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  1. Mackenzie Crook on writing, performing and creating BBC Four's Detectorists

    Wednesday 19 November 2014, 16:33

    Mackenzie Crook Mackenzie Crook Writer and Actor

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    Mackenzie Crook in Detectorists Mackenzie Crook as Andy in Detectorists (BBC/Lola Entertainment/Channel X)

    What is your writing background?  Have you always written alongside acting?

    I started out doing character comedy on the stand up and cabaret circuit. Over the first couple of years I wrote material and cobbled together a five-minute open spot, then ten minutes and eventually the tried and tested twenty minute routine needed to get proper paid gigs in the clubs.

    Soon after I’d managed that I got a regular compère spot at a cabaret club in Deptford. It was quite a popular club for a few years and attracted a good audience. But among them were a lot of regulars who came every Sunday so I was forced to come up with new material every week.

    I have always had little bits and pieces of writing on the go. There is a shelf of notebooks in my office full of half thought out ideas stretching back years.  They are great to dip into for inspiration and sometimes I’ll use a bit of dialogue that I originally scribbled down a decade earlier.

    About the only times I’ve been able to see a writing project through to completion have been when deadlines are involved.  I would love to be able to take my time privately...

    Read more about Mackenzie Crook on writing, performing and creating BBC Four's Detectorists

  2. Harry and Jack Williams - the writing brothers behind BBC One's powerful drama 'The Missing'

    Thursday 13 November 2014, 14:06

    BBC Writersroom BBC Writersroom .

    Harry and Jack Williams Harry and Jack Williams

    How did you both get into writing – was it something you both had an interest in growing up?

    [Harry] Our father is a writer and would make up stories when we were younger, and so it’s something we just grew up with. [Jack] I’ve always wanted to write since I was five and started out doing bad short stories.

    What path have you taken to where you are now?

    [Jack] I worked at a TV production company as a script editor for a while, where I read a lot of scripts and decided maybe writing TV would be better than the novels I couldn’t sell. When I was 25 I wrote a comedy-drama for the company I was at, which was turned into a BBC sitcom. It wasn’t good, but it’s how I got started.

    [Harry] I was an actor for a while and in my early 20’s wrote a sitcom about a recent break-up, which was eventually made into BBC2’s Roman’s Empire. As Jack and I worked on sitcoms separately we increasingly found ourselves asking each other’s opinion and advice, and ended up writing Roman’s Empire together.

    [Jack] We’d been in a band together when we were younger and we argued far more about writing songs than we ever have about writing TV shows.

    The Missing The Missing -...

    Read more about Harry and Jack Williams - the writing brothers behind BBC One's powerful drama 'The Missing'

  3. Squaring a Circle - Filming pilot online web-series InSecurity

    Monday 10 November 2014, 15:06

    Henry R Swindell Henry R Swindell Development Producer

    There is an adage/idiom/saying "you can't get a job without experience, and you can't get experience without a job" and I'm sure this particular 'Catch 22' is true of most careers but it's certainly true of 'meedja'. 

    InSecurity InSecurity - cast members Luke Bailey, Roberta Kerr, Peter Slater and Gary Damer.

    At BBC Writersroom we are always looking for ways to square this particular circle.  Although we work with writers at any stage of their career we often meet very talented writers who haven't yet written for broadcast.  It occurred to us how much talent and access to equipment and manpower the country's universities have, but the films that come out of their courses tend to be single short films.  Short films are great, I've produced several myself, but they are seen as a director's medium and they don't really reflect what the BBC does.  The majority of BBC output is series and serials, episodic drama, be that shows with continuing serial story lines or repeating formats.  It's very hard for writers and crews to have experience of this without actually doing it  - which brings me back to the opening 'Catch 22'…

    InSecurity InSecurity - filming on location

    So last year we decided...

    Read more about Squaring a Circle - Filming pilot online web-series InSecurity

  4. The Passing Bells - an interview with scriptwriter Tony Jordan

    Wednesday 5 November 2014, 15:51

    Tony Jordan Tony Jordan

    The Passing Bells Michael (Jack Lowden), Thomas (Paddy Gibson) Image: BBC/Red Planet/Ola Grochowska

    What attracted you to writing the series? 

    I was interested in telling the stories of the young men who were sent to war, the really young men who lied about their age to be able to go. It meant something to me because I’ve got sons, and although they’re in their early twenties now I can certainly remember them in their late teens. I wanted to tell a story from their perspective, to show what it must have been like for a boy to be sent to the other side of Europe to fight in the most terrible war that has...

