Forgot to answer Dan's question, which was:
Any idea on the budget? No Heroics was very low, but this sounds like it would need a Doctor Who-style commitment to me!
Well exactly. And really the only people who'd be able to do it properly, and let me keep the tone I want (satirical, sort-of-darkish, occasionally a bit rude), are the BBC. So I had effectively one egg, and only one basket in which to put it.
Word had gone out from the BBC that they were in the market for something sort of like Heroes.
I had submitted a superhero concept amongst some other ideas I had sent in to the television production company Carnival.
This was just about to be commissioned as a treatment, when we found out a series called NO HEROICS (a superhero sitcom) was about to be made.
In a moment of what can only be described as pure blind heroism, Carnival's head of development decided to commission my outline as a treatment anyway, because she really liked the sound of it.
I then reworked the concept twice: the first time as practically a different series altogether, the second as closer to the core idea, but now with a buddy element, with the older, wiser hero to be played by Stephen Mangan. I then handed the treatment in to Carnival, who sent it off to the BBC's indie-commissioning department (nothing to do with baggy cardigans or The Smiths - they're the department who deal with all the various independent production companies).
Top funny actor and all-round nice man Stephen Mangan agreed to be attached to the project.
We then discovered that Paul Cornell (writer of some cracking Doctor Who episodes, as well as the current, and rather thrilling, Captain Britain series for Marvel Comics), and Joe Ahearne (creator of equally rather thrilling Ultraviolet, amongst others) also had a superhero series in development. Shiiiiiiiiiiiit.
(Btw -Paul's blog post on his prospective show is here, and there's a brief interview with Joe Aherne here. Both sound Quite Good)
The finest BBC script editors could not have found a way to ratchet up the tension any better. With everything at stake for our anxious hero, (in this case, me) who would win the gladiatorial fight for first place?
As far as I know, nobody. Because the response from the BBC was this (and I'm paraphrasing, because it was a phone call to Carnival, the contents of which were passed on to me in another phone call):
"We think that Heroes has covered the superhero territory sufficiently that there isn't really room for something in the same genre. However, please feel free to pass on other work by James, as we are always interested in new writers."
Tomorrow: the post-mortem.