Someone famous once said that everyone’s got a book in them. Given the recently highlighted illiteracy levels in this country, I’ve always assumed that to be a rather optimistic claim, but one man who certainly does have a story to tell is Andrew Osayemi. After becoming frustrated by rejections from TV channels, he raised £175,000 from investors to get his sitcom Meet The Adebanjos made and broadcast on the internet.
“We initially approached broadcasters but it was the usual meetings after meetings without getting anywhere. It was almost as if they want to suck the life out of you so you eventually give up!” said Osayemi. “If you are not in the circle of the known, name writers or production companies it is hard for them to take you seriously. ‘So we developed our sustainable model for online programmes.”
His company, South London-based MTA Productions, filmed eight episodes over six weeks, persuading actors and production services to work at a reduced rate. The first three episodes will be available for free and fans will be charged for DVDs or downloads of the remaining episodes.
“I managed to raise the investment using the contacts I made while working in the City for five years. It’s been a long slog but we are trying to prove that comedy producers can do a full broadcast sitcom independently of mainstream networks.” added the show’s creator.
Producers have explained that they believe there is an untapped market as African families are unrepresented on mainstream television. “We want to let the UK’s TV establishment know that the market for black British TV is strong, vibrant and hungry for content that speaks about a unique British experience. And if the old boys’ club won’t let us in, we’re going to do it for themselves.”