Archives for August 2012

Good Cop: I'm the scriptwriter

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Stephen Butchard | 14:02 UK time, Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Good Cop, in short, is a police show that I wanted to try and make that little bit different - a police show in which I wanted to concentrate on the individual, the man, rather than the rules.

Recently police dramas, both home-grown and imported, have been mostly dominated by forensics and procedure - with the help of science, analysis, questions and answers we have watched our police teams solve puzzles - and very entertaining it is too!

But with aspirations to put something fresh and hopefully new up on our TV screen John Paul Rocksavage became a beat cop.

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Trailer: 'What are you Rocksavage? A witness? A weakness? A suspect?'

Sav is a copper at the sharp end.

He knocks on a door and has no concrete idea of what lies behind it.

Events unfold in the moment and Sav has to react and find the correct response to anything and everything before he and his colleagues are called to the next crisis, the next 999.

Everything is in the moment, everything is loaded with the emotions and dangers of the moment - it's the very stuff of drama (theoretically).

But for me this was only half the story.

Yes, he's a policeman and yes, we go to work with him but the drama had to be about what is happening in his life as a whole - the drama had to be about how his work life could impact upon his private life.

Sav's mindset was also important. He HAD to be a good man, he IS a good man, a Good Cop.

Doing the right thing is important for a reason and that reason is the people he loves or has loved.

He would never want to let them down - they are to be protected.

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Waitress Amy is intimidated by Noel Finch

Although I wanted to keep the drama character-driven I couldn't ignore that the bulk of the characters were policemen and women so I made sure I went to the police themselves, a pure source for research.

At the beginning of each police shift there is an all-inclusive meeting where ongoing jobs and relevant topics and events that might affect the shift are discussed - this is called a parade.

I sat in on a few non-sensitive shift parades and briefings and sat across the table from several constables, sergeants, inspectors, one chief inspector and one assistant chief constable - all of them good cops.

Meeting them, talking to them, seeing them as people, hearing about the work they do and how they feel about it was both vital and inspirational.

Sitting in on the parades made me realise that although certain tasks were laid out these people really didn't know what the day would have in store for them - literally anything could happen and they would deal with it, willingly.


In episode one, we meet John Paul Rocksavage on the day of his very own perfect storm.

A day that begins on the beach with him meeting his ex-girlfriend Cassie - and ends, shall we say, in tragic circumstances... but the storm hasn't finished with him yet, not by a long way.

Warren Brown as John Paul Rocksavage on set

Warren Brown as John Paul Rocksavage on set

The main series story arc is dictated by the repercussions of the tragedy and how events conspire against Sav to change the whole of his life.

Sav spends the rest of the series trying to press the reset button - all he wants is for things to return to normal... but of course that's impossible.

The challenge through the series was to make events as hair-raising and dramatic as possible but ALWAYS to maintain the plausibility and truthfulness of the characters.

Stephen Butchard is the writer of Good Cop.

Good Cop is on Thursday, 30 August at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

UPDATE: Episode four of Good Cop will be on BBC One on Saturday, 13 October at 10.30pm. In light of news events, BBC One had postponed the final episode originally due to transmit at 9pm on Thursday, 20 September.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

The Review Show: Interviewing Ian McEwan

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Kirsty Wark Kirsty Wark | 12:00 UK time, Friday, 24 August 2012

Ian McEwan is famous, but it is the mark of someone who treats fame as a by-product of his immense talent and who is comfortable in his skin that when we met for The Review Show interview there was no palaver, no entourage, no demands.

We set up our cameras in the wonderfully shabby, once elegant, University Women's Club in London in the wooden panelled library where a hardback copy of Lisa Appignanesi's Mad Bad and Sad, an examination of women's mental illness across two centuries, had been casually left on a chair.

The crew closed the shutters against the noise of the street, set up the lights and positioned the chairs. We would be ready for Ian McEwan.

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Ian McEwan: "Novels are bound to be imperfect; they're all too human"

He had an hour and we wanted to make the most of it with a long interview and some readings from his latest novel Sweet Tooth.

The book's publication coincided with the Edinburgh International Book Festival and he, and we, were delighted it was to be launched there.

It has given The Review Show an opportunity to interview him ahead of the day and make a special programme about the man whom I think is one of our most thought provoking authors.

(I still think about the opening scene in Enduring Love and the horror in Black Dogs.)

But just as a character in one of his books might slip into a room unobserved and get the measure of the room and its inhabitants, Ian McEwan arrived early and casually and (at least so it appeared) looking forward to the conversation.

