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Tuesday, 19 March 2013
London Screening #2: The Job Lot
'Thank you for laughing’, writer Ian Jarvis politely added
at the end of the evening. This hardly seemed necessary as the screening of
episodes 1 and 2 of his and Claire Downes’ new comedy The Job Lot
received a loud and lively reception from the Roundhouse audience on Monday.
But for the writers of this comedy, their television debut,
seeing strangers laugh at their jokes was clearly something to behold. ‘It’s
nice to hear a live audience’s reaction’, Jarvis continued, explaining that
they rely on their instincts as to whether something
will get a laugh.
The panel take to the stage following the screening
The Job Lot is the work of Jarvis, Downes and Stuart
Lane, who was unable to join us due in China (some people will do anything to
get out of public speaking!). The set-up is simple – the action takes place in
a job centre housed in a suitably grey block of a building somewhere in the
Midlands. The centre’s staff are made up of characters we all recognise from
our own office experiences – the jobsworth who is a stickler for procedure, the
over-enthusiastic (but verging on the edge) boss, the couldn’t-care-less young
office worker. And who knows what characters might walk through those doors,
which is exactly what Downes admits drew her to the setting.
Following the screening our
chair for the evening, Andrew Collins, was joined on stage by writers Downes
and Jarvis, producer Hannah Pescod and the show’s two stars, Sarah Hadland and Russell Tovey. Downes and Jarvis talked about their inspiration (‘The line about
swimming the Channel at the local baths is from my sister’, joked Downes) and
the process of getting the series commissioned. After an initial knockback from
their first script (which they weren’t bitter about, quipped Jarvis), a second
go grabbed the attention of a lot of the major players and so began the talks (plus the wining and dining).
With Big TalkProductionstrack record in comedies (Spaced,
Rev), they seemed the obvious choice but sitting on a script of
such quality meant production companies were vying for their
attention. Downes joked that it was Big Talk’s biscuits that ultimately won
Andrew concluded the evening by asking the panel about the worst jobs they’d ever had. Tovey described
life as a hairdressers’ junior washing old ladies’ wigs; Hadlandspent two weeks as a magician’s assistant on a cruise ship (doesn’t sound so bad to us!);
and Claire Downesearned£30 for two minutes spent provocatively draped over a
tractor…. If that’s in her arsenal of inspiration then we
can’t even begin to imagine what future episodes of The Job Lot might contain!
We still have limited tickets available for our next screening taking place at the Roundhouse, London NW1:
Run Monday 25 March
Premiere of Acme Film’s drama for Channel 4 and live Q&A with Olivia Colman
Information on how to purchase tickets can be found here.