Emma Frost and Matthew Graham – creators of historical drama The Spanish Princess – discussed their careers at an RTS Devon and Cornwall event in late November.
The two showrunners talked about their work, from writing episodes of UK soap staples EastEnders and Casualty to the development of hit dramas This Life and Life on Mars, to their contribution to established shows Doctor Who and Shameless.
They described television as being a writer’s medium and how their writing credits for US multinationals opened the door to their current roles as producers.
Frost had written Amazon drama The Man in the High Castle, which imagines that the Axis powers had won the second world war – before going on to develop the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated series The White Queen, an adaptation of Phillipa Gregory’s historical novels originally commissioned by the BBC with US network Starz as a co-producer.
A sequel, The White Princess, followed.
Frost and Graham spoke in detail about their most recent work – Starz drama The Spanish Princess – which is currently shooting its second series. These shows saw the pair shift from writers to showrunners, a role that Frost described as “the creative lens for a show’.
The duo offered tips on writing and career advice to the “inspiring, clearly very talented and wonderful” student audience at Falmouth University. They also discussed a writer’s responsibility for creating characters that offer a broader representation of class, race, gender and sexuality on television.