Catastrophe - dramedy


CATASTROPHE is a Channel 4 and Amazon Prime show. It’s created by, written by, and stars American comedian Rob Delaney and Irish writer-actress Sharon Horgan. It was nominated for a Peabody Award and Delaney and Horgan won a BAFTA for Best Writer: Comedy.

The first episode of CATASTROPHE opens with an American businessman (Delaney) in London on a work trip. He meets a primary school teacher (Horgan) at a bar. Weeks later, she reveals she’s pregnant.

He flies back to support her, vowing to stick around, especially when the doctor tells them the pregnancy needs close monitoring. When Rob proposes marriage, he has to deal with Sharon’s friends. She in turn has to ingratiate herself with his sceptical family while both are still getting to know each other.

Delaney describes the central relationship in CATASTROPHE as different to that of a traditional sitcom:

We didn’t feel we had seen a marriage represented in a sitcom in a way we found wholly satisfactory so we wanted to make one. Those marriages you see in sitcoms – in real life they would end in a murder-suicide. We don’t want to moralise. These guys learn and grow – they even hug, I noticed – so we’re not opposed to that. We’d just never want to telegraph it, or wrap it up cleanly. We definitely want to end each series with a question mark rather than a full stop. We like loose ends.

CATASTROPHE has proved a hit with audiences and critics, with a fourth and final season set to air in early 2019.

It’s a show with the episode length of a comedy (25 minutes) but CATASTROPHE often mines serious, dramatic issues, often drawn from the creators’ own lives.

Dramedy is a very fine needle to thread, but one Delaney and Horgan manage effortlessly. Any writer attempting a dramedy would do well to study their example.

Check out the video below and let us know what you think in the comments section!


  • What did you think of this article? Share itLike it, give it a rating, and let us know your thoughts in the comments box further down…
  • Struggling with a script? Story analysis is what we do, all day, every day…check out or range of services for writers & filmmakers here.
Industrial Scripts

Industrial Scripts

Founded in early 2010, Industrial Scripts is now one of the world’s leading screenwriting companies, with close links to industry and over 1,000 verified testimonials from its global client base.

Join the Discussion!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About >

Founded in 2010 by a Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures script consultant, Industrial Scripts® is today one of the world’s leading script development companies. We deliver powerful support tools to driven writers and filmmakers.

Navigate The Blog >

Script Coverage >

Recent Posts >

Join 50,000 on Facebook >

Join 50,000 Writers & Filmmakers

Sign up, join our mailing list, and never miss a post from our official blog, Character-Driven.

By entering your email, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.