Almost Ready…

It’s been somewhat quiet on the 4amcab website this year and that’s partly because of Rachel’s crazy plan.

Well, excuses aside, the gears have been turning and very soon you will start to see the fruit (mixed metaphors allowing).  I thought it might be interesting to share what has been going on and fill you in on the plan for the rest of the summer, with the forthcoming release of series 3.

This time around, I decided to try things a little bit differently.  With previous series we had found that the conveyor belt of writing, script editing, recording, editing and releasing (then starting all over again on the next episode) was a difficult one to maintain.  Something had to change to make the project more manageable.  I decided that for the third series I wanted everything to be written before I began the recording.  The good news is, that’s nearly done.

Right now, at time of writing this, there are just a handful of sketches to complete.  Next week I will be recording the first three episodes followed up with another recording session of the second half of the series.

So the big news is, I’ll release a short tease for the new series on 1st July and then two weeks later, on 15th July, the first episode will come out.  As all the writing and recording for the series will be in the bag, this means I’ll release the rest of the series weekly.  You’ll be able to hear all six episodes by the middle of August.  Phew!

CALENDARThe final bit of 4amcab news, for the moment, is that I’m hoping to have a few new voices on the show.  More on that shortly.

Set your podcatcher to stun* and get ready for the 1st July.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride**.



*automatic download
**no, it won’t

Pin It

Thank You

Well, I’ve been blow away. 

When I opened the submission window on the 1st of February I was expecting only a handful of people to send in their ideas.  Boy, was I wrong!

I’ve literally just finished logging everything that’s been sent in and even with my basic maths I can count almost 200 sketches.  Thank you so much to everyone who has spent countless hours writing stuff for consideration, it is very much appreciated.  I’ve only managed to read about a tenth of what I’ve been sent so far but already I can see a few sketches that could work.  The inclusion of themes for series 3 really seems to have helped writers to focus their ideas and hopefully it will also make the episodes a bit more joined up… well maybe.

I aim to have read through everything over the next few weeks and so I’ll commit to letting everyone know if they’ve been successful by Tuesday 1st April.  This should put series 3 on track for the first episode being released in May, but I’m not going to put that in bold just yet.

1st April

For series 3, I plan to record more than I need and cut sketches that don’t work out in the recording which is a common policy on shows like the BBC’s Newsjack and The Show What You Wrote.  The idea with this is to be left with the strongest material whilst giving everything that I like a good chance.  Hopefully this also will encourage those that get recorded but not used that they are on the right path for the show.

So thanks once again for sending in your work, it’s good to know that people like 4amcab enough to spend their time submitting sketches.

Pin It

Series 3 Submission Window – OPEN!

The window for submitting your work for consideration for 4amcab Series 3 is now officially… open!


This time round we’re looking for lot’s of really short sketches so we can get as much into each episode as possible.  The other key difference is that we’re asking for sketches on a theme.  Each episode will have it’s own theme into which all the sketches will relate.  We will retain the central storyline concept too, so there’s opportunity to write a longer sitcom style story for each theme.

Those themes are as follows:

The End
and The Future

The deadline for entries is Sunday 2nd March 2014 at midnight.

Send your sketches into us at the usual email address:

More details can be found on the Write for 4amcab page of this website.

Good luck and get writing!

Pin It

Series 3 – update

Happy New Year to you all.  Has the hangover passed?  Good.  Well, hopefully this is a timely update as maybe you won’t have given up on all your resolutions yet, particularly if they involve writing sketches.

We are beginning to think about Series three of 4amcab.  At this early stage I don’t have any details to share other than it will be the same format as before: six episodes (and a secret Christmas Special, shhh!), made up of a story and sketches.  There will be a submisison window for anyone wishing to send us their work which will open in February.  This time we will be asking for sketches on a theme for each episode.  Follow us on twitter to get the updates as and when they are released.

In other news, we are working on two other comedy projects which will come under the 4amcab banner but which will be more of a departure from what we’ve done before.  Again, no real details at the moment but Rachel will be spearheading one and Lee will be doing the other one.

