BBC Writersroom TV Drama Writers’ Programme 2019
Now in its fifth year, this unique initiative partners thirteen promising screenwriters with thirteen independent production companies, giving the emerging scriptwriters the opportunity to write the first episode script of a potential BBC-commissioned original series or serial.
Throughout 2019, the writers will attend masterclasses and workshops with established television writers and production teams, and their scripts will be developed with the independent production companies they are paired with. The aim is that the writer’s series or serial will be taken into full development by the BBC.
Participants in the 2019 programme are:
- Bad Wolf - Alan McDonald
- Balloon Entertainment - Isis Davis
- BBC Studios London - Ashish Ghadiali
- BBC Studios Wales - Robert Evans
- Clerkenwell Films - Danusia Samal
- Duck Soup Films - Daf James
- Element Pictures - Ella Road
- Forge Entertainment - Jess O’Kane
- Hartswood Films - Susanne Farrell
- New Pictures - Joseph Charlton
- STV - Joe White
- Two Cities Television - Greer Ellison
- World Productions Scotland - James Price
Alexandria Horton, Script Executive and Julie Gardner, Founder, Bad Wolf, say: “After a fantastic experience on the scheme last year, we are delighted to be taking part again this year with Alan McDonald. Alan’s sample was matched in the room with an enthusiasm, eloquence and keen understanding of drama storytelling. We’re excited to find a genre piece with him that has something relevant and emotional to say.”
Dave Evans, Head of Development at Balloon, says: "We're so delighted to be involved in the TV Drama Writers' Programme again. As ever, it's great to be introduced to a range of hugely talented writers and Isis Davis blew us away with the boldness of her ideas and the clarity of her characters. She's an extraordinary mind and voice and we're so excited to see where she'll take us this year."
Sarah Wyatt, Development Executive, BBC Studios London, says: “We are thrilled to be part of the TV Drama Writers’ Programme. Nurturing new talent is of huge importance to us and we were so impressed with the scripts we read this year. We’re delighted to be working with Ashish Ghadiali whose distinctive voice and bold ideas are incredibly exciting.”
Kelsey Richards, Head of Development, BBC Studios Wales, says: “We’re thrilled to be part of this year’s scheme and to have been introduced to so many tremendous new voices. Though it was a difficult decision, Rob’s distinct voice and the ambition of his ideas really shone through for us - we can’t wait to get started!”
Matt Jarvis, Executive Producer, Clerkenwell Films, says: “Clerkenwell Films is very happy to be involved once again with the TV Drama Writers’ Programme. It’s an excellent scheme that provides the perfect environment for fledgling screenwriters to develop and hone their writing skills. We’re delighted to be working with Danusia Samal this year - she has such a rich, distinctive voice and we’re looking forward to helping her develop her ideas for television.”
Kate O’Hara, Development Executive, Duck Soup Films, says: “Duck Soup are excited to be part of such a brilliant programme supporting the freshest new and emerging voices in screenwriting. We were impressed with the talent across the board and are so happy to be working with Daf James. He has such an authentic approach to story and we can’t wait to start our development journey with him”.
Matt Power, Development Coordinator, Element Pictures, says: “Ella Road is a writer with such a sharp and distinctive voice and we’re absolutely thrilled to be working with her. We’ve had a great experience with the TV Drama Writers’ Programme, and we’re very excited to be a part of it again this year.”
Anna Price, Development Executive, Forge Entertainment, says: “The Forge are delighted to be involved in the BBC TV Drama Writers’ Programme this year as it continues to support and provide a platform for new writing talent. It has been great to be introduced to such a diverse range of promising new voices and we’re incredibly excited to be working with Jess O’Kane. Jess’s flare for character together with her distinct and ambitious pitch really shone for us and we are thrilled to be able to develop the script with her.”
Helena Murphy, Development Executive, Hartswood Films, says: “The BBC TV Drama Writer’s Programme is an amazing resource both for emerging writing talent and producers always on the search for brilliant emerging writing talent! Everyone here at Hartswood Films was totally bowled over by this year’s participants - such a variety of talented voices - but the one that really stood out for us was Susanne Farrell. We weren’t familiar with her work, but her sample material was truly outstanding and we can’t wait to develop her brilliantly original new series idea.”
Kim Varvell, Head of Development, New Pictures, says: "We’re thrilled to be involved with the TV Drama Writers Programme again and thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the talented shortlisted writers. This year we are incredibly excited to be working with Joseph Charlton who blew us away with his distinctive ideas and original voice. We can’t wait to help translate these ideas to screen and are delighted to welcome Joe into the New Pictures fold.”
Claire Armspach, Head of Drama Development, STV, says: “We are thrilled to be taking part in this year’s TV Drama Writers’ Programme. It was wonderful to be introduced to so many great new voices. Although the standard was incredibly high, we were immediately drawn to Joe White’s flair for creating brilliantly unique and multifaceted characters and his incisive and often explosive exploration of society’s taboos. We can’t wait to start development on his latest idea.”
Caryl Benee, Development Executive, Two Cities Television, says: “Two Cities Television is hugely excited to be part of the BBC TV Drama Writers’ Programme this year. Greer is a real talent, his writing has tremendous energy and charisma and his ideas feel fresh and distinctive. We’re very much looking forward to beginning the script development process with him.”
George Aza-Selinger, Head of Development, World Productions Scotland, says: “We are very pleased to be involved with the TV Drama Writers Programme again, which offers a unique and valuable opportunity for both the new writers and the production companies they are paired with. We are also very much looking forward to working with the fantastic James Price, whose work really spoke to us and who has the talent and the voice to make a huge contribution to the industry for years to come.”
A number of writers that have come through the TV Drama Writers Programme have had their projects selected for development by BBC Drama Commissioning and they continue to build close relationships with the commissioning editors.
Established writers who have contributed to masterclasses and related BBC Writersroom events over the last three years include Mike Bartlett, Danny Brocklehurst, Marnie Dickens, Bill Gallagher, Adrian Hodges, Kay Mellor, Jed Mercurio, Peter Moffat, Abi Morgan, Vinay Patel, Sarah Phelps, Dan Sefton, Frank Spotnitz, Kirstie Swain, Sally Wainwright and Toby Whithouse.