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What makes a gripping story? Writers, directors and cast members from EastEnders and E20 discuss approaches to writing a successful story for EastEnders.

The importance of good characterisation is explored using extracts from recent storylines from the series. There is discussion and illustration of some key principles of creating effective narrative, including conflict, pursuit of goals and overcoming obstacles. Elements of narrative theory are exemplified with examples from the series.

Script-writers explain the process of script creation for a popular soap opera and how consideration of potential impact on target audience is an integral part of their creative process and decision-making.

The creation of E20 is used to demonstrate how a working knowledge of your audience and creating an authentic world is essential to successful soap opera script-writing. The younger script writers of E20 explain some of their own methodologies and give advice on the methods they employ.
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First broadcast:
31 May 2012

Classroom Ideas

Students can be put into creative teams and given the brief of writing a new proposal or treatment for a new drama serial to be screened on TV. The treatment must be written in the present tense. The first paragraph gives a general outline eg the genre, setting, target audience, time-slot, cast, crew, locations etc. The main body of the treatment is a description of episode one - the title, characters, places, people and events which viewers will be gripped by. This plot summary should include details about what drives each character (protagonists and antagonists) where conflict arises and what obstacles are in the way of characters achieving their goals. Each group pitches to the class in turn, under timed conditions and everyone in the group must speak at some stage. We could even meet some of the characters or see a sneak preview of the show. Who will win the prestigious commission and who will create 'talk about TV'? Perhaps a special visitor could watch the pitches and crown the winner.

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