As a new series of Newsjack airs, we take a look at the key ingredients behind the sketches broadcast each episode...
It's that time of the year again, as comedy writers everywhere knuckle down for another 6 weeks of joke and sketch writing in the hope that their material will make it through to the hallowed ground that is a Newsjack broadcast episode.
I really like Newsjack sketches in that they showcase a classic sketch format and encourage a high gag-per-line ratio. If you want to be a comedy writer, you can do much worse than to master the art of a Newsjack sketch.
Each week I'll be looking briefly at each of the broadcast sketches to summarise their key ingredients - specifically identifying the Target, Message and Premise - all key ingredients when creating a comedy sketch (doubly so for topical material)
- I don't work or speak for the BBC or the Newsjack production team, or any of the writers - these are my thoughts alone.
- This is not an advice blog. Newsjack provide their own advice and guidance on writing for the show which you should read if you want to submit.
- I am happy to be corrected in my analysis - please get in touch as required!
Sketch Summary - Episode 1
Sketch 1 - Nuisance Calls
Story - Tighter nuisance call regulations come into force
Target - Theresa May
Message - She's rubbish at making trade deals
Premise - What if...Theresa May's trade deal negotiations are regarded as nuisance calls?
Technique used - Subject shift (Theresa May) / Format shift (Cold calling)
Sketch 2 - John McDonnell
Story - John McDonnell makes takes 'call off the dogs' comments literally
Target - John McDonnell / The Labour party
Message - Labour are avoiding tacking the issue of centre-left MPs being forced out
Premise - What if...John McDonnell takes everything literally?
Technique used - Logical extreme
Sketch 3 - The Borisguard
Story - Boris Johnson behaves badly / Tories compile a dirty dossier on him
Target - Boris Johnson
Message - Boris is a sexually charged nightmare
Premise - What if...the TV drama Bodyguard was about Boris Johnson?
Technique used - Format shift (TV Drama)
Sketch 4 - Middle age drinkers
Story - People in middle age are more likely to drink to excess than any other age group
Target - Middle age drinkers
Message - Middle age drinkers are over-privileged
Premise - What if...Stacey Dooley investigated middle-age drinkers?
Technique used - Format shift (TV investigative documentary)
Sketch 5 - Scallop wars
Story - Row over fishing rights leading to skirmishes at sea
Target - Sensationalised news
Message - Fishing disputes are being sensationalised by the media
Premise - What if...fishing disputes were treated by families like real wars?
Technique used - Format shift (TV War Drama) / Logical Extreme
Sketch 6 - Parliament hotline
Story - MPs are to get a free 24hr hotline to help them deal with their problems
Target - Karen Bradley
Message - Karen Bradley doesn't know anything about her new NI brief
Premise - What if...Karen Bradley was really stupid and phone the hotline for help
Technique used - Format shift (Telephone hotline) / Logical Extreme
Sketch 7 - Jamie Oliver gets burgled
Story - Jamie Oliver apprehends a burglar
Target - Jamie Oliver
Message - Jamie Oliver is really annoying
Premise - What if...Jamie Oliver tried to teach the burglar to cook
Technique used - Opposite expectations (A victim annoys a burglar)