EP 05 – David Quantick (TV / radio writer for The Day Today, Brass Eye, Spitting Image & author)

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EP 05 – David Quantick (TV / radio writer for The Day Today, Brass Eye, Spitting Image & author)

Total run time: 1 hour 26 minutes 36 seconds.

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About David Quantick…

David is a writer who started at NME reviewing bands and has since gone on to write TV shows including The Day Today, Brass Eye and Spitting Image. As well as radio shows including On The Hour & Blue Jam.

He also created the world’s first internet sitcom “Junkies” and has published several books including “How To Write Anything” and his latest book which he is currently crowdfunding called “The Mulebuy it here.

Here are a list of the questions we covered…

Freelance journalist…

  • According to my research you started writing at NME. Is that write? How did you get that job? [4 mins 2 secs]
  • What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a journalist? [4 mins 30 secs]
  • Would you recommend specialising? [6 mins 50 secs]
  1. NUJ
  • In the early days, what bit of work really made him think “Do you know what? I think I’d like to do this for a living” [8 mins 10 secs]

Other questions…

  • Did he ever turn a particular piece of work or project down and regret doing so? And I suppose by the same token. Any regrets getting involved in one too? [ 1 hour 8 mins 45 secs ]
  1. Graham Linehan

Writer and critic who specialises in music and comedy…


  • Submitting jokes to Spitting Image. Was that emailing the jokes in like NewsJack or were you commissioned? [9 mins 45 secs]
  • How would you receive unsolicited material that is sent to you? [ 12 mins  42 secs ]
  • Having written a Doctor Who audio serial (and joined a whole host of comedy writers who’ve done likewise – Douglas Adams, Graham Duff, Steven Moffat) how close are comedy and sci-fi as genres? Why don’t we see more people trying both? [1 hour 9 mins 25 secs]
  1. Gravity.
  • The protests which Brass Eye 2001 Special got, did you get any negative comments directed at you personally? [1 hour 3 mins 58 secs]
  • What was your favourite show / radio series / joke you’ve been involved with? [ 1 hour 5 mins 25 secs]
  1. Malcolm Tucker talking to Chris Addison about Star Wars.
  • Do you prefer writing with other people or on your own? [15 mins 35 secs ]
  • What is the main difference in writing for TV vs radio? [55 mins 05 secs]
  1. The Blaggers Guide
  2. Veep
  • What do you think of the argument that TV comedy dead unless you are the blandest comedian in the world? [ 56 mins 45 secs ]
  1. Limmy
  • What advice would you give to people thinking of developing their own sitcom? [1 hour 19 mins 41 secs]
  1. Shooting People.
  • Is it harder or easier to join a writing team to an established show or do you prefer being in from the start? [19 mins 52 sec ]
  • You wrote an episode of Doctor Who, how did that come about? Did you have an idea and write it ? Or did you get commissioned? How does that show operate. [1 hour 14 mins 10 secs]
  • Any advice for comedy writers? [9 mins 45 secs]
  • How often do you see new faces at writing tables? What do the opportunities look like for new acts? [1 hour 6 mins 28 secs]
  • What motivational advice would you give writers who have got rejection letters? [1 hour 7 mins 21 secs]
  • What should I do after writing a script? (for TV and radio) [1 hour 15 mins 24 secs]
  • Do you think you’ve limited yourself creatively / financially by deciding you mainly want to write alone? [1 hour 23 mins 15 secs]
  • You’ve written with a similar group of writers in TV and radio, what are your thoughts of collaboration and teamwork? [1 hour 21 mins 37 secs]
  1. Porridge
  2. Auf Wiedersehen, Pet


  • How did you get to write for On the Hour? [ 20 mins 49 secs ]
  • Do you like writing limitations? [22 mins 4 secs]
  1. How to write everything.
  2. Jim Jarmusch film Down by Law
  3. David Bowie
  • Radio used to be an incubator for major talent ( Douglas Adams, Chris Morris, the Mighty Boosh, Laura Solon – the writer’s medium, it used to be called ). Lately it seems sidelined – the web apparently offers a quicker route to better paid options. If we lose radio as a route or end in itself, which essential parts of comedy have we lost? [29 mins 21 sec]
  • Can you make a living through writing for radio? [1 hour 14 mins 47 secs]
  • Does he agree that it was the Russell Brand / Jonathon Ross radio incident that has killed inventive and challenging comedy in the BBC or is it more due the directors stifling creativity? [1 hour 16 mins 34 secs]
  • Ask him does he think the quality of BBC TV and radio comedy writing has significantly dropped over the last few years? [1 hour 16 mins 34 secs]


  • The Junkies – first online sitcom in 2000. What advice would you give people who want to distribute their sitcom or shows over the internet? [32 mins 06 sec]
  • What mistakes did you make that you would do differently? [32 mins 06 sec]
  • Is it commercially available? Thoughts on Go Faster Stripe? [33 mins 45 secs]
  • Do you think more TV shows should be shared online for free? [ 34 mins 45 secs]
  • What was the end goal with the experient? [32 mins 06 sec]
  • Is self publication (like this podcast) the way to be discovered as a comedy writer or are there still opportunities in the big production companies to be employed to create. If yes, how would he go about it? [ 1 hour 5 mins 52 secs ]


  • What is Unbound and why have you picked to go with them to publish your latest book “The Mule”? [39 mins 11 secs]
  • How did you start writing books and how did you continue to get the work? [40 mins 41 secs]
  • What books do you have upcoming and how did they come about? [42 mins 19 secs]
  1. The Mule
  2. How To Be A Writer
  • How have you found your agent in finding work? Do you need an agent? [ 43 mins 10 secs ]
  • How helpful is social media in crowdfunding? And promoting yourself? [ 46 mins 26 secs ]
  1. Simon Munnery
  • Who are your favourite comedians and why? [59 mins 30 secs]
  1. Stewart Lee
  2. Eddie Izzard
  3. Ross Noble
  4. Al Murray
  • Given your experiment with distributing sitcoms online, would you have liked to have distributed more books online? [1 hour 13 secs]
  • You’ve self published an ebook called “Sparks” about travel. Why would you go with Unbound when you’ve done self publishing before?  [50 mins 50 secs]
  • What self publishing mistakes did you make that you would do differently next time? [52 mins 07 sec]
  • What crowdfunding advice would you give someone who is looking to fund a book? [52 mins 07 sec]
  • What books on writing would you recommend? [54 mins 23 secs]
  1. Steven Kings book on writing
  2. William Goldmans Adventures in the screen trade.
  3. How to write everything by David Quantick
  • Advice for writers on getting published?
  • Do you think it’s better to go through an agent or self publish?
  • Who are your favourite writers? [1 hour 3 mins 1 sec]
  1. Kingsley Amis
  2. Peoms of Philip Larkin
  3. Jonathan Coe
  4. Kate Atkinson
  5. David Nobbs (who wrote Reggie Perin)
  6. Alley Smith
  7. Stephen King
  8. Keith Waterhouse (who wrote Billy Liar)
  9. Julie Burchill
  10. Ian Banks
  11. Neil Gaiman
  12. B. S. Jonson
  13. Brahms and Simon

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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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