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Sisterhood, friendship, romance but no Dinosaurs in BBC Scotland comedy

New BBC comedy, Dinosaur will air next week, about an autistic woman living with her sister and best friend.

The 6x30minute comedy is a Two Brothers Pictures (Fleabag, The Tourist) for BBC Three, BBC iPlayer and BBC Scotland.

Created by Matilda Curtis and Ashley Storrie, it follows Nina (Storrie), who’s happily getting through her usual Monday routine, when her sister drops by for a ‘surprise visit’ after her long weekend away and announces some news.

Storrie explained how it came about:

“I got self-taped during Covid, so I recorded it in my bedroom, by myself, I did all the voices! For a show called Dinosaur about a girl with autism – and I’m on the autism spectrum – that was really cool, as there’s not a lot of opportunities for that to be showcased or for me to be me, so I just auditioned for it, got the part and then they said ‘Would you like to help with the writing and the creating?’ And that’s amazing – so I said ‘Yes please!’ and now here we are.”

Based in Glasgow, she explained how the universality of Scottish humour played an important role:

“That’s the thing, people always say that Scottish humour is unique but it’s not. You know there’s that blood type that can be given to any donor? I think that’s Scottish humour,” she said,

“Because I’ve uploaded videos to the internet for years, of jokes, and I have people from all over the world who are like ‘That’s funny, I’m not from anywhere near where that comes from but… that’s funny.’ At Edinburgh Fringe there’s a group of Nigerian girls who come and see me every year because they say the stories about my mum remind them of their mum. I think that’s what makes Scottish comedy great, it’s maybe you don’t fully understand every word that we’re saying but you get by the tone that we’re saying something funny.”

Filmed on location in Glasgow, Storrie added that it was important that neurodiversity was represented on and off screen.

“I think having neurodiversity in any workplace is a good thing. We think differently, it’s just a different perspective, and different perspectives are always good because you can find the problems with things, or you can find different solutions because you’re looking at it from a different angle. So having people with different brains, if they’re on camera or even if it’s just people who have experience with neurodiversity, I know we’ve got amazing people on our crew who’ve got family members who are neurodiverse, and just having that kind of level of knowledge and that level of acceptance has been amazing. I think it’s also created a really good environment where people don’t feel uncomfortable to talk about these things.

“If someone is having a moment, be it me or anybody on the crew, there’s no shame in that, there’s no embarrassment. First week I had my first wobble, I got really claustrophobic in a toilet, I got really frightened and I was so embarrassed, and I went outside. Three days later I no longer felt the shame because nobody made me feel bad, nobody hurried me, nobody rushed me, nobody coddled me. It was just a ‘No that’s fine, sometimes people feel like that and that’s allowed’ I think that’s a great thing. I don’t think that’s just neurodiversity, I think that’s just all of our brains need to be told ‘You’re allowed to feel that way’ and that’s been great for this production.

“I’ve never made telly like this before. Up until this point, my experience of television is what they call Fact Ent. Which is Factual Entertainment, which essentially means I get shoved in front of a crew with three people, one camera and a boom operator and I’m told ‘Go milk a cow’ and I do it and I say something funny while I’m doing it, and that’s it.

“Niamh, the director, is so kind and so patient and if I don’t understand what’s she’s saying, she doesn’t get frustrated with me she tries to find a different way of explaining it and it’s so helpful. I think she fosters such a good environment on set. I think one of the most amazing things is that we didn’t go into overtime, for a very long time, we were on time, we were efficient. We worked well, the whole crew worked well, without a raised voice, without anyone being a taskmaster (that’s a show I’d like to be on!). Everybody was very kind but still managed to get the job done and I think she is proof that you don’t need to scream, and you don’t need to terrify people to get stuff done, you can do it with kindness, patience and compassion.”

The show is based on an original idea by Matilda Curtis. The Executive Producers are Sarah Hammond, Katie Churchill, Harry Williams, Jack Williams. Catriona Renton is Co-Executive Producer. 

The Director is Niamh McKeown and the Producer is Brian Coffey. The BBC Commissioning Editors are Emma Lawson and Gavin Smith.

Dinosaur will air on BBC Scotland from Sunday 14 April, BBC Three from Tuesday 16 April and BBC One from Friday 19 April.

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