12th and 15th and you can get tickets for those here.

Once again, I apologise to those who are inconvenienced. Trust me; moving a recording is a big decision that isn't taken lightly... we really don't have a choice.

And now... on doctor's orders, I sleep.