Development Producer, Writersroom
If film is a director’s medium, then television is certainly still very much the writer’s. It’s often said television is going through a golden age at the moment – especially for writers. There are so many fantastic television and online shows which really embrace the authorial voice and don’t shy away from wordiness and complex storylines in their exploration of the human condition. It’s brilliant news for writers because the bar has been set so high, the medium is getting the respect it deserves and it attracts the best talent across the board. Also, with the advent of online, there are increasing outlets to have your work produced.
Whenever I ask writers to list the shows they are excited or inspired by, it’s unavoidable to ignore the dominance of the US. It’s easy to sometimes believe the grass is greener when it comes to work, as a writer. Writing for US productions is often viewed as the holy grail. The salaries, power and environment are seductive and almost mythological in status. So, I decided to ask three US writers to give us a little insight into their lives as writers on three very different shows: Nurse Jackie (a cable show, broadcast in the UK on Sky Atlantic),
After winning the Alfred Bradley Bursary Award last year I was tasked with developing a Radio Play. The idea that I wanted to develop wasn’t “The Spoken Word” which was the play that won the award. Instead there was an idea that I knew well even though at this early stage it was only a paragraph:
Beware of spoilers:
Shamed by Furquan Akhtar - final studio script
Shabana is grieving for her son. She's recently lost him and has to deal with people coming to her home and mourning on her behalf. Nevertheless she accepts this and carries on for the sake of her daughter in law and young grandson who live with her. Her daughter in law Aisha is less accepting of Shabana's mourning and as Shabana slowly makes her way through the seven stages of grief we begin to hear more about what happened to her son. The "mourners" who come to her door are not there to mourn his death but to offer their condolences for his imprisonment. Rizwan was arrested for grooming.
Looking back at this now. It’s clear that this paragraph is...
Editor's note: This week EastEnders is marking its 30th anniversary with a special week of programmes and features which will reveal the murderer of Lucy Beale. There will be live elements in the episodes from Tuesday to Thursday, culminating in a fully live half hour episode on Friday 20th February 2015. We spoke to the writer James Payne about his EastEnders journey and the rewards, challenges and responsibilities of creating this iconic moment in the show's history.
EastEnders live episode, Friday 20th February 2015
How did you become a writer for EastEnders? What was your journey as a writer before then?
I've had two stints on EastEnders. One from 2002-2009; and one from last year until now. This time around the process involved Dominic (Treadwell-Collins, EastEnders Executive Producer) asking me to write a couple of episodes (Lucy Beale's death aftermath in April) which I couldn't turn down as the material was so powerful.
Originally though I became a writer on EastEnders by not taking no for an answer. I grew up in East...
How did you get involved with The Casual Vacancy?
I was asked to read The Casual Vacancy with a view to meeting JK Rowling to discuss an adaptation. It turned out that the meeting was in the next few days so I raced through the book over a weekend. I don’t know why the meeting was so soon after I’d been contacted, maybe someone else had drop out. I went up to Edinburgh with one of the execs Paul Trijbits, a very early plane meaning I had the most sideways bed-head I think I’d ever had … always a good start, having sideways hair.
The Casual Vacancy (image: Steffan Hill/BBC/Bronte Film and Television Ltd)
Writer & Theatre Maker
In December 2014 I was awarded the 2nd biennial Wales Drama Award, a prize set up by National Theatre Wales, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Writersroom. The Award was launched to give voices in Wales an opportunity to be heard and for new and established writers, a platform to compete on.
Originally from Dagenham in Essex, I lugged all my stuff down the M4 and crossed the bridge to move to Wales in 2007. Having done the first two years of my Performing Arts degree in Southend on Sea I decided I wanted a change for my final year and moved to Swansea. Despite the distinct lack of arcades and Donkey...
In January, 2010, David Chikwe sent me an email. Attached was the pitch document for a show called Eve, a drama about a humanoid, sentient robot. Five years, a lot of work and a lot of luck later, January 2015, Eve made its debut on CBBC.
When David sent me that email, I’d been a full-time writer for eight years. Aspiring writers are always keen to know one thing - how to break in to the industry. Everyone’s story is different, but there’s usually one thing in common with every screenwriting success - an element of “right place right time”. So, when I started writing, I tackled the...
Philip - BBC Writersroom
Digital Content Manager
Today we’ve relaunched the BBC Writersroom website with a vibrant new look and also taken the opportunity to make the content on the site more accessible and hopefully easier to find.
Firstly a bit of background to why we’ve made these changes:
The BBC website consists mainly of 10 ‘Products’ which are connected to different areas of the BBC’s output – News, Sport, Radio, TV etc. (you can find out more about them on this blog by the BBC’s Director of Future Media, Ralph Rivera.)
The BBC Writersroom sits in an unofficial eleventh Product, which is known as ‘Corporate’, alongside areas like
Writer, Actor, Director
Editor's Note: The Writer's Prize is an innovative and prestigious new writing award for Radio Drama which ran for the second time in 2014. The scripts were judged by Jeremy Howe (Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio 4 Drama), Kate Rowland (BBC Creative Director, New Writing) and award-winning writer Katie Hims. The winner is Christine Entwisle for her script Doyouwishtocontinue which has been commissioned by BBC Radio 4.
This is a strange position to be in. I have been asked to write a blog style piece on my experience of winning the BBC Writer’s Prize (I don’t even allow myself to write...
BBC Creative Director of New Writing
I just wanted to follow up and clarify a few key points after announcing changes to the Scriptroom submission system in the Christmas blog. We’ve had lots of comments posted, so thanks, it’s always good to hear your thoughts.
The unsolicited system has never been fixed and is always responding to changes in the broadcast landscape and also to BBC Writersroom priorities. At the end of the year it’s important for us to review what we‘ve done and explore whether we have made the best use of our resources and more importantly created the most effective system for all the writers we don’t know...
When did you become familiar with Hilary Mantel’s books?
I remember reading A Place of Greater Safety in the early nineties and being utterly gripped by it, falling in love with the characters and feeling hugely impressed by its scale and sweep. I felt exactly the same way reading Wolf Hall for the first time.
What conversations did you and Hilary have before you started?
I think before I began writing there was an afternoon meeting - just to say hello and get to know each other a bit. But during the actual writing I was often in contact with Hilary, checking on her reaction to changes,...