Development Producer, BBC Writersroom
Simon Nelson is settling into his role as the BBC Writersroom’s new Development Producer.
Well, hello to all regular (and irregular) readers of the BBC Writersroom blog. As some of you will have read in her last blog entry, Abigail Gonda has left us for a time to take her maternity leave. Abigail has been a bold and indefatigable champion of New Writing and will be much missed by her friends and colleagues here at the BBC. I, for one, will miss her enormously and I know that I have very big boots to fill! I want to thank Abigail for all her support during our handover period and I am sure you will all join me in wishing the very best to her and her new baby son.
So who am I? Well I have worked in theatre and television for over 20 years, in both drama development and production – my most recent job being as a producer for BBC Children’s Drama based at the BBC’s MediaCityUK base in Salford Quays. And – as luck would have it – my last job at BBC Children’s Drama was also my first job at the BBC Writersroom: helping to deliver a jam-packed 2-day course on Writing for Children.
Late in 2014, CBBC Drama announced its intention to run an initiative for new and early writers. Through a...
What is your writing background? What part did Le Guin’s work play in it?
I had no formal training. In my youth creative writing courses didn’t exist. I settled for always wanting to be a writer. Then discovered, when I began, that it was a playwright I wanted to be: making four dimensional models with words that could stand up off the page and move and speak and shape environments or respond to environments in quasi- or super-real time. Acting was my second love and possible direction – but I discovered quite soon there weren’t enough of the parts for women I would, in my youthful arrogance, have wanted to play. I decided to create some.
I read English at Cambridge 1970-3. In those days the dominance of the male principle in academia, at least at Cambridge, on all levels, dead or alive, was as complete as to seem natural and insurmountable. The message was: I was a man. Or must act being one to get anywhere. But not man enough, whatever, to be a serious writer – least of all a...
Executive Producer, BBC Radio Drama
The Ravens will be broadcast on BBC World Service on 25th April at 11pm (BST) 10pm (GMT)
This competition does have about the longest official title in the world – the BBC World Service/British Council International Radio Playwriting Competition, co-produced with The Open University, in partnership with Commonwealth Writers. But don’t let that put you off! It is all those partners working with BBC World Service who enable us to keep what I think is one of the most wondrous competitions in the world alive.
Where else could you be a first time writer and have your play broadcast to up 40 million listeners across the world? Who else actively encourages those who write in their 2nd (or even 3rd, 4th or 5th) language? Where else can your play be heard in so many countries across the world?
We now have 3 prizes: for best script with English as 2nd language, best script with English as a 1st language and the Georgi Markov prize for the most promising script. All the winners come to London and the first two plays are recorded in their entirety for broadcast on BBC World Service.
BBC Creative Director of New Writing
When I created the BBC Writersroom I had a passionate and fundamental belief in two things. One is that the BBC should be open and accessible to all writers, as we need different and distinct voices to reflect the wonderful complexity of the UK, and secondly we should be active not passive in our drive and ambition to find and support the best writer talent. What started as a small and dedicated team in 1998 attached to Radio Drama (where I was Head), has grown in size and stature, but has never lost sight of the key tenants that made BBC Writersroom pioneering and unique across the...
When a group of writers were put in a room, force fed cheese, and asked to come up with some ideas for an online drama, no one could have predicted where our minds would go.
“We’ve decided it should be a 24 hour, looped, document containing all the CCTV footage from the last day of a girls life.”
“Right. 24hours? Not, say, eight 3 minute episodes?”
“Nope. We’d like our thing to be an immersive 24 hours.”
“Cool. That sounds cheap. Ok then.”
And OK it was. Kate (Rowland - head of BBC Writersroom) listened to our idea and fought for it from day one. She understood, like us, there needed to be a...
The Ark - Noah (David Threlfall) (BBC/Red Planet Pictures)
After writing The Nativity for BBC One, they asked if I wanted to write any other “Bible” stories. To be honest I hadn’t even thought about it, but when you’re sitting in a room with the BBC controller of Drama and he’s asking you if you’d like to write something; it tends to focus the mind. I thought hard, silently cursing my limited knowledge of the Bible and I heard myself saying “Noah”....
On the eve of the BBC Writersroom Script Room 9 - Comedy closing we catch-up with Radio Comedy Writers Bursary recipient James Bugg on writing comedy as a Freelance writer - he fills us in on how he's been getting on...
Me - writing jokes
A lot has changed since I last wrote a blog post for Writersroom almost two years ago. I’m a little older, a little tougher (physically, not mentally - I had a spurt) and I now...
Inside No. 9 - Series 2, Episode 1, 'La Couchette' - Julie Claire Hesmondhalgh, Steve Pemberton, Mark Benton, Jessica Gunning, Reece Shearsmith and Jack Whitehall (BBC/Sophie Mutevelian)
Steve Pemberton, writer and actor for shows such as A League of Gentlemen, Psychoville and Benidorm, talks to BBC Writersroom about his upcoming 2nd series of Inside No. 9. A dark comedy anthology which he co-writes/co-stars in with Reece Shearsmith.
You caused a lot of discussion and acclaim for your silent episode ‘A Quiet Night In’ last series; do you have any similar convention breaking...
Ordinary Lies (BBC/Red Productions, photo by Ben Blackall)
Editor's Note: At the end of the final episode of Ordinary Lies on BBC One at 10pm on Tuesday 21 April 2015 we'll be running a live Twitter Q&A with writer Danny Brocklehurst. You can tweet questions #OrdinaryLiesQA or add them to the comments below. Follow us on Twitter @BBCwritersroom
How did you develop the idea for Ordinary Lies?
The idea of writing a series about the secret lives of...
Editor's Note: In the last of our 3 blogs from US writers, Lang Fisher on her journey from satirical newspaper The Onion to The Mindy Project writers' room, including some great advice.
Being a comedy writer, as I would assume being any kind of writer, is a vastly personal experience. When you write something that’s “not that funny”, you immediately take it as a referendum not only on your talent, but on your personality as a whole. “If this isn’t funny, then maybe I’m not funny, and I guess my whole life has been a total lie, why didn’t I go to med school?” But the truth is, writing is a...