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19 September 2014
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Advice

Writing for Television

EastEnders

Rob Gittins

Rob has written for a large number of successful TV and radio programmes including EastEnders, Casualty, The Bill, Emmerdale, Solider Soldier, The Archers and over 1000 episodes of Pobol y Cwm.

Rob's work has won him a Writers Guild Award and he was a part of the BAFTA award winning EastEnders writing team in 2000.

Here he talks about his writing career and in part two offers advice for new scriptwriters.

Q1. How did you become a professional writer?

I have never actually done anything else actually which is a bit embarrassing. Other writers have got these great stories about jobs they've had but I've always done this and never had another job. I started out twenty years ago and even then it was very difficult to break into TV and impossible to break into films but radio seemed more democratic. You could, and still can, send in radio plays off the street and somebody will read them. So I started writing radio plays and after a couple of years of sending them in got one accepted.

 

Q2. What was your big break?

It was a very short radio play that was put on late at night but what it meant was that for the first time someone apart from me said I like what you're doing. Over the next couple of years I started writing more plays for radio and I got to know more producers and editors. One day the producer of what would become EastEnders listened to one of my radio plays and got in touch with me, which I could never have foreseen.

 

Q3. How do you structure your working day?

It depends on commissions really. At the moment I've got deadlines like tonight so that structures my day for me. I have got to get a pair of EastEnders scripts in by 5pm tonight and that's that. Usually what I try and do is a balance between commissioned work and original work - film scripts or radio plays, whatever it may be. Even though it doesn't always work out, I think if you only ever did commissioned work you would get very stale.

 

Q4. What is the next step once you have come up with an idea?

I think that what you have to do is just write the script. I have had ideas I have shown production teams and we have put in for development money but you just end up waiting and waiting. If you are a writer as opposed to a producer you are in a great position as it means you can just write it. So basically if you have an idea, get the script done. Take your own time to get it down on paper and see if it works.

 

Part two



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