I think this is no mean feat for an author who must have notched up hundreds of interviews.

The joy of such an encounter is the preparation as well as the execution.

The day before I sat with my Review Show colleagues discussing his work and giving my and their thoughts a loose-ish structure.

Sweet Tooth is set in the Cold War era of the early 70s and is, up to a point, a spy novel.

Ian McEwan has written novels set in several different decades, so he said he always knew he would mine the decade of his early 20s.

It is a first person narrative in the voice of Serena Frome, who finds herself working in the lower echelons - well the bottom really - of MI5 after her graduation from Cambridge.

She is recruited for a propaganda project to fund young authors who it is deemed might write fiction favourable to the West. Of course the writers have no idea about the identity of their benefactor.

Serena falls for one recruit, Tom Haley a young Sussex graduate making his way with short stories.

Early in the interview Ian McEwan volunteers that Haley is in fact a sort of distorted autobiographical character and of course - his slender frame, the clothes, the music, the period - all falls into place.

This is funny as so many authors rail against the idea which they regard as reductive, that they are writing about themselves.

Actually there are several very humorous aspects to Sweet Tooth and you'll see in Friday's programme that Ian McEwan tells some very funny stories about his writing - not least that he has compiled a lecture about all the mistakes in his novels.

It takes an author who knows he's good, very good, serious and thoughtful, not to take himself too seriously and, as in the clip above, to be candid about his vulnerability as a writer.

Kirsty Wark is the presenter of The Review Show.

The Review Show is on Friday, 24 August at 11pm on BBC Two. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Robert Hughes On Goya: Crazy Like A Genius

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Nicolas Kent Nicolas Kent | 11:03 UK time, Thursday, 23 August 2012

The late art critic Robert Hughes had always been captivated by the great Spanish artist Goya.

But it was only when he narrowly survived an automobile accident in Western Australia in 1999 that Robert was impelled to act on that fascination by writing a book and making a film for BBC Four about his hero.

Bob described to me how, while recuperating from the collision which kept him in a coma for five weeks and in hospital for more than six months, he dreamt about Goya.

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"It doesn't try to be beautiful, it tries to be true"

These hallucinations were so terrifying that the only way he could free himself was to write his way out.

So from the start Bob's film about Goya was an act of personal catharsis.

Robert Hughes On Goya: Crazy Like A Genius was commissioned by Roly Keating, the founding controller of BBC Four to be shown on the launch night of the new channel in March 2002.

As the executive producer I flew to New York with our director Ian MacMillan to meet with Bob.

On a bright sunny morning we took a cab to Bob's apartment on the corner of Prince Street and West Broadway.

It was 11 September 2001 and the radio was reporting what was initially seen as a tragic accident: an aeroplane had crashed into one of the twin towers.

By the time we arrived at Bob's apartment with its cinematic view of downtown both towers were ablaze.

Bob's TV was on the blink so, perhaps fortunately, we were spared commentary: we just watched the tragedy unfold, mute.

What can you say at such a moment?

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"Goya is still the god, the father figure of every war photographer I've known"

Bob's response was refracted through art: he thought of Goya as the first great war reporter in art and now he was reminded of just how apt for this moment was the caption to Goya's shockingly brutal image from his extraordinary series of prints The Disasters of War: 'I saw this.'

When I think about the genesis of Bob's film about Goya I see it as being sandwiched between those two events: Bob's brush with death in Western Australia and the collapse of the twin towers.

The combination of the intimately personal - and what can be more personal that one's own near-death experience? - and tragedy on such an epic scale runs through the film.

This is what made Bob the greatest art critic of our time: not only were his opinions expressed with muscular certainty in words which stick in the mind, but in describing a work of art and how it made him feel he also captured the visceral experience of seeing it for the first time.

Only Bob could so seamlessly combine forensic analysis, emotional empathy and earthy humour to explain why Goya's portrait of the Duchess of Alba reveals the artist's unrequited love for this unattainable aristocrat.

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Goya painted and drew the Duchess over the years, sometimes in very intimate settings

Click on the first clip at the top of this post for his description of Goya's great history painting The Third of May, a work which to Bob was "one of the great pictures of all time by anybody."

Watch it once and then run through it again with your eyes closed. As much as Bob thrived in the visual medium of television to illuminate the visual medium of art, his skill was to remind us that great television is as much about words as it is about images.

