Because it has its own blog, I rarely mention the Sitcom Trials here in my blog, and to be honest there's not been much to say for the past year, not since the end of the 2016 So You Think You Write Funny season which culminated in Edinburgh that August.
But Friday morning, when I was waking up in Glasgow and recovering from a rather dispiriting preview gig (and reading the comment on the blog from one of the audience members I'd not been happy with, turns out the feeling was mutual), I got a helpful Facebook message showing me that someone was using my name. Namely RTE in Ireland launching what they rather cheekily called "The First Sitcom Trials."
Needless to say I wasn't crazy about this, and sent a few messages by a few different mediums, letting them know that the name was taken, and hoping they weren't trying to pretend to be us. They replied nicely:
Hi guys, just came across your tweets this morning. We would like to assure you that we are not using the same name as you. Before we start anything we also do a name check and make sure no one else is using the same name. We are going by "Radio Sitcom Trials' and you have 'The Sitcom Trials' so different names and didn't need to ask permission. We do see how it isn't the 'first ever', this was more directed as the first in Ireland, as it's only Irish born or Irish residents that can enter. To clear this up I will retitle it the 'first ever Irish'. Sorry for the mix up and hopefully that answers any questions. If you would like to get in touch about anything my email is M.......e. Have a lovely weekend, Michaella.
So I'm happily tweeting support for them and plugging their contest, since it can't do the Sitcom Trials brand any harm. Plus, I've been told, you can't copyright a name. And as long as they're not using my actual format, they're free to call their show what they like.
The deadline for entries is March 31st, and the details are here.
A few people suggested I should try asking them for money. Which does make me laugh slightly. After nearly twenty years of running The Sitcom Trials, it would be amazing for there to be an incarnation of the show that didn't end up losing me money. (If anyone has ever wondered why there are years between shows sometimes, that's the reason. Time has to pass until I forget how much the last show - or tournament, or season - cost me, then I have another stab at it. It's never been about making money, but it would be nice if, once in a while, that was an accidental by product).