The CBBC New Voices Initiative was an intensive, skills-based programme that ran throughout 2015, designed to give 10 emerging writers valuable insight into writing for CBBC, kick-starting an ongoing relationship with the drama team and allowing the writers unprecedented access to much-loved CBBC brands.
Gareth Sergeant was one of the 10 writers selected to participate. Gareth has written animation, radio plays, theatre plays and screenplays. In 2013 he took part in the BBC Doctors shadow scheme, and he has recently participated in the BBC Holby City shadow scheme. Since being involved in the CBBC NVI, Gareth has been commissioned to write an episode of The Dumping Ground.
Prior to the hearing about the New Voices Initiative, my experiences of children’s drama was mainly limited to vague but deeply ingrained memories of malevolent headmasters, magic 50p pieces and that fateful paintballing episode of Byker Grove. Of course I was aware of contemporary shows like Wolfblood and The Dumping Ground, and I had written a few spec scripts with young protagonists at their heart, yet I’d never fully considered myself writing content about children, for children. With no kids of my own,...
Kellie Bright and Danny Dyer
“Don’t be beige! Be bold!”
After 3 days of inspirational, informative and intensive workshops at Elstree Studios, these were the parting words Dominic Treadwell-Collins (Executive Producer and all-around EastEnders guru) left imprinted on our keen, impressionable, brains before sending us off to write a trial script. An actual, proper, 3 drafts of a 30 minute EastEnders episode. Do a good job of that and you’ll be rewarded with an actual, proper, commission to put words in Danny Dyer’s ‘North and South’.
An abundance of further ‘do’s and dont’s’ - or, more accurately, hours of invaluable insight into the start to finish process of making EastEnders - followed over the next few days which included sessions with Rob Gittins (legendary ‘Enders writer with over 250 eps and counting), Kris Green (Senior Script Editor), Anne Edyvean (Head of BBC Writersroom, ex-Producer of EastEnders), Alex Lamb (Story Producer), Ray McBride (Senior Researcher - and, I suspect, secret comic genius), Jane...
The Comedy Room writers 2015/16
Editor's Note: The Comedy Room is a six-month writer development scheme for writers identified through our open submission script room and other talent searches.
The 17 writers are now half-way through the scheme and last week spent an intensive 2 days developing their scripts for the opening scenes of a potential sitcom with expert mentor Andrew Ellard.
We asked them to sum up the experience in their words...
(Other carbonated beverages are available)
INT. BBC WRITERSROOM COMEDY ROOM – Tues AM
Andrew Ellard talks passionately about sitcom mechanics for nearly three hours. We would happily listen to him for another three. He covers everything from the perils of passive characters to the inadvertent sexism of male-centric shows. He's keen for us to interrupt with questions but we are too enthralled. This is going to be a good couple of days.
INT. BBC WRITERSROOM COMEDY ROOM – Tues PM
The read-throughs begin. It’s exciting to hear everyone’s writing voice for the...
Last year Class Dismissed, a new CBBC sketch show joined forces with BBC writersroom to provide an opportunity to write for the show. The initiative was a huge success with four writers' sketches picked, filmed and due to air on the show.
The 'Dockbridge High' school badge from CBBC's upcoming sketch show, Class Dismissed
Writer and Lecturer
Editor's Note: It’s My Shout offers the opportunity to see your short (10 minute) film script developed and produced before being broadcast on BBC Cymru Wales. It's My Shout is open for applications until 31st March 2016. Ian Eadon-Davies was a winner in 2015 and explains what happened next and why he would recommend it to other writers.
So, what’s occurin’?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must be aware that Wales is on the...
We are half way through the first Comedy Room Development Programme!
Our first 3 months (of the 6 month) programme has been action packed; workshops, masterclasses, networking, pitch sessions and one-to-ones have all been squeezed into the Comedy Room.
The room mates have met with Execs and Writers across the BBC Comedy departments: Radio Drama (who consider Comedy Drama offerings), CBeebies, CBBC, TV Comedy and Radio Comedy and there is still much more to come.
Next week we're hosting cast read-throughs of opening scenes of the sitcoms the writers are developing throughout the course. It...
War and Peace - an interview with Andrew Davies, the writer of BBC One's new adaptation of Tolstoy's novel.
War and Peace: Dolokhov (Tom Burke), Anatole Kuragin (Callum Turner), Helene Kuragin (Tuppence Middleton), Pierre Bezukhov (Paul Dano), Natasha Rostov (Lily James), Prince Andrei (James Norton), Sonya (Aisling Loftus), Nikolai Rostov (Jack Lowden), Princess Marya (Jessie Buckley), Boris (Aneurin Barnard)(Image Credit: BBC/Mitch Jenkins/Kaia Zak)
What appealed to you about adapting War & Peace?
I’d never read it before the BBC suggested it. I’d been saving it up. But I thought, “Gosh, it’s about time I read it now.” I was absolutely surprised to find out how fresh and lively and modern it felt. I thought it was going to be this great solemn tome. But there’s a lot of humour and affection in it. Once you’ve cut out the bits where
Editor's Note: Tony Jordan's new drama Dickensian begins on BBC One on Boxing Day at 7pm. It is set in the fictional realm of Charles Dickens' novels and brings together some of his most iconic characters.
Why do you think the world of Dickens and his characters still have such a great resonance today?
I think the work of Charles Dickens is part of who we are as a society, whether you're an avid fan of the books, or the many adaptations or you just loved The Muppets Christmas Carol, it's part of all our lives. He also wrote about social injustice and the gaps between the haves and...
Editor's Note: Writer Sarah Phelps spoke to the BBC's Media Centre ahead of the broadcast of her adaptation of Agatha Christie's most popular novel And Then There Were None (the best-selling crime novel of all time) beginning on Boxing Day at 9pm on BBC One. Read the interview below.
And Then There Were None: Philip Lombard (Aiden Turner), Thomas Rogers (Noah Taylor), Vera Claythorne (Maeve Dermody), AJ Marston (Douglas Booth), Dr Armstrong (Toby Stephens), Judge Wargrave (Charles Dance), William Blore (Burn Gorman), Emily Brent (Miranda Richardson), General Macarthur (Sam Neill), Ethel Rogers (Anna Maxwell Martin)( Image Credit: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Des Willie)
Sarah Phelps had never read an Agatha Christie novel before And Then There Were None but admits she was totally...
Assistant Script Editor
Do you know where the word 'geek' comes from? Neither did I, until I worked with Neil Cross - Emmy award-nominated writer and compendium of outré knowledge - on the new series of Luther. It turns out that, to the denizens of the first half of the twentieth century, a geek was someone who bit the heads off live chickens in a circus sideshow. Neil recommended that I read forgotten pulp classic