Charlie Swinbourne & Sophie Woolley
In this week's episode of Casualty (Saturday 11th July) nurse Jade Lovall (played by Gabriella Leon) meets her birth mother and finally uncovers the truth behind her past. Co-writers Charlie Swinbourne and Sophie Woolley were both part of our first Writers' Access Group. We spoke to them to find out more about how being part of the group led to the opportunity to write the episode, and how it was created to authentically tell the story of the show's first regular deaf character.
Susie Ashby (SOPHIE LEIGH STONE), Jade Lovall (GABRIELLA LEON) in Casualty
What was the journey to the point of being given the chance to write this episode of Casualty?
Charlie: I'd spent over a decade creating dramas, comedies and documentaries with deaf actors and contributors, in sign language, having a lot of different experiences of telling different types of stories, always with deaf people at their heart.
Becoming part of the BBC Writersroom's Writers' Access Group gave me the chance to meet mainstream producers for the first time, share my work with them and take steps…
Head of BBC Writersroom
BBC Writersroom works to develop writers at different stages of their careers.
We don’t run training schemes or courses – we leave that to colleges, theatres, universities and film schools. What we do is to support writers in a bespoke way to bring their voices and stories into the BBC.
Some are new writers, taking their first steps in the business; some are well-established elsewhere, but have not yet managed to get that elusive first BBC script commission. Some have been held back through disadvantage – for example accessibility issues. Some have success in one area of scripted output, but are looking to move to another area.
We run two open script submission windows a year called Script Rooms. These are for any writer, at any stage, who wants to send in a script. This is a big part of our work, with a large commitment of time and resources, and results in our Drama Room and Comedy Room writers’ development groups. No previous experience is required; the writer just has to be over 16 and resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland. We read these scripts without names or identifying information in order to avoid unconscious bias, and to provide a level playing field. Many new…
Top row l-r: Abigail McGibbon in ‘Love Lockdown’, Anthony Boyle in ‘The Girl at the Window’, David Pearse in ‘Best Wishes’. Bottom row l-r: Stella McCusker in ’A Random Act of Kindness’, Sarah Gordon & Damian McCann in ‘Just the Two of Us’, Kerri Quinn in ‘Wake Cake’ (Image Credit: BBC NI)
I’ve just completed my first BBC commission and it goes out on TV (TV!!) tonight. The only person more excited than me is my Mum, who has already alerted most of the greater Belfast area. Splendid Isolation is a brilliant opportunity created by BBC Arts and the Lyric Theatre (and hugely appreciated by an out-of-work freelancer). I’m still not a hundred percent sure they didn’t ask me by accident.
I am a Belfast-based writer and director. I got married in February. In March, we went into lockdown, so the last four months have been like a very intense “honeymoon”, with dwindling toilet paper supplies and a killer virus outside. (So romantic. Exactly how I pictured it.)
In the first week of lockdown, with the bulk of my work cancelled and at a bit of a loss, I wrote a short mockumentary about a couple – Karen and Simon – now forced to work from home together. I persuaded my husband, Damian - (reluctant but resigned) - to film it with me in our tiny house. We called it Just the Two of Us.…
BBC Writersroom Northern Ireland
We are thrilled to announce the ten writers who will be participating in the Belfast Voices 2020 programme. Over the next year, these talented up-and-coming writers will attend monthly seminars hosted by top talent from across the industry. From Radio to Childrens, TV Drama to new story forms, the programme will focus on building skills and providing an insight into all areas of the BBC’s output. Our writers join the group from all over our small but diverse nation - the North Coast to Dublin, Derry/Londonderry to Belfast - and bring a wide range of experiences to bear on their passion for…
At the end of March 2020 life for everyone in the UK and in many other parts of the world, changed drastically. Confronted with a crisis unlike anything experienced before, we at BBC Writersroom thought the only thing we could do was turn to the writers - to make sense of these strange and isolating times, to bring hope, entertainment and escapism back into our lives.
And so InterConnected was born. An initiative open to everyone, from established writers to those who’d never before put pen to paper. The challenge was to create short form dramas between 5-10 minutes in length, about…
Writer & Executive Producer
In March 2018 Salisbury became the site of an unprecedented national emergency. The three-part dramatisation of these events The Salisbury Poisonings begins on Sunday 14th June at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and focuses on the extraordinary heroism shown by the local community. Find out more in this blog post by one of the show's writers.
Catastrophe comes in all sorts of guises, but it always asks the same questions. Are we strong, or weak? Given to panic, or considered action? Are we competent, or chaotic? Sometimes the answers are not what we had hoped. Sometimes we excel in ways we…
Writer, Co-Director and Executive Producer
From BAFTA award-winner Michaela Coel comes I May Destroy You, a fearless and provocative drama exploring the question of sexual consent in contemporary life. I May Destroy You starts on Monday June 8th on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Find out more in this interview with Michaela.
Watch the trailer for I May Destroy You
Can you briefly set up the series?
I May Destroy You is about how the personal identity we create in order to understand…
From the Writers' Access Group to working as Story Consultant on Ben Mitchell's deafness storyline on EastEnders
You can't always see what's coming. EastEnders, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
On Monday night, a special ‘silent’ episode of Eastenders was broadcast from the perspective of the character of Ben Mitchell. The episode was unlike any previous episode of the show - to reflect Ben’s deafness, it had limited audio, fractured sentences and incomplete subtitles.
Watching the episode was a proud moment for me because it was part of a storyline I pitched to the show’s writing team…
We are excited to announce our London Voices 2020; a group made up of talented, up and coming London-based writers who are eager to learn about writing for broadcast. This scheme is comprised of monthly sessions and masterclasses lead by industry experts who will give them an overview of the industry; from TV Drama to Children's and Radio. Our writers all come with different areas of interests…
Sara Cocker & Léonie Higgins
BBC Writersroom is as busy as ever during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked two of our Northern Voices writers (Sara Cocker and Léonie Higgins, two-thirds of Manchester's Eggs Collective) to describe how their recent day devoted to Comedy writing played out in a socially-distanced world.
Léonie Higgins and Sara Cocker
Hi, we’re Sara and Léonie, a pair of writer-performers based in Manchester. We’re part…