BBC Learning announces new drama commissions

We want these five terrific stories to entertain and engage the widest possible audience as well inspire anyone with similar needs to feel more confident about seeking help." Saul Nassé, Controller of BBC Learning
Date: 24.11.2011     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.10
Controller of BBC Learning, Saul Nassé, today announced a major new daytime drama commission along with a series of children’s shorts penned by some of the country’s leading writers.

The daytime dramas (5x45mins) all focus on the theme of adult literacy, a key part of the BBC Learning strategy launched last year.

Nick Leather (Moving On/Justice), Jimmy McGovern protégée Esther Wilson (The Street, Accused, Moving On), Arthur Ellison (The Street, Brookside, Hollyoaks, Moving On) Lyn Papadopoulos (Moving On, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks) and Jaden Clark (Bad Girls, New Street Law, The Bill, EastEnders) have each written for the series which will be made by Liverpool-based LA productions and shown on BBC One in the Spring.

In the late Seventies the series On The Move, starring Bob Hoskins, was a catalyst in an extremely effective literacy campaign which helped tens of thousands of people. Today’s writers were challenged to come up with compelling contemporary drama that will serve as the lynchpin of the new BBC Learning project to tackle adult literacy levels today.

The films all feature adult characters who face some degree of difficulty with reading and writing but the stories are as much about marriage, friendship, bereavement, and parenthood.

By telling powerful stories about their lives, BBC Learning hopes the dramas will raise awareness of how low levels of literacy and a lack of confidence in these skills affect millions of adults across the UK.

Saul Nassé said: “We want these five terrific stories to entertain and engage the widest possible audience as well inspire anyone with similar needs to feel more confident about seeking help. We want to break down stereotypes and reduce the stigma associated with literacy problems."

The series of children’s shorts (5x15 mins) are aimed at 7-11-year-olds and include episodes written by Bill Gallagher (Larkrise To Candleford), Lena Rae (Moving On, Taggart, Casualty), Sanjeev Kholi (Goodness Gracious Me, My Life As A Popat) and Debbie Horsfield (Cutting It, Sex,Chips And Rock And Roll).

The films, which will be made by Manchester-based Red Production Company, will explore universal emotional issues such as sibling rivalry, parental illness and friendship. They will be shown on BBC Two’s Learning Zone in the Spring.

Saul added: “It was important for these dramas to reflect issues children face in their everyday lives. The writers have a wealth of talent between them and have very much put their own personal experiences into the writing, resulting in some very moving and empowering scripts.”

JC4