Somehow Bob was able to transport us to the artist's own time, to the moment Goya put paint to canvas, while also conveying precisely why the finished work should matter to all of us here and now.

Bob was never afraid to confront the question: why does art matter? It was a question he addressed in everything he wrote and spoke, even if his answers were not always comfortable to hear.

At the end of his film about Goya, Bob admits the futility of trying to sum up the artist and his work in a tidy phrase. But he absolutely nails why Goya should matter to us now.

Our inability to measure up to the "peculiar intensity" of Goya's art might be sadly depleted today, he says, but if that is what Goya shows us, at least he shows us something.

Nicolas Kent is the executive producer of Robert Hughes On Goya: Crazy Like A Genius, and has made a dozen films for TV with Robert Hughes.

Robert Hughes On Goya: Crazy Like A Genius is on Thursday, 23 August at 9.50pm on BBC Four. It was originally broadcast in March 2002.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

In With The Flynns: Q&A with writer Simon Nye

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Simon Nye Simon Nye | 16:40 UK time, Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How did you become involved in writing the second series of In With The Flynns?

I'd worked with the show's producer, the legendary Caryn Mandabach, back in the 1990s on the American version of Men Behaving Badly and we'd been trying to work together for a while.

She had a show, I had a laptop, so this seemed like a good opportunity.

The Flynns

The Flynns: Steve, Kevin, Mikey, Caroline, Liam, Jim and Chloe

What aspects of your family life have influenced the storylines?

It's just that much harder to write a family sitcom if you haven't got a family. It's not so much the storylines, more kids' attitudes and dialogue.

Much as I love my children it's hard to underestimate how surly and unforgiving kids can be.

Do you follow the Liam school of parenting, or Jim's?

Liam is actually a pretty good Dad - enthusiastic, hands-on, young enough to understand children and solidly in love with his wife. So let's say I'm like him.

Jim is so old-school there's something Dickensian about him. But you've got to love the confidence of a dad whose catchphrase is "I'm Jim. Who the hell are you?"

Are there any lines in this series which you borrowed from real life?

No. I honestly can't think of any lines from real life which I've used in something I've written. Which either means my life is incredibly dull or I'm not paying attention, or I'm deaf.

What do you love and hate about filming in front of a live studio audience?

I love how the audience adds adrenaline to performances (hopefully without sending them over the top) and a sense of festivity.

Lots of TV critics may not like it but the audience is real people laughing at jokes because they find them funny. Very few of them are drunk, and none of them are paid to be there.

What do I hate most? Really funny warm-up men.

Do you change lines as you go, depending on audience reaction?

I watch all the recordings from the safe haven of Mission Control, the studio gallery.

I very rarely change lines as I go because you have to have a certain level of confidence in your own work. And the audience and I sometimes disagree.

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Watch a deleted scene from In With The Flynns: Introducing Kevin

You've worked across different TV genres. Do you have a favourite?

I do love half-hour sitcoms - they're short enough to be manageable but they have an accumulative power.

But I enjoy any kind of comedy writing, except on the days when it's like poking yourself in the face with a fork.

Many fans have praised your Doctor Who episode, Amy's Choice. Apart from that one what's your favourite Doctor Who episode?

It's probably not one for hardcore fans but I like the softer Doctor Who episodes like Vincent And The Doctor.

Someone should do the episode where the Doctor meets The Beatles. I am available.

What is your current favourite comedy?

My current favourite is the sleazy American sitcom Rules Of Engagement. And you've got to love Parks And Recreation. Big fan of John Morton's Twenty Twelve too.

What are you working on now?

It's a good time for comedy - it's the recession, we need a laugh - so I am incredibly busy. I am working on a play for the National Theatre amongst other things.

What was the funniest moment for you in making In With The Flynns?

It's odd but in terms of gags as soon as a job is done I forget all the jokes from it.
And in terms of funny incidental moments it's hard to beat watching BBC executives seriously debating whether we can say "b******s" or not.

Simon Nye is the writer of In With The Flynns.

In With The Flynns is next on on Friday, 24 August at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Our War: Rescue mission in a dust storm

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Jonathan Singh Jonathan Singh | 09:30 UK time, Monday, 20 August 2012

My four tours of duty in Afghanistan provided some of the best and worst experiences of my life, often only minutes apart.

Despite the years of training and experience nothing can prepare you for the realities of modern warfare: the huge logistic support involved, the proximity to death or serious injury and, above all, the way extreme violence becomes mundane.

