Tension was in the air last Friday morning as the BBC Drama Room 2018 writers gathered for their first session, on the day that the Trump Protest was planned at Portland Place. The sixteen ingenue writers arrived with instructions to cross the famous BBC piazza straight to Old Broadcasting House, only to find it blocked by chain fences and muscular security. Cue some W1A-style repartee with reception, until the aptly named producer Marigold Joy rescued us.
The Drama Room writers in the Council Chamber at Broadcasting House
Our first real Drama Room session - we’d met once before at the TV Writers’ Festival - was held in the Council Chamber, a grandiose room with ornate windows and portraits of the all the Beeb’s past Director-Generals gazing solemnly down from on high. It began with Anne Edyvean, Head of the BBC Writersroom, champion of new voices and sympathetic ex-smoker, giving us an introductory talk about the Drama Room’s opportunities and our potential ‘spec scripts’.
Being part of the Drama Room does not mean we have BBC commissions, she...
About a year ago I came across the Felix Dexter Bursary opportunity on the BBC Writersroom website. It immediately caught my attention because I loved Felix in the Real McCoy. I remember as a kid being able to make my little brother Ben laugh with my pitch perfect impression of Felix playing a Nigerian man winning the lottery and telling his wife and kids to go to ‘ell. In hindsight I’m not sure how authentic either mine or Felix’s accents were but he was definitely an amazing comedy performer so I thought let me check out the scheme and it sounded wicked.
I had previously had various comedy scripts optioned with channels and production companies, but I’d never had anything commissioned. This sounded like a great opportunity to take that next step and to gain experience and meet decision makers within the comedy industry who could hopefully get a script of mine across the line and made. (It sounded like decent money as well, which it is.) So I applied, and it was a much more interesting application process than normal, as I had to write my own obituary and critique two sitcoms as well as write a scene of a date at a funeral, which I found much more interesting than the usual...
Matthew Hall & Joe Williams
Writer & Script Editor
Keeping Faith was first broadcast on BBC One Wales (in English) and S4C (in Welsh) in spring 2018 and went on to achieve record viewing figures for a non-network drama on BBC iPlayer via word-of-mouth. Now as it comes to the whole UK on BBC One, beginning at 9pm on Thursday 12th July, we spoke to the drama's writer and script editor about its creation.
Eve Myles as Faith Howells
What was the origin of the drama Keeping Faith? How did the commission come about?
Matthew Hall (writer): Co-founder of Vox Pictures, Pip Broughton and I have known each other for 15 years. It was a weird and fated coincidence. I was writing an episode of the ITV series, Blue Murder and Pip was appointed director of my episode. We had both moved to Monmouth in the summer of 2003 and found that we were neighbours as well as colleagues.
When in 2013 Pip set up Vox Pictures, she asked me to come up with a few ideas to pitch to television. I had been writing novels for a few years and so turned my mind back to small screen ideas. I wrote...
Drama Room 2018
After announcing the Drama Room writers for 2018 back in May this year, here is your chance to get to know the group a little better!
Eno Mfon (Photo Credit Oliver Rudkin)
Eno Mfon is a Writer, Performer and Director. Her...
There is no getting around it: having your work rejected is horrible. The email arrives and you scan it for those tell tale phrases: ‘difficult decision’, ‘high standard of work’, followed by the giveaway: ‘Unfortunately’. It hits you like a blow to the stomach… But where do you go from here? Below are a few ideas for coping with that most common writer experience…
Head of Content Commissioning, BBC Virtual Reality
What if virtual reality was more about writing craft than tech? VR offers writers undreamt-of possibilities. As Mathias Chelebourg puts it: "Think of the classic horror shot in cinema. You’re in the living room and you can’t see the monster coming from the hall. But in VR you can lean around the door and look in the hall."
Chelebourg was speaking at a BBC Writersroom and BBC VR Hub writing workshop – an event held with the aim of introducing a new generation of talented writers to the challenges of writing for VR.
Mathias Chelebourg (front right) at the workshop for writing Virtual Reality
BBC Writersroom Wales
New Year, New Team
2018 started with a bang – since the New Year BBC Writersroom Wales has had a new team. Helen Perry joined as Development Producer and Emily Angell as Development Coordinator. We have been busy travelling the country meeting people, attending screenings, and running events waving the BBC Writersroom Wales flag.
It’s been an exciting start to the year; we have a number of schemes in the pipeline and many schemes underway already.
The cast of Outsiders during the shoot
Writer and Script Reader
During the last couple of Comedy Room open submission windows we have noticed a surprisingly low number of scripts which felt like studio sitcoms. This has to change! Well it doesn’t have to, but it would be nice to see more of them, and this is our effort to encourage you to think about attempting to write one.
So let’s start by clearing up what a studio sitcom is. Not to state the bleeding obvious, but it’s a sitcom filmed in a studio. Unlike a single camera comedy, which is normally recorded on a soundstage or on location, studio sitcoms are shot by multiple cameras in front of a live...
BBC Writersroom Development Co-ordinator
Over the last 12 months, we have been busy here in the BBC Writersroom building relationships with BBC live music festivals in order to generate opportunities for new writers to gain their first broadcast credits by writing a 60 second monologue short, produced as part of the festival outreach.
With The Biggest Weekend festival taking place across the four nations, we jumped into action in all...
Social Media Producer and Comedian
The audience for the keynote Q&A session with Steven Moffat at our TV Writers' Festival 2018 (photo credit: Kwame Lestrade)
Hello! I’m Rosie and I work for BBC Studios as a content producer and presenter, I write comedy in my spare time and have just finished a 4-part sitcom script. This was my first year at the TV Writers' Festival, which I attended with two hats on - as BBC staff and as a blogger for BBC Writersroom, who asked me to sum up the day.
Now in its eighth year, the festival brings together working TV...