E20: Meet the writers
Nicole Lecky: "So what feels like a million years ago is finally here. The premiere of EastEnders:E20 on BBC Three. The wait has been anticipated by me and the other writers as we feel like we have finally come full circle. From starting out with no idea on what project we would be working on to trekking down to visit the EastEnders set and actually bumping into cast such as Barbara Windsor and Patsy Palmer - it has been a lot of hard work but definitely fun."
What was it like being a writer, and working with the other writers?
Joyce Lee: "Oh my days. Being a writer on E20 is an incredible experience. Every Saturday morning, thirteen young writers invade the BBC. Security guards look at us like we're a tour group that has got lost! Sometimes, we catch a glimpse of Peggy (Barbara Windsor) and Dot (June Brown) in the canteen.
"The writing room is where it all happens. Having spent so much time together, the writing team has become a gang, a family. Not so different from the gang you see in E20. We talk. We laugh. We joke. There are endless jokes. Only we have serious writing to do as well. Everyone throws in ideas. The good, the bad, and the ugly make it onto the board. Then we get rid of the bad and the ugly. And try to make the good better. We spend so much time talking about our characters that they begin to feel like real people, like your friends. Zsa Zsa, Fat Boy, Leon, and Mercy grow into living breathing people with lives of their own... And lots of secrets."
Nicole Lecky: "We spent four weeks story lining and crafting our characters from our own experiences of East London (and as I grew up there I'd say we did pretty well!). At the end of what felt like a really hard 'writing summer school' I think we all came to the realisation that E20 could and would be much bigger than we had anticipated."
What was it like to see your writing being filmed?
Nadia Gasper: "Going to the shoot was an unforgettable experience! After weeks of drafting, re-drafting, endless cups of coffee and more re-drafting, it was amazing seeing my work jump from page to camera. Being in the presence of respectable producers, directors and artists made me feel privileged; reminded me why I'm a writer... and the biscuits weren't bad either!"
How does it feel to know your writing will be on BBC Three?
Abigail Pahnke: "If seeing my name on the credits at the end of my online episode wasn't enough to feel proud of, the prospect of seeing it rise on the television screen is unbelievable. On top of that, we've been given the go-ahead for series two, and are currently developing some juicy stories to really sink your teeth into."
"One of the best things about this journey has been the amazing people I've met, I've made some of the best friends as well as memories that, even though some are nearly a year old, still make me laugh out loud, in sometimes somewhat awkward situations, particularly when on my own.. on a bus... We've proved that young people have something to give, have our own views on the world and opinions that we want to be heard."