The environment of Afghanistan, both physical and human, was always a source of a strange mix of wonder and dread.

From a physical point of view the variation between extreme cold in the winter and extreme heat in the summer made flying in an unpressurised, un-air conditioned cockpit interesting.

Added to this was the helicopter pilot's nemesis: the Afghan dust.

Dust storms, sometimes lasting days, would make flying almost impossible as the visibility was reduced to a few hundred metres, akin to driving down the motorway in thick fog.

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Watch the trailer for series two of Our War

The events of episode one of Our War took place during such weather.

My crew and I were on duty as the Immediate Response Team (IRT) who fly the Chinook with a team of medics and soldiers in the back.

It was our job to get to seriously injured casualties, Nato, Afghan or civilian, as quickly as possible so the medical team could get to work providing often lifesaving care.

When a call came through we would run to the aircraft and 'scramble' like Battle of Britain pilots in WWII.

The first information we got would include the nature of the injuries sustained. In the case of Captain Griffiths it was the most serious 'Category A', or 'Cat Alpha' in military parlance.

When faced with the prospect of a Nato soldier seriously injured on the battlefield the immediate instinct of all the members of the IRT, air crew, doctors and soldiers is to get airborne and go as quickly as possible.

Despite the dust storm and poor visibility and the reservations of the headquarters officers I was immediately clear that my crew was going to attempt a rescue mission.

How, I hadn't quite worked out, but I began to form a plan as we raced to the aircraft.

Flying multi-crew aircraft is all about trust. When I made my decision to give it a go I knew my crew trusted me to make the right call and I trusted them to tell me if I was being an idiot.

The headquarters quickly relented, I think because as a four-man helicopter crew we were united in our instant confidence that we could attempt a mission.

Before we took off I briefed the crew on the plan I had formulated over the radio with the pilot of the Apache gunship Steve Lunn.

We decided to fly the Apache and the Chinook in close formation. The Apache had Forward Looking Infrared - superior visual equipment which meant their crew could see further through the dust.

In the Chinook we couldn't see far enough in those conditions to fly alone. We would stay close on the Apache's tail, entirely dependent on it to navigate us both through the storm.

We could not lose it or we would both have had to climb several thousand feet to keep clear of areas of high ground and to be out of range of most types of enemy fire.

It would then have been almost impossible to locate the troops given the thickness of the dust and our only option would have been to return to the airfield at Camp Bastion with the help of Air Traffic Control radar, leaving the troops on the ground to fend for themselves.

The risk for the Apache was that with less armour than the Chinook it would be a much easier target to shoot down.

Normally it would stay up at around 1,000ft as an 'eye in the sky' instead of flying low and slow as we planned.

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Jonathan Singh's daring helicopter mission

Everyone had an opportunity to say they weren't happy to go, in which case I would have had to convince them otherwise or scrub the mission.

No one voiced any concerns although I'm certain everyone harboured some doubt as to whether we were doing the right thing.

Strangely at the time I felt no such reservations. It was only later that I would be racked with self-doubt, questioning whether I had taken unnecessary risks and worse... whether I had enjoyed the danger a little too much.

I remember feeling hyper-alert but calm and clear headed right through the mission. I wasn't scared at all as I was purely focused on the task in hand.

For me that state of mind was normal flying in Afghanistan. The fear and emotional release would come months later while back in the UK.

As you see unfold in the programme, flying the mission was broken into a series of tasks: finding the troops in the dust, avoiding the enemy, landing, taking off again and finally returning and landing back at the airfield.

As soon as each stage was completed I focused on the next. When we landed back at Bastion we were elated, we thought we had saved a soldier's life.

I was overwhelmed by the collective skill and composure of my crew, the Apache crew and the medical team in the back who without hesitation had trusted their lives to our judgement.

Tragically both Captain Griffiths, who we rescued during the dust storm, and Kingsman Deady, who we'd flown back to Bastion 24 hours earlier, were to later die of their injuries in a British hospital.

We never knew any of the soldiers we picked up personally. I think it would have been even harder to be objective in analysing the risks of a mission if we had.

When informed that the two soldiers had passed away (I still did not know their names and wouldn't find out till this series was made) it was a devastating blow. But I had to put it to the back of my mind... sadly there were always more casualties that needed rescuing and I wanted to stay focused.

Looking back I feel a deep sadness that we weren't able to save their lives but I hope the families can take comfort in knowing that a lot of people, of all ranks and backgrounds, gave their utmost to try and save the lives of their loved ones.