    Read more about The Passing Bells - an interview with scriptwriter Tony Jordan

  5. Producing Radio 4 Extra's Newsjack - From the Writers Room to the Edit Suite

    Friday 31 October 2014, 11:02

    Newsjack Team Newsjack Team Radio 4 Extra

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    Charlie-Perkins-and-Arnab-C.jpg Charlie Perkins and Arnab Chanda
    Hello. We are Charlie Perkins and Arnab Chanda. Charlie is a girl. Arnab is a boy. We are the Producers of the 10th and 11th series of Radio 4 Extra’s topical sketch show NewsJack. It’s quite an unorthodox show, in that it’s written almost entirely by the public, and put together in just two days. It’s an insanely quick turnaround, and can lead to panic attacks.
    The work begins for us on Monday, when we read all the sketch submissions from the public and also run the Writers Room, which usually consists of 6 writers- young standups, sketch comedians...

    Read more about Producing Radio 4 Extra's Newsjack - From the Writers Room to the Edit Suite

  6. Writing 'Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully' for Radio 4: From Script Draft 0 to 8

    Wednesday 29 October 2014, 13:13

    Eddie Robson Eddie Robson Writer

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    I know a writer who recently told his dad it took him about four months to write a one-hour script. His dad’s response: ‘You should learn to touch-type.’
    I’m assuming that you, as someone with enough interest in the writing process to visit this blog, understand why this is funny. It’s the assumption that the script just emerges from the writer’s brain onto the page and that’s what gets made. But as we know, ‘Writing is re-writing’ – it says so on this website somewhere – and the real work is what goes on between typing the thing out.
    We try to get it right first time – in...

    Read more about Writing 'Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully' for Radio 4: From Script Draft 0 to 8

  7. BBC TV Drama - Supporting New Writing

    Monday 27 October 2014, 15:50

    BBC Writersroom BBC Writersroom .

    “We are delighted to be able to share some news about three initiatives being run by BBC in-house Drama to develop new writing talent. Vital to our work at the BBC Writersroom is the partnerships we have with internal departments, where we champion and promote talent. We have worked closely with BBC Drama to support these exciting developments and acted as consultants on all three schemes. They are targeted at writers who have already made the first important steps in their careers and have an existing body of exciting and innovative work. All three demonstrate how the BBC aims to support...

    Read more about BBC TV Drama - Supporting New Writing

  8. The Holby City Writers Shadow Scheme

    Friday 24 October 2014, 11:40

    Laura Turner Laura Turner Writer

    Editor's Note: Following Olly Perkin's recent blog on the Casualty Writers Shadow Scheme, Laura Turner blogs for us about her experience so far on the equivalent scheme for Holby City. Shadow Schemes are run for writers on all the BBC's Continuing Drama shows: EastEnders, Doctors, Casualty and Holby City.

    Holby City Filming Holby City

    Writers write. Simple. Except writers also wait. And wait. For the phone to ring, their emails to refresh – and the past couple of months have been full of nervous excitement after applying for the Holby City shadow scheme. I’ve watched the show since its inception...

    Read more about The Holby City Writers Shadow Scheme

  9. Room to Write from BBC Scotland Comedy

    Monday 20 October 2014, 16:40

    Keiron Nicholson Keiron Nicholson Writer and Comedian

    Room to Write Room to Write

    So here I am, somehow, in the BBC, the home of most of the comedy I’ve loved since I was only yay high (imagine I am positioning my hand to indicate a low height, perhaps the height of a twelve-year old or a particularly ashamed man).

    I’m one of the people lucky enough to have won a place on the BBC’s Room to Write scheme. Masterminded by Steven Canny and Laura Marks (BBC Comedy), Room to Write is setting out to find and develop the next wave of Scottish comedy writers. Twenty-two of us have made it this far, and as the scheme continues we must kill each other off with a...

    Read more about Room to Write from BBC Scotland Comedy

  10. Writing for 'Casualty' - the Shadow Scheme

    Wednesday 15 October 2014, 16:28

    Olly Perkin Olly Perkin Writer

    Editor's Note: Writers Shadow Schemes are run for all the BBC's Continuing Drama shows - EastEnders, Doctors, Casualty and Holby City.  They mirror the show's writing process by developing and producing an episode from which the writer will be assessed for a commission. Training includes workshops, lectures and exercises on storytelling and the show's format together with a formal induction and set tour.  There are eight writers on this year's Casualty Shadow Scheme including Olly Perkin who blogs about his experience so far.

    Casualty Clapperboard Casualty

    The Casualty Writers Shadow Scheme has been a great learning...

    Read more about Writing for 'Casualty' - the Shadow Scheme

About this Blog

Behind-the-scenes insights from writers and producers on BBC TV and radio programmes.  

Get top tips on script writing and follow the journeys of writers who have come through BBC writersroom schemes and opportunities.


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