Whenever I get the call offering me a new job, it's always the same old response: the panic, the urge to run, change my phone number, buy a wig. This is it - this is the one where they'll 'find me out'. So it was no different when Tiger Aspect commissioned me to create an ensemble drama about a group of women with a family member in prison. Sweaty palms, sleepless nights..what do I know about the criminal justice system?
And then - the life raft. Research. Myself and my fellow writers, James Graham and Chloe Moss, spent months visiting prisons, talking to offenders, chaplains and, most importantly of all, to families and partners of the men inside. It was a both a privilege and an eye opener but that's not to say it wasn't tricky. You're asking people about what is clearly the most traumatic time in their lives - but their response was an inspiration. These women were idiosyncratic, brave, funny and resilient and we were very lucky to have their support.
Image from BBC One drama, Prisoners' Wives.
Prisoners' Wives is a mainstream show, popular telly, aiming to get a mass audience. To that end, I was asked to create strong characters who undergo big transformative journeys, but it was the moments of truth and authenticity that these women generously shared with us that I hope will connect most with our audience.
Download the script for episode one of Prisoners' Wives, written by Julie Gearey from our online script library.
Watch a clip from the episode below.
Prisoners' Wives is on BBC One tonight at 9pm. Find out more about the characters in the series on the programme page.