Finally, I’m thrilled to say that all of our actors will be joining us for Series three, with the exception of Chris Luck.  Chris has been with us since the very first episode but he is very busy running a pub full time, so he’s not able to be a regular performer.  One of my favourite sketches to record and to listen back to is the Dentist sketch from Series 1 episode 1, where Chris plays an oil drilling orthodontist, check it out here.  Thanks go out to Chris for being a great member of the team, hopefully we can entice him out of the pub in the future.

chris luck

Pin It

Hello Stranger!

Hi there, how are you?  It feels like ages since we last saw you, haven’t you grown?!

So, the 4amcab podcast has been on a bit of a post series break but the good news is that we’ve been grinding out one last script ready to round off Series 2.  The Christmas Special is written, it gets recorded on Saturday and it will be ready to download on Wednesday 18th December.  Hurrah!

It’ll be the final episode of the series but not the last you’ll hear from us.  Rachel and I have had our first “What the flip do we do next?” meeting and once the Christmas Hangover has properly kicked in we’ll be detoxing and banging our heads against a wall repeatedly until something new comes out.  It may be Series 3, it may be a panel gameshow for snails, at this moment we have no idea.  Like I said, though, we’re not done yet.


In the meantime, sit back, set the alarm clock for 4am on 18th December and relax while we work hard in the background to bring you the conclusion of 4amcab 2.

It’s really good to see you again.  We’ve really missed you.

Pin It

Send us your stuff!

We’re half way through Series 2 now, so we thought it’s the perfect time to re-open our inbox and ask if you’ve got anything to send us for the show.  We are not going to set a deadline but we record the next two episodes on Monday 15th July, so you’ve got less than two weeks to make it into the next two shows.  The final episode of the series will be recorded in September, so don’t worry if you’ve got nothing right now.

So what do we want?  The current run has taken on a pattern and what we want is the following:

4 x story scenes (set at 4am)
2 x adverts
2 x stand alone character sketches

If you’ve not listened to the show before, then it’s vital that you do.  We get a lot of stuff we can’t use which is too dark/offensive/sexually explicit/too long/not funny, so try to write something that would easily fit into a previous episode. You can listen to a lot of our sketches on

Have a look at our writer’s guidelines to give you more information about writing for the show.  Send your scripts to us at the following email address:

We credit everyone who writes for us and it’s a great opportunity to have your work professionally produced, so do get in touch.  Ask us a question on twitter too, if you like.

Pin It

Making 4am Cab – Part 1: Writing

We thought it would be interesting to give you an insight into how 4amcab gets made, so this is the first part of a three part blog post doing just that.  Rachel shares her writing process.

Part 1: Writing

I jot down ideas as they come to me, to be written up later. When I get stuck, I put it away for a bit, and come back to it. If that fails, the method described by John Cleese here is very useful for getting a creative solution to a seemingly impossible problem. When writing sketches for radio (or, podcast), this excellent blog post by Dan Tetsell is pretty much the definitive guide in terms of formatting etiquette.

This book by Sally Holloway can show you how to get comedy out of nothing by brute force, effectively.

So Lee and I write up as many sketches as we can think of, put them in a drawer for a week, go to work, put the kids to bed, look again at the drawer, wince, sleep, get up, look at th- you get the picture. Then, finally, we make a really strong cup of #tea, open the drawer, read everything we’ve written, and hone it down to make it ‘better.’

Lee is in charge of the final script. He decides on the final order, and might include sketches that have been submitted to the show by other writers. Then we read it half a dozen times, make tweaks and usually decide that everything needs completely re-writing.

Luckily, we have a solid deadline in the form of the recording date, so there is absolutely no choice but to get it finished by, in series 2 episode 2’s case, 7pm tonight.


Pin It

Interview: Rachel Sambrooks

One of our new writers for the second series is Rachel Sambrooks.  She sent us several sketches during our submission window but it was one in particular that we just had to use.  We asked her a few questions and she answered them:

4amcab: Hi
Rachel Sambrooks: Hello you

4amcab: Thanks for submitting material to us for our second series.
RS: Thanks for including it.

