TV Drama Writers Festival 2014

BBC Writersroom | Deadline: July 2, 2014

Writing is re-writing Paul Abbott

The 2014 TV Drama Writers' Festival is led by writers for writers.

**Please note: All tickets for this year's TV Drama Writers' Festival are now SOLD OUT**

“If Content is King, Where’s Our Crown….?” Tony Jordan

The TV Drama Writer’s Festival is the only festival led by writers for writers. For one day only, it’s a unique opportunity for you with your peers to join commissioners and execs to reflect, agitate and debate. With 22 different sessions and a reception to close the day this is the event for working writers.

The festival is for professional working writers providing a unique opportunity to mix with other writers, producers and commissioners in masterclass sessions, conversation and to debate, what matters to you the writer.

This year’s festival will focus on the changing landscape of television drama, the proliferation of new channels and how it will impact you; the writer.  Do you feel at the heart of the process? And if not, why not?

Now in its fifth year, the TV Drama Writer’s Festival has proved to be an indispensable event not to be missed by television writers.

Chaired by Tony Jordan(The Passing Bells, By Any Means, Hustle, EastEnders), the stellar line-up already includes: Jed Mercurio, Sally Wainwright, Simon Ashdown, Abi Morgan, Levi David Addai, Danny Brocklehurst, Barbara Machin, Adam Curtis, Peter Bowker, and Sarah Phelps, alongside Ben Stephenson, Polly Hill and Cameron Roach, Liam Keelan and Jane Featherstone.

WHEN: Wednesday 2nd JULY 2014. From 9.30am to 7.30pm

WHERE: Central St Martin’s, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA

TICKETS: Tickets are priced at £30.00. To apply* for a ticket download the application form and return to

 *please note you must have at least one television writing credit in order to apply.

Read the About the BBC blog about last year's festival

This event is taking place with the support of Drama Centre London and Central Saint Martins' new MA Dramatic Writing


Keynote Speech by Tony Jordan: If Content is King, Where's our Crown?

Are we keeping up, do we know what's going on and are we ready for the changing landscape?

Tony Jordan


From Fresh Meat to Babylon

Examining the work of the highly successful writing duo Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain.

Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong with Toby Whithouse


So You Want to Write a Feature?

Film London’s Senior Microwave Executive, Olivier Kaempfer discusses what makes a successful low budget feature film and what the team looks for in the application process for their scheme. Olivier is joined by Dominic Buchanan, Producer of Microwave’s latest feature Lilting, to explore his experience of working with writers and specifically the writing process on this hugely successful film.

Olivier Kaempfer & Dominic Buchanan


Developing your Character

Heroes and villains, characters we love and characters we love to hate! Discussing the building blocks of memorable characters.

Barbara Machin & Danny Brocklehurst

Staying Relevant: Feeding the Beasts of the Schedules

Are writers reflecting the zeitgeist in Continuing Drama? How can they find their voice and serve the show?

Ben Stephenson, Simon Ashdown, Jane Hudson & Debbie Oates


Writers for Sale?

How are different companies attracting and managing talent? Does this preclude risk-taking with other writers and projects? Have we got our talent strategy right?

Bryan Elsley, Sophie Gardiner, Levi David Addai & Hilary Salmon


Women in TV: Unfinished Business

Why are there still fewer women behind the camera? Do we need to adapt the way we tell stories and what more can be done?

Pier Wilkie, Lisa Holdsworth, China Moo Young, Chris Aird


Due to unforeseen circumstances, Sally Wainwright is unfortunately no longer able to attend the Festival this year, but we're extremely pleased to have Peter Moffat joining us.

The following session replaces Happy Valley


The Politics of Drama

Join BAFTA award-winning writer Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice, Silk, The Village, Hawking) and Kate Rowland, BBC Creative Director, New Writing as Peter examines why TV drama matters, and how the misrepresentation of reality affects our understanding of the truth.

Peter Moffat & Kate Rowland


The Casualty Writers Room

In-depth analysis of the new-look writers room for the award-winning Saturday night drama.

Sally Abbott & Lucy Raffety


Drama on Youtube

Top Drama Formats on YouTube, what makes them a success and how writers can engage with the platform’s audiences. Rosie Allimonos, Head of Content Partnerships (EMEA), at YouTube, Google, discusses the opportunities.

Rosie Allimonos


Do we need treatments?

Are treatments useful? Are they the best way for writers to collate their thoughts when trying to develop a new project?

Bryan Elsley


The Two Tones

Tony Jordan, writer, producer, in conversation with Tony Hall, BBC Director General.

Tony Hall & Tony Jordan


Crossing the line - Line of Duty

Jed Mercurio and Simon Heath discuss the challenges of this year’s explosive and gripping police corruption drama.

Jed Mercurio & Simon Heath with Ben Stephenson


Selling Your Idea

How should writers pitch to companies? What attracts a commissioner or production company to sign on the dotted line …?

Jane Featherstone, Polly Hill, Pete Bowker & Toby Whithouse


Dealing with Rejection

Is it me or the idea …? Being dumped is never nice but happens to the best of us. How can writers cope with ‘project malfunctions’?

Tony Jordan, Barbara Machin, Levi David Addai & Danny Brocklehurst


How I Write

How to approach research and story hooks, with reference to ‘The Crimson Field’.

Sarah Phelps


Face to Face with Abi Morgan

A forensic look at the key methods Abi Morgan uses to develop her ideas from page to screen.

Abi Morgan, Simon Ashdown


In Conversation with Jane Featherstone and Tony Jordan

Jane Featherstone and Tony Jordan discuss the writers' work ethic, the shifting conditions of the industry and what makes them mad!

Jane Featherstone & Tony Jordan 


New Markets: Do we still need broadcasters?

With a plethora of new distribution methods and markets, what can writers do to maximise their opportunities? Will on-demand kill traditional broadcasting …?

Cameron Roach, Jed Mercurio, Liam Keelan & Barbara Machin


How I Pitch

What is the best way to get people interested in your idea?

Danny Brocklehurst, Bryan Elsley and Pete Bowker


Keynote - ‘Unstoryfiable’ by Adam Curtis

Leading documentary maker, Adam Curtis, discusses how the many forces that are shaping our lives today remain almost invisible, which is why so much journalism and fiction seems stuck in the past.

Adam Curtis With Jed Mercurio 

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