TV Comedy Pilot Scripts by Women, For Women
The Award-winning broadcaster UKTV concludes the script call initiative with Female Pilot Club, run by award-winning writer Kay Stonham and actor/producer Emily Chase. Four finalists were chosen from over 340 script submissions:
- Hayley Tamaddon
- Leigh Douglas
- Nikki Patel
- Sydney Stevenson
Since 2019 Female Pilot Club has produced readings of new comedy scripts in front of live audiences with the cream of British comedy talent, including Kerry Howard, Arabella Weir, Jordan Stephens, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Sindhu Vee. This is the Club’s first collaboration with a broadcaster.
“Female Pilot Club exists to amplify brilliant female comedy voices and we’ve been proud to partner with UKTV on this groundbreaking initiative to find stories that foreground the lives of older women.” says Kay Stonham, “We were amazed and pleased to receive over 340 submissions from talented writers across the UK.”
The finalists are Hayley Tamaddon, Leigh Douglas, Nikki Patel and Sydney Stevenson:
Hayley Tamaddon is best known for playing Delilah Dingle in Emmerdale, and Andrea Beckett in Coronation Street. She also won the fifth series of ITV’s hit show, Dancing on Ice. She’s played leading roles in numerous West End musicals and TV series, and starred in the award winning film Eaten by Lions. Hayley loves to write comedy and is thrilled to be a part of this brilliant initiative.
Leigh Douglas is an actor, writer and stand-up comedian and trained at The Gaiety School of Acting: The National Theatre School of Ireland. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show, Sacrament, has been produced at Theatre Upstairs, Dublin, Vault Festival, and the King’s Head Theatre. Her comedy short, You’re Alright Hun, is screening at Kerry International Film Festival, FilmBath – Shorts and Los Angeles Queer Film Festival among others. She is currently developing her debut novel with Niamh O’Grady at The Soho Agency.
Nikki Patel began her creative career as a teenager, as series regular Amber on Coronation Street. She made her stage debut in a leading role at The Old Vic and starred opposite Derek Jacobi in Romeo & Juliet in the West End. Onscreen, she recently wrapped her first feature film Little English. Her audio work spans across radio, video games and audiobooks. Her first piece of writing, The Patels, is a love letter to the strongest person she knows: her mother.
Sydney Stevenson is a writer, actor and director whose motto in life is, “if in doubt, comedy it out.” Her writing includes Bubonic – long listed for the Papatango prize, M*n and Women – winner of the Voices From Home competition with Broken Silence Theatre, Next Door – an awkward love Story (Tabard Theatre), The Three Musketeers – Attempts by Foolhardy (online run 2021). Her acting credits include Misfits, Red Dwarf, Me and Mrs Jones and Doctors.
Female Pilot Club was founded with support from Comedy 50:50 by award-winning comedy TV and Radio writer Kay Stonham (My Family, Harry Enfield and Chums, Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, Shaun the Sheep), actor and writer Emily Chase (The Pact, Master Of None, Bad Salsa, Bloody Comedy TV), and writer Abigail Burdess (Tracey Ullman’s Show, Paddington, That Mitchell & Webb Look). The Club was founded to address inequality. Female writers continue to face challenges pursuing careers in the film and television industry. The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) revealed in their 2018 Gender Inequality and Screenwriters report that only 17% of comedy films made in the UK had at least one female writer, and that just 11% of TV sitcoms were predominantly female-written.
UKTV is also passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, and actively works towards a range of pillar strategies broaching areas such as leadership and responsibility, talent and development, culture and working environment, and on screen and production diversity. Recent projects run by the commissioning team include Rosie Jones’s Disability Extravaganza, a comedy showcase for up and coming disabled comedians which is now live on the Dave YouTube channel, and the upcoming All New Laughs pilots on Dave, which are the result of a WriterSlam to elevate TV writers from underrepresented groups.
Lindsey Rost, Development Executive – Scripted Comedy, UKTV, says, “We’re thrilled to be working with these four brilliant female comedy writers in partnership with Female Pilot Club. We received an incredibly strong batch of submissions, which goes to show once again that female and diverse comedy writing talent is out there for anyone looking for it. We have four fantastic, delightfully funny scripts all featuring female leads over the age of 45 that we can’t wait to showcase in the new year.”