With the weather we’ve all been having recently, torrential rain followed by cold, cold temperatures, all I’ve wanted to do is turn up the heating, close the curtains and make my home on the sofa watching a feelgood funny film.

i give it a yearI Give it a Year is that perfect film.

From the producers of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually, written by UA client Dan Mazer (Borat and Bruno), the film follows the trials and tribulations of a pair of newlyweds during their first year as a married couple.

It features a host of UA clients: Stephen Merchant, Olivia Colman, Jane Asher, Nigel Planer and Tim Key but sadly we’ll have to wait until February to watch it. I expect the weather will be suitably bad …

In the meantime, here’s the trailer to cheer us all up on a Monday:

The h.Club100

Time Out and The Hospital Club have got together to compile a list of the most influential creatives in Britain, and after a public vote, the top 100 movers and shakers have been revealed.

UA has 6 luminaries in the h.Club100 list.

The director Felix BarrettRichard Marsh who is a playwright, lyricist and poet and Blanche McIntyre who is another over-achiever being both a writer and a director (I’m not jealous!) who are all included in the Theatre category.

Andrew Scott, who played Jim Moriarty in the hugely successful BBC series Sherlock appears in the TV section and multi-talented Tom Hardy in the Film one.

And last but not least, genius Tim Key shines out in the Performance section.

All worthy entrants I think you will agree.



I’ve been beating on for ages to anyone that will listen about the fact that the 30 second commercial is dying a death.

And an article which came out in New Media Age yesterday has given me more grist for my mill.

According to a survey of UK media agencies undertaken by AOL’s branded video distributor Goviral, long-form video content now comprises 35% of total online video spend.

Have a look at this short film UA client Tim Key wrote for Innocent Smoothies starring Kriss Akabusi. Tim worked collaboratively with the Innocent creative team and director Jonathan van Tulleken and I have to say everything went without a hitch (well, that’s what they all told me!)

And I’ve mentioned Insanely Driven before, a long-form film directed by Jorg Tittel and Alex Helfrecht at Oiffy for Reckitt Benckiser which Oiffy also helped to produce. Here’s the trailer:

Half of the people surveyed said they now have a dedicated person or team responsible for online video at the agency they work at, and 60% use a video distribution platform to circulate long-form content.

And more than 50% use an advertising agency to produce long-form content rather than production companies or digital agencies. Which has rather turned my theory that ad agencies don’t seem to be receptive to collaboration on long-form content on its head.

René Rechtman, from Goviral said, as more people are switching off from traditional online advertising formats, long-form content offers the scope for richer storytelling, providing brands with the opportunity to converse with their audiences in more creative, exciting, and ultimately, shareable ways.

If you are an expert in the art of the 30 second commercial, you can always ring me up and I will be able suggest a whole raft of UA writers who could help you wrestle with something much longer – easy!


Hannah Begbie had a brace of winners at this year’s Chortle Awards.

I wrote about the nominations at the end of February, and the winners were unveiled at a ceremony hosted at the Cafe De Paris in London on Tuesday night.

The Chortle Awards are voted for by the general public and I was delighted to see that Tim Key came away with much-deserved silverware, winning Best Show for his brilliant Masterslut.

The Idiots of Ants‘ loyal online fans came through to vote them Best Character or Sketch Act. Proof that you don’t need a big traditional television audience to be popular.

Tim and the Idiots only have about 5 minutes to celebrate their win as they are off to the other side of the world.

They will be spreading their particular brand of wonderful comedy in Melbourne as part of the famous Comedy Festival.

The Idiots’ very first gig is on Thursday 29th March in the Town Hall’s Powder Room in Melbourne and you can buy tickets HERE.

Tim Key will be at the Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio from the 12th to the 22nd April and you can buy tickets HERE.

The Idiots are not just performing in Melbourne though. I’m waiting for the full schedule but I do know they are taking a trip to Sydney, and will be introducing themselves to New Zealand in Auckland and Taupo (lucky Antipodeans!). Do go and see them if you live anywhere near any of those cities (well, Taupo isn’t a city, but it is a busy town attracting visitors from all over the world). I’ll bring you the venues/dates when I have them.


I’m going to have huge trouble with this year’s Chortle Awards as we have so many UA clients in the same categories.Adam Riches, who won the last Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award, has not one, but three nominations: Breakthrough Act, Best Show and Best Character or Sketch Act. If you haven’t seen his wonderfully anarchic show Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches, you should not rest until you get a ticket, (possibly not sitting at the front though). He’s at the Soho Theatre in London until the 17th March.

Adam shares the nomination for Best Character or Sketch Act with the fabulous Idiots of Ants (they are the ones with the over 10 million hits on Youtube) .

Tim Key has been nominated for his Masterslut show which featured collections of pithy poems and short stories with some lovely short films. Time Out said it’s subtle, shambolic, occasionally moving and gloriously funny.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Stephen Merchant is nominated for his tour Hello Ladies; Joe Thomas of Inbetweeners fame, and Jack Whitehall star in the hilarious Fresh Meat which is up for Best Television; as is Sorry I’ve Got No Head (masquerades as a children’s show, but is one of the funniest programmes on TV) with Marcus Brigstocke, Nick Mohammed and David Armand.

Tim Key and Nick Mohammed pop up again in the Best Radio category for Party with Jonny Sweet; and The Wrestling starring Andrew Maxwell and yes, Adam Riches has been nominated for the Innovation award.

The voting is open and all you have to do is click the link HERE to start.


For all you Tim Key fans out there, get hot-foot down to the Soho Theatre as Tim is performing his stand-up show MASTERSLUT until the 7th January 2012.

You are going to have to get a move on buying tickets though, as I see that they are already selling out.

Buy them here.

For those of you who don’t know Tim’s work, I’m afraid it is almost impossible to describe – he is a stand-up, performance poet, author, actor, radio writer, panel show creator; he knows a lot about athletics and Andre Agassi and has the ability to keep me on the phone for far longer than any other client.

A couple of reviews might help:

[The Slutcracker] … has a kind of artistry and strange beauty that is unlike any other hour of stand-up you are likely to see. – The Observer

There’s something marvellously sly about the way he assumes consensus around his off-kilter take on the world. Music underscores the show; Key’s delivery is fluting and calm: the result is like a practical joke in relaxation-tape form. At times it’s like a windup; elsewhere, it’s so lovely you could bathe in it. – The Guardian

And have a look at this excerpt from Tim Key. With A String Quartet. On A Boat., his album of poetry, prose and conversation; an examination of the highs and lows that come from hiring a string quartet and a boat without really thinking it through …

I think he is a genius, but you’ll have to go to Soho Theatre to see for yourself.