Just after I'd finished writing for the second series of Green Wing, I had a meeting with a BBC Drama producer and we talked for a while about serious matters, and then it turned out we were both HUGE fans of The O.C. so we could stop pretending to be grownups after that, it was great.
If you never watched The O.C, shame on you, it was a teen drama/soap thing set in Orange County, and it was brilliant, first two seasons at least. Much funnier that it had any need to be, which is always my favourite thing.
So, Drama Producer and I, fired up by mutual love of good entertaining telly, started developing our own take on a drama that could be funny and moving and entertaining at the same time, with characters who actually felt like real teenagers rather than the mouthpieces of cynical old hacks. The BBC commissioned two scripts, then dithered a bit, then decided not to go any further with it, which was a terrible shame, but their inalienable right.
Drama Producer and I started developing another show for the BBC, and this one didn't happen either, and then she left to work somewhere else, but we kept meeting up for chats, because when you meet good people in telly who are fun to work with and you trust, you jolly well cling to them. Recently, Drama Producer moved to an entirely new broadcaster and we had one of those meetings where we talked about all sorts of things, until she said 'hey, what happened to that first thing we worked on, the teen soap comedy thing?'
And I said I hadn't taken it anywhere, because I'd liked working on it with her so much I didn't feel anyone else would get it.I still used it as a sample script, because we'd developed the crikey out of it, so it was watertight, but I didn't really trust anyone else with it.
DRAMA PRODUCER: So... shall we maybe have another go at it?
ME: OOH YES PLEASE.
Which is what's happening. And this does happen a lot, things you thought were dead suddenly get a second chance and so on, it's either a good thing, or it drives you mad, dunno which yet. I only mention it because we have a problem with this one which has never come up before, thusly:
DRAMA PRODUCER: Okay, we have an issue which is not insurmountable, but is holding things up somewhat. Because what has happened it, some of the rights have remained with the BBC from when we developed this in the first place, and the person who nailed down these rights was an absolute ARSE and is making my life very difficult as I am having to engage with the fine points of this annoying contract on an almost daily basis, and now I wish I was dead to a certain extent.
ME: Tell me who is responsible for this hackery, this jobsworth, this detestable contracts goblin, and madam I shall see them hang! (I'm writing an 18th century based thing at the moment and sometimes stuff bleeds through).
DRAMA PRODUCER: It's me.
ME: What do you mean it's you?
DRAMA PRODUCER: I did the original contract, and it turns out I was very good at this sort of thing, I had forgotten.
ME: So what you are saying is you, my agent, and myself are now engaged with a version of you from the past, who is a total badass?
DRAMA PRODUCER: Yes.
ME: Well now I want to make a series about that.
DRAMA PRODUCER: Please focus.
Anyway, the battle continues.