I hope they can take some comfort that they were able to see their family member before he passed away.

Sadly the events of that day on the IRT reflects the war in Afghanistan in microcosm for me: A huge effort in the face of an incredibly hostile environment against an unseen, vicious enemy where success and failure hang in the balance.

Jonathan Singh is a former RAF pilot who appears in Our War. Jonathan has since left the RAF and is now a full-time student.

Our War is on Monday, 20 August at 9pm on BBC Three. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Listen to an audio blog with Our War executive producer Colin Barr about the making of the programme.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Best Of Men: Acting in a Paralympic drama

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David Proud David Proud | 09:37 UK time, Thursday, 16 August 2012

As an actor there are some auditions you are invited to where you want the part so much it's hard to control your excitement and nerves. For me The Best Of Men was one of those.

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Dr Guttmann (Eddie Marsan) begins to introduce changes at the hospital

I had known of Dr Guttmann ever since playing wheelchair basketball at the Guttmann Centre (now Stoke Mandeville Stadium) as a child.

The Best Of Men tells the story of how Dr Guttmann's work rehabilitating World War II soldiers led to the creation of the Paralympics.

I received the phone call to say I had got the part on my birthday and remember thinking it was like a little present from my Nan who I know is my guardian angel.

Jeremy is so far removed from any other character I have played. He has suffered a spinal injury in the war and is in a pretty bad way.

With the help of Dr Guttmann he recovers and we see him go from strength to strength. He develops a strong bond with Neil (Ben Owen Jones), the wounded soldier in the bed next to him.

As a disabled actor I rarely get a chance to do period dramas so this was a very special project for me.

Looking at the cast list of Eddie Marsan, Rob Brydon and Naimh Cusack I was just honoured to be part of it.

Private William Heath (George MacKay) and Corporal Wynne Bowen (Rob Brydon) playing wheelchair hockey

William (George MacKay) and Wynne (Rob Brydon) playing wheelchair hockey

We filmed for three weeks in Bristol and were all staying at the hotel together.

Strangely Nina Toussaint-White and Lacey Turner who I had filmed EastEnders with were also in our hotel for another production, along with all the contestants of Deal or No Deal, it was a really happening party hotel.

We all developed a very special bond having dinner together every night. Rob making us laugh, Eddie and Naimh telling us amazing anecdotes and my fellow actors George MacKay, Ben Owen Jones and I loving every moment.

On set our bond created a lovely atmosphere and that helped as some scenes were emotionally very hard to get through.

Tim Whitby's one of the coolest directors I have ever worked with and he smiled all the way through, his enthusiasm was infectious.

Jeremy is a quiet character and he is pretty out of it for the first part of the film, slowly he comes round.

Dr Guttmann (Eddie Marsan, 2nd left), Jeremy (David Proud), Sister Edwards (Naimh Cusack) and Will

Dr Guttmann, Jeremy (David Proud), Sister Edwards (Naimh Cusack) and Will

For a few scenes I had to pretend to be asleep and did actually fall asleep during one take, Tim woke me up and complimented me on being a method actor.

I thought that was bad until in the next scene Ben did exactly the same but started to snore, I was trying to nudge him and quietly say "Dude, wake up!" but it didn't work.

Of all the things I have worked on I am most proud of this, I've made some lifelong friends and helped to tell the story of a man whose legacy allowed me to be born into a world where being an actor is possible.

Eddie Marsan plays Dr Guttmann and he's mesmerising to watch and so down to earth, he has such respect for other actors and such a passion for his craft.

His speech about "I will not shield you from the realities of life" made me cry when we filmed it and makes me cry when I watch it.

That's all disabled people want, it's all I have ever wanted, the chance to face the same struggles as everyone else, to be equal, to be The Best Of Men.

More on The Best Of Men
Lucy Gannon on writing The Best Of Men on the BBC Writersroom blog.
Ludwig Guttmann, the doctor who invented the Paralympics on the BBC Ouch blog.

David Proud is an actor in The Best Of Men.

The Best Of Men is on Thursday, 16 August at 9pm on BBC Two and BBC HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

The Midwives: The pressures and emotions of being new

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Jess Shaw-Roberts Jess Shaw-Roberts | 09:30 UK time, Tuesday, 7 August 2012

I'm less nervous now delivering babies than when I was newly qualified in BBC Two's documentary series The Midwives.

I've found that my confidence has built really quickly with the job.

I feel honoured to be the only healthcare professional in the delivery room responsible for caring for the mother and her newborn child.

