Blog posts by year and month May 2008

Posts (5)

  1. I'm putting the finishing touches to my latest Holby 1st draft. The deadline is today which can be a little arbitrary - today first thing? Today end of? I used to be under the illusion that the sooner I got the script into my editor, the sooner notes would come back to me, the quicker the whole ...

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  2. Well, here is the news release which has just been issued. "The BBC today announces the six candidates selected to take part in the BBC's College of Comedy training scheme launched earlier this year. The scheme will train six writers on the job over a year by attaching them to sitcoms and...

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  3. As you may already be aware, Sharps is the BBC writersroom open call for new writing talent. There's a £500 bursary, a residential training scheme, and BBC mentoring available for the best scripts on the theme of "The Nation's Health". You might be working on your entry already. Or perhaps y...

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  4. Liked Ashes to Ashes? Well, we had a chat with creators and showrunners Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah the other day about writing for Gene Hunt and his time-travelling partners. You can find all the details in our interview - and also read the first episodes of Life on Mars and Ashes t...

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  5. Well, today we've let the people we would like to interview know, and let the people from the long list who we're not going to interview know too. We'll be meeting people next Tuesday and Wednesday, and announcing the six by the end of next week, all being well. And that's the news from the college. Since some of the comments have moved into general areas beyond the scheme, it seems like a good opportunity to address some myths and misconceptions. One, which hasn't yet surfaced but is bound to at some point, is that we are so bereft of projects that we steal ideas from new writers and give them to some mythical group of favourites who exist in a basement of Television Centre waiting to be fed. There is never a shortage of scripts of ideas. There is always a shortage of good scripts and ideas. Indeed, when I ran an online team-writing project called Cleaners, someone claimed I had stolen it which, since it was based on a format I devised at Alomo, was demonstrably untrue. It's a fact of writing life that several people will have a similar idea at much the same time. Although I have only once seen a project set in a public lavatory. Another, which Kroggy has raised, is that there is some sort of clique or inner circle of writers, to which outsiders can never be admitted. This is a good conspiracy theory, but doesn't bear close examination. In my seven years at the BBC, I have found or been involved in finding (some with the invaluable help of the writers' room) seven writers who had no broadcast credits, knew no one at the BBC, and are all now writing professionally both here and for other broadcasters. Colleagues have similar experiences to report. Everyone in comedy wants to find and foster new writers whose work they can develop and see produced. There is no closed shop. I am currently reading projects which we plan to pitch to commissioning and thence, all being well, to channels. A quarter of those projects are by writers with no broadcast credits, and are thus, by my definition, new. For some it may be a second or third attempt to get a show made, but for all of them it was a matter of someone here who didn't know them finding a script they liked. So while we obviously have a pool of writers who seem likely to create a produceable show, it is a pool which is constantly refreshed and continues to expand. That doesn't feel like a clique to me. I thought the college entry requirements were clear, though I had three or four requests for clarification. They were designed to rule out complete beginners, because the scheme isn't designed for complete beginners. The final shortlist was a result of reading and comment by nine people with significant experience in television comedy, including the senior members of the comedy department. I am not going to publish submissions, first because some are in development outside the BBC, and second because I will not expose writers to trial by internet, even if they were willing. .

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