: So who are you?

RS: I am a writer, performer and teacher, so I do freelance projects related
to theatre/radio etc. I’ve had funding for projects and writing and done
stand up but I’m concentrating on writing at the moment. I’m also a mother
of two and carer for my feisty, cheeky but language disordered (it’s a
disability thing) youngest.

: We loved the idea of a Russian girl sending out emails to try find

love.  How did you come up with the idea?
RS: I received a series of spam emails from supposed Russian beauties who
sounded like they knew me, even though it was obviously made up. It made me
laugh and I wondered what would it be like if they were real. I wrote a
draft sketch and ideas and thought it might fit the tone of the 4amcab

: We’ve asked you to write a story arc for the characters of

Svetlana and to introduce other people in her life.  How did you
approach the challenge?
RS: I had already imagined her living in a house share of lovelorn lovelies
so after you suggested building a narrative and gave me some great ideas
(thanks) I expanded on that and tried to include the funniest email scams I
had received. It’s a nice way to use the stupid dross you get without just
blatantly saying ‘look at this scam isn’t it stupid’.

: Finally, where else can we hear your words?

RS: I’m just in the process of setting up a website and I’ll be putting my
stuff up on there. You can also follow me on twitter: @labellaraquella.
If anyone does like what they hear, please contact me if you have any
writing work! (Worth a try even in an interview, isn’t it?)

: Thanks again for writing for us

RS: Thanks so much for having me!

Pin It

Done and Dusted… for now!

And now, the end is near. And so I face the final curtain.

Well there are no curtains but, metaphorically, the final one has fallen on series one.  We’d just like to take a moment to pat ourselves on the back –



We’d also say a few thank you’s to all the wonderful people we’ve worked with on the project so far.  We’ve had nine writers, 16 actors, one animator and one Bi Polar Bear!  Not to mention 6,368 downloads of the whole project to date, which has far exceeded our humble expectations.  We’ve recorded in seven different locations, ranging from a proper studio and a converted church all the way to Lee’s garage and garden shed.

I hope you agree that we have come a long way from the start and that as we’ve gone along the episodes have improved in every way.  We are going to spend some of our time off looking at what has worked and come back with a bigger and better show in the New Year.

In the meantime, we are working on a Christmas Special (are we? – ed), so it’s not really the end.   Series Two will kick off once we’ve recovered from our Yuletide hangovers, so expect something in February.  We will continue to post stuff up on this website and we are quite active on Twitter too, oh and don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook … we’ll even throw in a digital latte!

Pin It

Thanks for your submission

We once again opened our door, or rather inbox, to you to submit your sketches and scripts for the next episode of 4amcab and, flippin’ ‘eck did you respond?  Yes you did.  We had by far our highest number of would be cabbers send us their thoughts and we thank you all for taking the time and interest to send us stuff.  We’re currently sifting through everything to see what will work and what is, well, not quite right for us.

Waiting for inspiration

We had a really wide selection of ideas, probably in the region of about 50 sketches.  We did notice there was one topic that was more popular than others which can only be termed ‘bedroom’ sketches.  I guess you lot get up to more interesting things at 4am than we do.  Seriously though, we too send our ideas out to other programmes in the hope that we will one day be loved, so we know how it feels to get rejected.  If you’d like to get some feedback on why we’ve not used your contribution then do get in touch and we’ll get back to you.  We’ve had some useful dialogue with several writers that have sent in their work.  David Salisbury, from the Live from Kirrin Island podcast, sent this response after we’d given him feedback:

“As you know dealing with comedy writers, especially beginners involves a lot of fragile egos so your gentle approach to criticism is appreciated I’m sure. As I wrote recently, submitting sketches is the emotional equivalent of asking complete strangers to slap you in the face in the hope that one day they will miss. So it’s always good if they’re not swinging their arm too hard!”

Read David’s full blog post here

Episode 5 ought to be ready towards the start of next month, we will shout about it the minute it is ready. As always, follow us on twitter for updates.

Pin It