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New midwife Jess attends her first Caesarean section

It's an empowering, intimate moment looking after women in their most vulnerable time.

Being filmed over six months gave me a real incentive to show the viewers a true insight into the pressures and emotions of being new in the role.

I felt the camera didn't get in the way of my ability to perform as a midwife - actually the experience of being filmed sharing that moment with new parents was fulfilling.

Similarly to Chloe, the first year student you'll see in episode two, I asked a lot of questions, especially during my first few weeks working on the antenatal ward.

This, with the support of the midwives helped me to grow in confidence.

I can relate closely to Chloe because for both of us knowledge of the job grows with you.

The questions you ask at the beginning are different to the questions you ask towards the end of your training and when you've just qualified.

You tend to just double check when newly qualified and even if it's something I already knew I was never too scared to ask.

Being a student has its ups and downs. You'll see in the series that Aurelie is struggling through her year of training, which I can personally relate to.

It's possible that part of the challenge for her was what we call the 'second year blues' although some student midwives can experience this at any time.

Aurelie Santu, Jess Shaw-Roberts and Chloe Badham

Aurelie Santu, Jess Shaw-Roberts and Chloe Badham

It is a period during your training where you hit a brick wall and where completing your training feels like an impossible task.

I had a high dropout rate in my group of student midwives. Forty of us started in September 2008 and only 26 graduated in December 2011.

The midwifery course is extremely tough: you practice for 37.5 hours a week, 45 weeks of the year for three years.

On top of the full-time lectures and placement you have what feels like a never-ending amount of academic essays, reflections and written skills to complete!

During my second year I experienced the blues when I was not enjoying one area of practice along with writing an essay that I was struggling with.

I nearly quit. It would have been the worst mistake of my life because looking back it was one glitch and I hit many smaller ones on the way.

Becoming a midwife was the best thing I have ever done.

I encourage anyone who is thinking about becoming a midwife to be entirely sure that you are ready to commit, and to be a student but not live like a student - and that you are up for the challenge.

It's a great challenge to beat and overcome! Anyone who is in their training: stick to it. It's worth it.

Jess Shaw-Roberts is a midwife on The Midwives.

The Midwives continues on Tuesday, 7 August at 9pm on BBC Two. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Britain's Biggest Hoarders: Follow up series

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Jasmine Harman Jasmine Harman | 18:09 UK time, Thursday, 2 August 2012

I was amazed and humbled by the incredible response to the documentaries which I presented My Hoarder Mum And Me and Britain's Biggest Hoarders.

On the post I wrote for the TV blog it was truly eye-opening for me to read so many tales of people in similar situations and to feel that by sharing our own stories we'd been able to reach out to others and open the lid on this secretive condition in order for it to become better understood.

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Jasmine meets hoarder Allan and wife Marion in Britain's Biggest Hoarders

Some of the audience comments on the previous blog post really touched me, like this from Kay:

"I don't quite know where to begin to express all that I have felt watching this programme and the peace that has come from feelings about "not being the only one"."

And this from Alex:

"My brother was a hoarder and he eventually died through self neglect and the appalling conditions he lived in. He was only 50."

It's heartbreaking but the fact that so many people came forward to say "I'm struggling too!" has highlighted what I already suspected: that my family is not alone in dealing with this.

It's inspired me to help more people and allow them to tell their stories as part of a new documentary series being made for BBC One about hoarding.

My mum's battle with hoarding is ongoing and although she now has a lot more space there is still plenty left to do and we are chipping away at it, little by little.

It took her more than 50 years to get to this stage and we've learned that a quick fix doesn't work in the long run. I feel that sensitive and sympathetic support is the only way forward.

Jasmine Harman with her mum Vasoulla Savvidou at Vasoulla's home

Jasmine Harman with her mum Vasoulla in Britain's Biggest Hoarders

I am so proud to be able to help others through my own experiences with mum.

If you live with this problem and you're battling to get the help you need or you want to tell your story, I would love to hear from you.

The independent production company Twofour (who made the first two programmes) are now making the new series on hoarding for BBC One.

The title of the series isn't decided yet but there will be three hour-long episodes.

Update: Please note that Twofour have filmed the follow up series, and are no longer looking for contributors.

If you are interested in taking part in this documentary series please get in touch by emailing:

The details of how Twofour will use your information is below.

Thank you.

Jasmine Harman presented My Hoarder Mum And Me and Britain's Biggest Hoarders.

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