Maxine Alderton’s TV Diary

Maxine Alderton’s TV Diary

By Maxine Alderton,
Monday, 11th February 2019
Emmerdale (Credit: ITV)
Emmerdale (Credit: ITV)
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Maxine Alderton is thrilled to know that her home is steeped in the history of Coronation Street 

The week begins with an epic clear-out of my extremely messy home office in time for a makeover. Marie Kondo I am not. What does spark joy, though, is a small brass plaque inside one of the fitted cupboards. It reads: “Specially installed for Lynne Perrie.” This is a reminder that soap history is literally in the walls here.

Due to its proximity to the original Coronation Street set in Manchester, my flat used to be home to Lynne Perrie (Ivy Tilsley, later Brennan), then Johnny Briggs (Mike Baldwin), followed by David Neilson (Roy Cropper), who sold it to my director husband.

I sometimes procrastinate, thinking about the iconic dialogue that must have been learnt here. It’s strangely comforting to be carrying the baton on, writing episodes of Emmerdale next to the vanity unit where Lynne once applied her make-up.

In a couple of days, her circa-1985 fitted furniture will be removed to allow me more space to work. If she’s up there watching, I hope she understands.

An even bigger hit of joy comes with the National Television Awards and watching Emmerdale win Serial Drama. Our incredible James Moore picks up the Newcomer prize.

It’s emotional, not just because it’s a huge win for Emmerdale, but because it shows that our viewers have taken both James and his character, Ryan, to their hearts.

And what a resounding vote from the public for diversity and representation on screen. I’m so proud of our producers for always striving to better reflect the world we live in.

Our format lends itself to this. It’s vital that we use it to make a positive difference. Hopefully, in the future a win of this kind won’t be such a big deal. It’ll simply be a win.

Thursday brings a very fun edit on two first drafts with my script editor Liam. With these episodes, we’re again playing with the traditional soap ­format. They were a high-octane joy to write.

I can’t wait to see how they turn out on screen when they are shown in early May.

A fascinating evening is spent listening to American lawyer David Rudolf speak at Manchester’s Stoller Hall. I’m addicted to criminal justice documentaries, and Netflix’s The Staircase had me hooked.

I’m proud to report that I’m now an expert on the owl theory. If an avian serial killer crops up on Emmerdale, you’ll know who to blame.

I’m excited to receive an invitation to the Broadcast Awards. One of my episodes (Charity’s Flashback) has been nominated. I don’t feel that I can take any credit, though. It was beautifully shot by director Mickey Jones. Emma Atkins’s performance as Charity was astonishing. It’ll be lovely to toast their achievements, no matter what the result.

 Flurries of snow outside make me sympathise with the crew currently shooting one of my episodes across the Pennines.

It’s supposed to take place in spring, but this time of year always throws us weather-shaped curveballs. The episode itself is an all-female special for broadcast on International ­Women’s Day.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our extraordinary female cast and crew. The show was a uniquely female effort across all the other departments involved in the production.

The episode explores female friendship and support through all stages of life. It packs quite an emotional punch. The gender balance is relatively good in soap, especially for writing, but there’s much work to be done beyond that.

I will be proudly supporting the #BalanceForBetter campaign on 8 March.

Maxine Alderton is a writer on ITV’s Emmerdale.