EP106 – Jon Plowman – How to produce comedy bronze at the BBC.

Ask The Industry Podcast Comments

EP106 – Jon Plowman – How to produce comedy bronze at the BBC.


Total run time: 1 hour 25 mins 55 secs.

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About this episode…

Jon Plowman OBE (@bimpsonbun1) is a television and film producer who has been a Producer at the BBC since 1980. He’s worked on such iconic shows including A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Ab Fab, The Vicar of Dibley, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Psychoville, Little Britain and more. We got into the history of comedy at the BBC, how to get your show noticed, what the BBC is currently looking for and how he goes about finding it and so much more. His first book, How To Produce Comedy Bronze, is out now.

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BBC Producer…

  • You’re very similar to Henry Normal in that you play an instrumental role in some massive TV shows but remain largely unknown by the general public eclipsed by the stars of the shows you work on, do you ever wish more people knew who you were or that you were famous? [0 mins]
  • Is there too much comedy on TV? [8 mins]
  • Are commissioners being more risk averse [10 mins]
  • How did he discover the League of Gentlemen? [11 mins]
  • How did he transfer the League’s work from live to radio and then TV. [12 mins]
  • What keeps you wanting to develop shows with a public broadcaster rather than a private one like Sky? [25 mins]
  • What’s happened to the collective viewing experience? [34 mins]
  • What’s the process of getting something made and seen by him and the BBC? [36 mins]
  • How do you make sure your idea isn’t too close to something already in development. [36 mins]
  • How do you scout for new talent? [45 mins]
  • How do you avoid being pushed about by agents who want to make one of their roaster famous? [48 mins]
  • I read a quote in the Telegraph which might be made up, that said – ‘You could look at everything I’ve produced over the last few years,’ he says, trying to help, ‘and analyse a very sick man who has a very sick, sad sense of humour and lives a tragic life, surrounded by a lot of very dominant women’. [49 mins]
    • There’s a lot of people saying there’s not enough representation on TV of women and basically anything that isn’t white men, do you agree? [51 mins]
  • What do you think of PC culture and being politically correct? [1 hour]
    • And do you think it takes being dominant to get a show commissioned?
  • What I like most about the shows you’ve worked on is that they’re ”star vehicles”. IE if the star dies the show couldn’t go on. Do you think these are still as popular when you started? And why are you so attracted to them? [16 mins]
  • What are his thoughts on social media, how does twitter feedback impact the creation of a show? [1 hour 5 mins]

Everything else…

  • What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and how did you get over it? [1 hour 12 mins]
  • What are the common misconceptions people have about what you do?
  • What is the most interesting thing you do that nobody else ever seens?
  • Who do you think is the most underrated person in the TV industry? [1 hour 17 mins]








Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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