Friday, 26 April 2013

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Case of the Brown Ruby - Part I (4/6/09)

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Welcome once again to From The Archives, the part of the blog where I give an airing to the comedy series I wrote when I was a student back in the late-2000s. Having completed our look back on The Yesterday Show (all 16 episodes - how time flies), we now come to the part I've been looking forward to the most - The Adventures of Battenberg and Schnepps.

After The Yesterday Show bowed out in March 2009, Tom and I got our heads down and sat our final year exams. But because of the way the University of Warwick works, we were all finished with our exams by the end of May - leaving the best part of a month in which we had nothing to do except sleep, eat and blow what was left of our student loan (and apply for jobs - so easy to forget that one). Tom and I were more than up for 'sneaking back' on air for another batch of Mumbling On, but we thought that just bringing back The Yesterday Show would cheapen the high we'd reached with the grand finale. Instead we settled on doing a spin-off featuring our favourite characters: Dr. Hans Battenberg and his assistant Schnepps.
The genesis of The Case of the Brown Ruby is an odd one. One evening in May, Tom, Seb and I had all convened at Tom's house in Leamington to play the fantastic Hercule Poirot Drinking Game - essentially a drinking game involving a lot of port and reruns of Poirot on ITV3 (Facebook group with full rules here). Having got seriously drunk, we did what bored students do and started searching on YouTube - and before long we came across an anime series with a dead ringer for Poirot in it. I then remembered an animated series I'd seen as a child called Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, in which Sherlock Holmes is cloned and brought back to life to fight crime with a bionic Watson. This got us onto time travel, and the first two scenes of the spin-off were written that night, largely by us staggering up to a laptop and typing in anything we found hysterically funny.
In terms of mine and Tom's writing, we were very much in uncharted territory. With The Yesterday Show we'd always had the option of cutting a character short or switching to something else after a few minutes, whereas here we had committed ourselves to three 10-minute episodes, one for every week of the revived Mumbling On. Not only that, but we had committed ourselves to a time travel story: not only did it have to be funny, it also had to make sense. I'll talk more about the writing process in the coming weeks, but in short we pulled it off, and I do this both this and the subsequent spin-offs are the best things Tom and I have ever done. I'd love it if more people got to hear this, since I am so genuinely proud of it.
For the spin-offs, I've decided to up the ante a little bit on my editing, using Adobe Premiere Pro rather than Windows Movie Maker. This means you'll get to see more photos of Tom, Seb and myself as the different characters we play crop up. But it also means that, for the very first time, you'll get to see the extraordinary fanart of Battenberg and Schnepps, created for us this year by Tom's girlfriend, Lingyu Zhuang.

Here then is Part I of The Case of the Brown Ruby. Join Battenberg and Schnepps in 1974, as they begin their hunt for the Brown Ruby of Mesopotamia, while attempting to avoid 20 years in the company of Sophia Loren. Enjoy!
Part II will follow next week!

Daniel

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